Bak 17 Is Online!
'Face', 17th issue of Bak Magazine, is now online! Sit back, relax and enjoy!


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Interviews in Bak | 17
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Mike Harrison
Graphic Designer { }
Mike Harrison

You live in beautiful Plymouth of England. As a 22 year old talented designer, do you think Plymouth is the right place for you to work or are you planning to move in the near future?

Well beautiful is one word to describe Plymouth! The city isn’t big on design really, so the only reason I would stay here is if I was freelancing full time which could be an option when I finish my degree, failing that I would probably seek a job in a small knit team or studio somewhere else, but I love living on the coast so I’d have to take that into consideration.

Do you think education is really important for artistic skills or educating yourself is more effective?

That age old question. Personally I don’t have any formal training or education for what I do, and I think that’s my preferred option because if someone is teaching you then you could get locked into creating generic art, making what they tell you to make and not experimenting and finding your own style. However if your path is 3d, then education in that field is definitely more rewarding because of the complexity of the programs.

As a young artist involved in graphic design, motion graphics and even sculpture, how do you evaluate the future of your career? Will you prefer working as a freelancer or do you consider being a part of an advertising agent?

I’ve been asked this many times, and I believe that I have three main options when I finish my studies. I could start freelancing straight off, get a job with an agency or studio, or set up my own along with a friend or two. Well, I think that I need a lot more experience before setting my own up, and a lot more clients to freelance full time, alas I would like to join a small team of designers/illustrators in a nicely sized studio with a nice water cooler with oh so fresh water.

Why did you choose the name “Destill” for your online presence?

The name destill doesn’t have any meaning really, I describe it as an abstract name because it’s not two words joined together like some people do, and it doesn’t represent anything (apart from myself of course). I went through a few options before choosing destill, I made an artwork way back and gave it the title of destill, this was when I went under a different alias. And when choosing my new name I stumbled upon the work and realised I loved the title!

What does your workspace look like?

My workspace is fairly small and tidy in the most part. I use 2 monitors because it’s so much easier to work with and your workflow is better. I have my sketchbook and various pens/pencils lying around on my desk and some nice speakers for pumping out some mega tunage. My printer/scanner combo sits near me as does a nice cool glass of water, that’s about it!

We know that you like hip hop and funk. Does music affect your creation progress?

I’m not sure really if music really affects my work that much. Whenever I am at my desk there is always music playing because I don’t like the silence. I think that it may have a subtle effect on it and sometimes hearing a certain artist can give me a spark of inspiration.

Are you interested in movies? Which one do you prefer, Hollywood movies or European cinema?

Yea, I love films and cinema. One of my other interests is in video art and installations; I did a project creating my own video art for university last year. I think I like the action and big bucks extravaganza that Hollywood brings to the table in films such as transformers, but what I don’t like about it is the cheesiness and the Americanised look and feel sometimes. That’s where European films are better, they are often more stylish.

Nowadays, current trends in graphic design look specific. Handmade vector characters, brushes, abstract compositions, pieces that combine photography and drawings, sometimes typographic elements… Do you think this style will be permanent or it’s something like fashion and will disappear soon?

Yea I agree they are specific and it’s hard to break the mould these days. I think that all those trends will be with us for a very long time to come, because they look nice and they work, which is what clients want of course, even if they aren’t original or unique. Often young designers starting out will see work that they like, and get heavily inspired from it, frequently creating shockingly similar work to other artists. This can lead to them being locked into a specific style and not breaking out of that, this is just one thing that trends do to art and design.

You were featured in the esteemed magazine Computer Arts and there are hundreds of web sites linking to Destill today. What’s your greatest aim in your life? After what happened, you will say “Ok, I can die now”?

Yep, I am so grateful and proud to have achieved that and people noticing me and my work, I feel extremely lucky aswell. My greatest aim is to be able to start up my own studio doing design and illustration along with one or two of my friends. That would be the perfect life for me, along with a beautiful girlfriend and a beautiful car ;)

Theme of the 10th issue of Bak Magazine is "Why?" What comes into your mind first when you think about that word? Feel free and use your imagination! :)

Why should I answer this question? Heh so many things come into my head, basically all the questions I have in my head that start with the word why e.g. why do we eat animals when they are living creatures like us, why not eat humans instead?

"All the questions I have in my head start with the word 'why'. Why do we eat animals when they are living creatures like us. Why not eat humans instead?"

- Mike Harrison / Bak 10
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