One of our longest-running collaborators at Schoolhouse, graphic artist, print-maker and designer Anthony Burrill will be joining us next Tuesday in Portland for an exclusive evening exhibit showcasing a career-spanning variety of his iconic prints. As part of Design Week Portland, a weeklong series of interactive events, installations and conversations showcasing the evolving state of design both locally and nationally, Anthony will be at the Schoolhouse flagship for a special Q&A and a book signing of his newest release: MAKE IT NOW! Creative Inspiration & The Art of Getting Things Done. In addition, he will also be launching an exclusive new art print, made in collaboration with Schoolhouse.
Born in Lancashire, England, Burrill studied Graphic Design at Leeds Polytechnic and, later, received his MA at the Royal College of Art. Burrill’s work and distinctive voice aims to engage and amuse using positive messages, bold typography, simple layouts and traditional letterpress techniques. Wit and humor play an important role in his work and are used to seek deeper meanings and describe personal insights. His aim is to communicate as simply and directly as possible, using the most minimal means, while still retaining a visual richness and lightness of touch.Here he chats with us about his latest Schoolhouse print collaboration, his first trip to Portland and our exclusive exhibit at our flagship.
You’ve been busy with some very cool projects and collabs lately! What 2017 has been like for you so far?
"It’s been a busy and fun 2017 for me, so far. My new book MAKE IT NOW! was published in March, it was great to finally see it released. I’ve been working on it for the past two years years and have enjoyed the process enormously. It’s given me a fresh angle on my work and how I think as a designer, it feels like my creativity has been refreshed. Other than that I’ve been working on some interesting commercial projects with great clients. I’m happiest when I can balance self-initiated projects and commercial commissions at the same time, it keeps the momentum moving along nicely and gives me lots to think about. I’ve also been producing a new set of work for my show at Schoolhouse."
We’re honored to host you for Design Week PDX! Can you tell us a little bit about the event and what people can expect to see?
"I feel honored too! This will be my first exhibition in the Unites States, it’s very exciting. I’m showing a selection of typographic posters that are produced using the letterpress technique. I first started making letterpress posters in 2004 when I moved to Rye in East Sussex and discovered a local print shop that uses metal and wood type to print with. Since then it’s become a big part of my output as a graphic artist. I love the tactile quality of letterpress printing, it has its own unique quality that is impossible to replicate."
What are you excited to do and see on your first trip to Portland?
"Everything! I travel a lot with my work, I’m very lucky to see so many exciting and inspiring places. I like to explore on foot as much as possible to get a feel of the streets, I take lots of photographs of graphics, signage and architecture. I’m keen to see as much of Portland as possible!"
At the show, you'll be unveiling your latest Schoolhouse collab: The "Start With Yes" Print. What does this message mean to you and what did the process look like to make it?
"It’s a short positive statement that feels like a good reminder to get on and make things happen. Each of my posters works a message to myself, they act as visual reminders to keep moving forward, stay positive and be motivated. I think we all need some extra positivity and motivation at the moment, so this new collaboration feels timely. I worked closely with the team at Schoolhouse on the print, initially we shared text ideas and gradually narrowed it down to the phrase we used. I spent a while working on the typography and choosing the format of the print. The words felt like they belonged on a banner, something that could act as a call to action."
When you're creating new prints or art, what are you finding yourself inspired by most - where is your mind at creatively in this current cultural landscape?
"My inspiration is drawn from the every day regular conversations and situations I find myself in. I listen out for interesting phrases and combinations of words that somehow feel like found poetry. I seek messages that hint at a bigger meaning, but not too specific about a particular issue. I like the phrases I use to be open to interpretation and have more than one meaning. I like the playful aspect of working with words to sometimes subvert ideas and meanings. My work aims to engage and amuse, whilst reaching the widest possible audience."
What are your hopes for the future?
"To make lots more work and have fun along the way!"
Our Design Week event is sold out but starting Wednesday, April 26th, we'll be having an exclusive online pop-up featuring a brand new collection of Anthony's iconic prints - available for a limited time only at www.schoolhouse.com