Part of a conversation with Graff.io's & Liam Proudman in Spring 2019. This is just part of the interview with Liam in our Leicester Studio.
What's your design practice?
Largely illustration and character design. Drawing always felt quite a natural thing to do, and the characters tend to just be what feels interesting for me. I joke sometimes that I’m trying to draw a cool girlfriend but I don’t want to think too hard about the implications of that. I think honestly I just want to make stuff, and for that stuff to tell a story. Narrative is an important thing to me.
When did you first realise you had a passion or artistic ability?
I suppose the passion is less an artistic one and more about just creating things in general. Ultimately I fell into visual arts but before that I wanted to write, or make games. As for ability I’d argue I don’t have all that much of one but that isn’t a real satisfying answer is it?
What's your background, how did you get into it?
Growing up I was always more interested in stories than real life, art was just an extension of that I suppose. Think it was an element of play and escapism. I also have a pretty strong nostalgia for the cartoons and games from my childhood. When I started making art I was pretty much stealing concepts from Saturday morning cartoons and making them into comics that I’d sell to my mum for like 20 pence. If I had to choose a beginning it’d probably be the positive response I got from people when I made all that stuff.
Any other jobs that you've had other than artist?Nothing worth talking about.
Anything in your childhood that inspired you to do what you do now?
There were a lot of cartoons around when I was growing up and I think they were sort of the spark that inspired it all. If I had to pick a few that really jump out at me it’s all the ones that were design to sell toys. You know all the hasbro stuff and then anything that came over from Japan.
What do you like most about your work?
The graphic qualities I think, that and the implication of a larger world just off the page.
What inspires you?
Good stories. Alternative fashion. But for the most part just the work of other artists, that’s what really makes me want to create.
What's essential to the work of any artist?
More than anything I think it’s the ability to trust in the process and to let things happen. It’s easy to fall into a habit of forcing things and that tends to kill your creativity and ruin any chance of making good work.
How do you decide when to stop / when your work's finished?
Is creativity therapy for you?
When I’m in the zone yes, getting into the zone is the struggle. If I took creativity away from my life, I’d probably get real bored and real stupid.
Is it about self indulgence, or is there a profound meaning to your practice?
Honestly I do it because I want to make things, you could argue it’s a mean to try and communicate but I’m not entirely sure. I do try to leave other people to assign meaning to my work though.
Is there a specific part of what you do that you enjoy the most?
Mostly the process.
Has your practice evolved over time?
Quite a lot, I’ve bounced around a lot of disciplines over the years. It tends to evolve when I add another element to my process or internal library.
Anything that pisses you off about the art world?
I think most things that piss me off about the art world are more issues I have with neo-liberal capitalism to be honest. But generally in my experience you run into a lot of class issues. Also people who aren’t artistically inclined don't seem to appreciate the effort that goes into art, which can often cause problems.
I’d really like to start work on a graphic novel of some kind. I just don’t quite feel like I’m there yet.