Introducing Elliot Kruszynski, a member of the Puck Collective and Niles Collective. Elliot is a London based illustrator making a name for himself. Elliot has worked on a number of projects with clients such as Anorak, International New York Times and Airbnb. A studio manager and technician at the Print Club London studios, Elliot holds screen-printing workshops at the Print Club London’s creative studio. We grab Elliot for a brief chat on his experiences as a young creative.
‘Trying his best’ – Can you talk us through what this means to you?
I guess this is slightly straightforward, what I do I try to do my best. Especially when it comes to illustration I really don’t like half assing it. If the final product isn’t something I’m happy with it bums me out.
How has youth culture influenced your creative path?
Very heavily I think, I digested an obscene amount of cartoons, comics and video games when I was younger and no doubt that veered me towards where I am now. I spent a crazy amount of time drawing Pokémon when I was a kid, like practicing for hours to be able to draw them on command at school, I wasn’t very cool back then but that made me cool for a few days. I think what has stuck with me most were old cartoons that I watched round my Nan’s house, loads of Hanna-Barbera classics. Every detail about them is so good, the type, the background paintings, the music and then obviously the characters. When newer cartoons came out I still watched them religiously but was conscious of how they looked different and visually didn’t interest me as much. So yeah pretty much cartoons forged my visual perceptions which has informed my craft.
How important is it to be a part of a collective?
I don’t want to say it’s very important because I know a lot of people that aren’t, but it’s a boat load of fun. I’m greedy and part of two, Puck Collective which I joined about 2 years ago and Niles which was a loose project with my best friends from Uni that has come into its own a bit more this year. They both offer up different experiences but are so much fun and I’ve made loads of good friends from Puck. Getting together and putting on shows and stuff is kind of like one of the closest recreations of a University studio environment, which is something a lot of people crave desperately when you finish your degree. It’s also really easy to do, just get your mates together and start collecting work and get wasted and then the next morning you’ve got a collective boom!
We noticed that you’re a member of Print Club London. As an illustrator and print maker, how has Print Club London played a role in your development?
Straight up I wouldn’t be talking to you now if it wasn’t for Print Club. I wanted to get involved with something fun and kind of found myself there about 2 years ago, I knew a tiny bit about screen-printing but not heaps, then I just started picking it up and teaching workshops there, now I’m a Studio Manager! Thinking about the print process totally changed how I drew and perceived things. I crushed my style down at the time, which was really detailed and convoluted, then I started building it back up again using flat colours and simple shapes informed by block print stencils. It took about a year of going through lots of experimenting but now it’s at a place that feels natural to me, I’m still not 100% happy with it but I never will be you know.
Do you have a special go-to place to create art?
Not at all! Currently my flat is my studio. It’s a bit grim sometimes and I’m going to get a proper studio soon but I don’t mind it too much. I live with another illustrator and a director and we all kind of work from home a few days a week so we keep each other company. Making good work for me is more of a mind-set than a location really. Everything I draw is so simple I can literally do it on the toilet, but if I’m not into what I’m drawing it can be such a drawn out process. Normally if I put some early 00′s R’n'B on though I can get anything done. Anything.
Paper cut outs? What is it about paper cut outs that excites you?
Honestly, nothing at all! At least no more than any other physical process. Pretty much everything I do as a commercial illustrator has a final digital output, meaning I have to spend a lot of time on my mac. To counter this I like to make real things that make me happy. Prints, paper cut outs, paintings, I got into wood cut outs a lot this year too. It’s just about keeping a decent balance to make sure I’m not just on Photoshop all the time and get square eyes.
As a young creative, talk us through a life-changing experience that has transformed you as an artist?
I really don’t think I’ve had one I’m sorry to say. It has been a series of lots of little things that slowly change over time, that you can only see when you look back. One day you are trying to throw your name out there and scrounge around for jobs, then suddenly people are coming to you for work, things just take time. I guess one thing that was good and gave me a sense of self recognition was doing PickMeUp earlier this year with my friends as Niles. When I was studying I came to PickMeUp 3 years in a row and remember at the time thinking this was so out of my league and didn’t think my work would ever be up to that standard. I was pretty naive to life back then but having got to the point this year where I was in it I was like ‘cool at least I got this far’. I obviously know now that it’s not everything but it was still good to kind of do something that I thought was totally out of my league 3 years ago. It’s given me perspective on how things are actually achievable if you buckle down and don’t let the little stuff affect you, stay cool and stay safe.
You can find more of Elliot Kruszynski’s work here: www.elliotkruszynski.co.uk
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