Welcome to a new monthly feature here on Scissor Quirk called 'Hello, Inspiration!' - I'll be featuring an interview with an inspiring artist/designer/illustrator/crafter once a month, cuz I love to learn more about how other people work and find it very inspiring - and I hope you do, too!
First up is Simon Cook of Stone and Spear.
Simon is a graphic designer + illustrator based in England - I find the colorful graphic sensibilities and collage-inspired style of his work so refreshing!
1. What's your name, and what's your game?
Hi! My name’s Simon Cook and I’m the London based designer and illustrator, Stone and Spear. I’m originally from Worthing on the south coast of England, I studied Graphic Design in Nottingham and I’m now living in London, which is great. Stone and Spear was set up in 2008 conceived through my middle names Peter and Frank. It was really important to me to create a name to work under that I had a connection with, an alter ego that meant something.
2. How did you get started doing these rad things you do?
I think it all began when I started an art club at home. Admittedly it only had 2 members, my mother and I, but I loved it! I was always drawing and doodling away as a child. My obsession with the circus has been a huge inspiration and perhaps the thing that properly got me hooked on illustration. Having come mainly from a fine art background I think this set of skills are rooted into the core of my aesthetic. I always like my designs and illustrations to look like little pieces of art.
3. What inspires the very graphic, modern feel of your work?
Visually I love the Memphis movement from the early 80’s. It was vibrant, eccentric and ornamental and has inspired Stone and Spear greatly. My style has definitely evolved into what you see today through the experimentation of colour, geometric shapes and vintage photographic imagery. There is a strong sense of magic and wonder within my work. I love the idea of taking the viewer to a fantasyland where anything is possible which is why I can relate so strongly to the Surrealism idea. Exploring dreams, the imagination, and the opposite of reality, these are all themes we share in common.
4. Do you work a lot with your hands, or digitally?
Which do you like better?
I usually start by sketching ideas then thinking about colour palletes, which determines the mood and feel of the piece. I use a combination of techniques, first cutting shapes and images and then compiling on the computer. This is an important part of the process as it allows me to edit and create collages that have depth and character. My style has definitely evolved into what you see today through the experimentation of colour, geometric shapes and vintage photographic imagery.
5. Any tips for aspiring designers?
I guess my one piece of advice would be to keep working, remember to talk to everyone you know and grab every opportunity you can. Be fearless. Make time at least once a week to sit down and email designer’s work you love or studio’s you admire. Even to say Hi and show them your work. By doing this, designer’s will not only get to know who you are but become familiar with your style.
6. Any vices that help the flow of creativity?
Well I work part studio/part adventure so I guess that’s my vice. I always like to start a project with a day out. Time to think whilst taking in sights and sounds. For me it works really well. That and a bag of Haribo and I’m happy.
7. What's your favorite part of your design process?
Favorite product to design?
My favourite? Creating little collages on Sunday afternoons. By working this way I’ve been able to invite the viewer into a whole new world, which is why I created Stone and Spear. Constantly seeking inspiration through nostalgic memories and childhood experiences, and the playful combination of wit and humour created within my collages is something that continues to develop and excite. Which I love.
8. If you could travel back in time and tell yourself anything at 16, what would it be? Everything happens for a reason.
9. If you could make any dream/idea a reality - right now! - what would it be? I’ve always wanted a pet tapir.
Thanks for the insight into your work, Simon!
You can e-mail him directly or check out more of his work, here:
If you're an artist/crafter and would like to be considered for an interview, please contact me for more information on how to get ionvolved!