Andrew Spark discovered the work of Andy Warhol as a 15 year old growing up in suburban Ipswich.

The son of a coal miner, yet dreaming of an escape from his working class roots, he was thrilled by not only Warhol's bright, "pop" art but also with the artist's own life story.

Seeing parallels with his own life, Warhol became a life-long mentor separated by space and time, influencing not only Spark's work but also his outlook on the world and his own life.

Spark continues to practice visual art and the influence of Warhol's work remains a key touchpoint.

Image Copyright The Andy Warhol Foundation.

Pop music and culture remain a constant influence on Spark - that rare commodity that is at once disposable but life affirming (in much the same way as Warhol redefined the everyday).

Discovering English band "The Smiths" at around the same time as his discovery of Warhol, he identified similar themes and was drawn to not only the intricate music but also the aesthetic of this seminal group's gang mentality.

Image Copyright Warner Brothers Records.

The 1990s were an exciting time for print media and for graphic designers in particular. The Face magazine (England) was reaching its apex as a key influencer and reference point to popular culture and Neville Brody was reshaping the way that designers and the public in general were engaging with and communicating through images and text. 

Brody would continue to be influential to Spark's work as he studied the designers commercial campaigns for some of the world's most successful brands.

Image Copyright Neville Brody.

Ray Gun magazine (USA) - published between 1992 and 2000 - led by surfer and art director David Carson arrived at a time of social change and at a time when Spark was setting out to explore the world - notably his first trip to the UK and Europe.

Carson's design aesthetic - "the end of print" - further influenced Spark's outlook on communication as art - a theme he had been exploring since discovering Warhol so many years earlier.

DON'T MISTAKE LEGIBILITY FOR COMMUNICATION remains a strong influencing factor in Spark's marketing and design work.

Image Copyright David Carson.

Spark has always been predominately attracted to the music, art and design of northern England, specifically Manchester, which during the Nineties saw a revolution in popular culture that reshaped the working class city into a world renowned cultural hub.

 

Specifically the work of Peter Saville at Factory Records and the Carroll brothers at Central Station Design, infused a designer aesthetic for Spark that keenly identified that communication can be street wise and still effectively convey messages to a consumer audience.  

Images Copyright Factory Records / Peter Saville; Central Station Design.

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