Chris Moore, internationally known commercial illustrator, famously recognised for his science fiction work, speaks to Artist Partners this week about his daily life as an artist.
How would you describe your work to someone who has never seen it before?
Amazing!….. seriously tho’, I reckon that I try to answer the brief as best I can with the tools available. If someone wants a picture of a horse to illustrate their new range of lasagne then I follow the brief and produce a picture of an Italian horse. Similarly, when asked to come up with an idea then I try to solve their problem by taking in all aspects of their requirements and putting forward a solution. Now you see why it’s difficult to describe! Someone once told me that you need to know more about the clients job than they do and to a certain extent it’s true..
Also… I do a lot of spaceships.
How did you start off in the arts? How/when did you realise that you were an artist?
I realised from a very early age what I wanted to do which was nothing to do with fine art as such. A commercial artist was my ambition from around 3 or 4 years old. When I left college in 1972 I figured that I could always make a living in art in some way or other.
Please describe a typical day of art making for you.
Nowadays I spend a lot of time on computer which is quite frustrating for me. I prefer to work using more traditional methods but the requirements of the job are such that a high degree of flexibility is needed for ‘changes’, but I can’t complain.
What contemporary artists or developments in illustration do you find interesting right now?
Just about everybody really, there are lots of interesting things happening in film at the moment. There are a lot of people in the States who are amazingly good with paint in the fantasy field, they are truly awe inspiring in many ways but they are different to the guys in the UK: we have our own special brand of imagery and way of working that is equally as valid and more in line with true Science Fiction although there are people working in both areas in this country as well as the States. I guess I have always judged other peoples work on the basis of ‘I wish I’d done that!’
How long does it typically take you to finish a piece?
Depends on how complex it is, when the deadline is etc. etc.
What do you do (or what do you enjoy doing) when you’re not creating?
Play music in a band. I’ve recently joined a soul band to play guitar having been an amateur musician all my life and having recently left a band playing original material for 3 or 4 years which was very creative (Bass player and drummer fell out, it’s always the way!!). It’s good fun and quite a laugh but quite a steep learning curve as I haven’t traditionally played soul, I’m more of a blues player myself!
Any advice for aspiring young illustrators?
It’s hard nowadays because it’s all changed but the things that haven’t changed are the need to be pretty obsessive about the role; competition is so intense that you need to put the extra in just to stand out from the pack. It’s a good idea to work in a group, that can be very rewarding to have other professionals peering over your shoulder giving their three-penneth, I’ve done that 3 or 4 times in my career and always found it a really great experience, it can do wonders for your confidence and soon toughens you up……..Or just the opposite if you’re unlucky!!!
Thanks Chris! We are sure your words of advice will be warmly received by the many young creatives hoping to follow in your footsteps.
For an in depth look at Chris’ work, keep an eye out for ‘Journeyman – The Art of Chris Moore’ by acclaimed writer Stephen Gallagher.