Last week, I hooked up with the exceptionally talented graphic artist and illustrator Simon Cook, the man behind Stone and Spear and our answer to 21st century visual communication. With his kaleidoscopic design, which reaches from the colorful corners of editorial illustration to logos and print design, Cook’s impressive client list includes Universal Records, Givenchy, Columbia Records, Uniform Wares, and has been featured in i-D and Dazed. We were brought together by the eagerly anticipated issue 6 of Sang Bleu, for which Simon and I recently shot, and he spoke to me about his inspirations, materials, and the importance of a darker identity within his work.
Where are you from?
Describe what do you do.
Is beauty related to power? Why?
In positive and negative ways. What even is beauty? It’s all subjective.
Where is your place in the world of beauty?
Art and design.
Describe your aesthetic.
Stone and Spear relates strongly to the Surrealism idea, exploring dreams, the imagination, and the opposite of reality. My aesthetic is inspired by nostalgic memories and childhood experiences. I tend to look back in order to look forward; reinterpreting ideas and processes of the past opens my eyes to a new way of thinking and really inspires me.
Describe the ultimate female/male icon.
Venom from Spiderman.
Who inspires you creatively with their use of art?
Mary Blair, John Stezaker, Eduardo Palozzi.
How does your use of digital media reflect your personal style?
Digital techniques play a big part in what I do. Everything I create when designing is initially handmade and then collaged digitally, which ultimately creates my aesthetic. The ability to control these handmade imperfections digitally is the key.
Where do you source your inspirations?
Charity shops, libraries, and car boot sales.
Do you use different materials in your line of work? Describe the importance of this.
Yeah. I try to use a combination of techniques, firstly cutting shapes and imagery, and then compiling on the computer. For me this is an important part of the process. It allows me to edit and create collages that have depth and character.
Explain the importance of ‘identity’ in your work.
Identity is vital. The type of work you create though, ultimately decides your identity. For me it’s been this dark side of illustration and design I really wanted to explore. Through a sense of magic and wonder, Stone and Spear has been my way of creating a fantasyland where anything is possible. I’ve been lucky enough to carry parts of this identity into different areas of design such as fashion and homeware, which has been real nice.
How have you shaped your own identity?
Each project presents its own set of rules that force me to look at my style in a different way. The ability to draw from these restricting or limitless rules has helped my identity evolve.
Tell us what we can look forward to.
I’ve got a few top-secret projects coming up like a shoot I recently art directed for Sang Bleu which is out soon, and a selection of new work presented in issue 6 of Novembre hitting next year.