Edward Tuckwell's Cinematic Illustrations Look Ready To Move
MIKE O'DONNELL / EDITOR
WNW Member Edward Tuckwell's work often looks like it's pulled from a classic film that doesn't yet exist. The cinematic staging and palpable tension of Edward's world draw the viewer in, with his images often feeling like they're pausing mid-motion. We interview Edward to talk about his creative style, his biggest influences (who tend to be filmmakers), and the turning point of his creative career, which he credits to London: "It seems like a common trend with a lot of people I know, but there’s a certain relentless buzz of a capital city which is so important for a freelance creative starting out. Being around people whose work I admire, collaborating on projects, and fully immersing myself in the industry helped me develop."
Tell us a bit about your creative background. Who is Edward and how did he get here?
I knew from a relatively early age that I wanted to work in some form of creative job. My mother was a landscape architect, and my father works in construction so I thought I would end up pursuing a career in Architecture. At the time of my foundation year, I wanted to explore multiple disciplines and found that Illustration was a good compromise between graphic design, traditional art, and photography. Since then I’ve leaned on the graphics side more and more until I’ve ended up with the approach I have today.
How would you describe your creative style? Do you recognise a signature style that links most of your projects, or do you try to excuse yourself and approach each project as its own entity?
I think it's important to come at a project from a fresh perspective without forcing a visual style that might not be suitable for the job. Having said that, there is a need to keep some sort of consistency across the board. It's a balancing act. I tend to use sections of flat colour to define the illustration, combined with a small analogue element of some sort - a scanned texture, brush stroke or dissolved gradient for example.
What do you see as the turning point in your creative development and career so far?
Leaving part-time work and moving to London. It seems like a common trend with a lot of people I know, but there’s a certain relentless buzz of a capital city which is so important for a freelance creative starting out. Being around people whose work I admire, collaborating on projects, and fully immersing myself in the industry helped me develop.
What were some of the challenges in launching your creative career?
One of the largest challenges was working around my job in a restaurant to develop a body of work. Finding the time to do that was difficult, and my social life at the time suffered as a result. From there, getting enough regular design work to support myself financially was a big hurdle to overcome.
Which of your projects are you proudest of and why?
The TFL campaign for ‘New Spacious Trains’ on the Underground was a nice moment. The job came in soon after I had moved to London, and was the first time I’d actually felt proud of a piece of work I had produced. I’m currently working on a 3-year ongoing project with Studio Pensom and SMOKE Creatives for The Canal & River Trust, illustrating the covers of Waterfront magazine. They’re shaping up to be a really good set of images, and I’m very thankful to be part of the project.
What would be your dream project or job, or is it already on your resume?
I would love to work on a modern-day film poster with a top director, much in the vein of S. Bass / A. Hitchcock. Or produce something for BAFTA, Cannes, The Oscars… But I'm dreaming.
How would you define the London creative scene?
Vibrant. Driven. Relentless.
How do you see the creative landscape shifting in the UK/Europe?
I’d find it hard to predict to be honest. People have been saying for years now that print media will die out soon, but it only seems to be going from strength to strength, much in the same way vinyl has had a massive popular resurgence. I see new magazines, publications and exciting print work emerging all over the place. I can only hope that we don’t loose our connection to tactile things… even though most of my day is spent staring at a computer screen.
If not here, where would you most like to live?
Rural Japan. I’d like to live somewhere totally alien to London and the UK for a couple of years.
Who are your biggest creative influences?
In my personal work, I take a lot of influence from film, old and new. I see Paul Thomas Anderson, Steve McQueen, Damien Chazelle and Alejandro González Iñárritu as some of the finest directors working today, and I always make an effort to catch their films in the cinema. Other than that I pretty much worship these late image makers - Eyvind Earle, Moebius, Fumio Watanabe and Saul Bass.
What scares you most about making creativity your career?
The need to work for money taking over the love of making art.
One book, one album, one movie, one show. Go.
The Road - Cormac McCarthy
Hail To The Thief - Radiohead
There Will Be Blood - Paul Thomas Anderson / Robert Elswit
True Detective - Cary Fukunaga / Nic Pizzolatto
What is your most treasured possession?
My 1970s Zieleman ‘Type Special’ racer. It's the oldest possession I own, and I use it daily to transport me around the city - mainly to and from work.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
A downhill mountain bike rider of all things. We used to have a downhill track near my house in the countryside growing up, where the top teams in the UK would come to ride on the weekends. I used to go down there with my mates from school and watch guys launch themselves off dirt jumps that towered over our heads. It was the coolest thing ever.
What do you do when Not Working?
Going to gigs, traveling to and from Brighton, spending time with my girlfriend, indulging in computer games, visiting galleries and hibernating at the cinema.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard or received that all creatives should hear?
I said something along the lines of this in another interview a few years back, and I think it's just as apt now as it was then… Take advice with a pinch of salt, others' experiences may not apply or work for you. Just make work.
Who are some WNW members whose work you admire and why?
Janne Iivonen - A fantastic Brighton based Illustrator, with some of the best character-based figures in the game.
Kate Copeland - Without a doubt the most talented person working with brush and ink today, she depicts photorealism with a truly unique eye. Based in London.
Adam Avery - The Norwich work-horse with a vibrant use of colour and an always interesting collection of graphic shapes in his compositions.
What’s next for you? What are you working on now?
I'm working on a variety of projects at the moment, a couple I can’t talk about. Right now I'm on the next installment of Waterfront mag, a drink's bottle label, and some illustration work for a south-west music event.