Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Big Orange Studios

On our little expedition to London some of us organised to pay a visit to the big orange studios. It was quite important for me to go down so i could see two extremes on the design spectrum. One end being the colossal SKY powerhouse. It was interesting to see the contrast.

I initially went down with not a strong idea of what it was that they do in the studio. I knew of the name and a few of the illustrators working there and i had seen some of their work and that was it. i was under the assumption that at times they worked as a collective, but this was wrong. When i first entered the studio and we started talking to Andy Pavitt i realised and was a little surprised to find that they do not collaborate and that they do almost just share a room with each other. Many of the other people he shared the space with were also not there. It seems bizarre but it is almost like a it was set up to keep up moral in a surprisingly stressful job.
"need a client. Will i ever get work? need a part time job"
Then his stress is increased ten fold when you actually get the commission. The stress of meeting the deadline, making sure the work is perfect so you are hired a second time, Who ever thought drawing pictures could be so frustrating. The main thing seems to be uncertainty and lack of faith in oneself and the industry, Andy made a big point about the current economic downturn and how even he, a respected and successful illustrator, has just had to start a part time job in the Tate library.
"Clients just don't have enough money to play around with anymore".

It's easy to doubt ones own abilities when somebody as well established and talented as Andy can't get work, so good moral is essential, sharing a studio is a big part of that, Andy stressed a local pub is necessary. Even though they don't work together i bet they run their ideas by each other, it would give each other that little bit of reassurance or that little push in the right direction which is always needed. He also said that sometimes if someone is struggling or they are weaker at somethings more than others, there is always that helping hand. Another big advantage in having a studio with a brand identity of sorts is that bigger clients would take you more seriously, this shouldn't be the way but you can see how it works.

Andy also looked at all our portfolios, he said that they were well presented and the folders themselves looked very professional and were of a good size. He said of mine that it was interesting but very inconsistent and a little unpredictable which is good in some respects but a nightmare for a client, they need consistency at least in terms of pictures looking like they were produced by the same person. After this we got into a discussion about other people i was going to visit in London, i mentioned i was into moving image and i was going to take a trip to Sky. After that he kind of retracted what he said a little and thought that, that kind of employer would probably want diversity. Which gave me some reassurance that the big corporate monster might take notice.

After seeing this studio, the size of the windows, the wooden floors, all the desk space filled with little trinkets and computers, i got inspired. There would be nothing that i would love more than to have a studio like this, shared with like minded people, only i think i would personally prefer there to be more collaborations.

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