Steve Scott is pixel pusher with a Wacom tablet and a master at mixing up fresh, contemporary image making with a nod to the retro. He is famous for his stylised characters of all shapes and forms, gaining a reputable clientele including Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Volvo, Led Zeppelin, Channel 4 and Wired Magazine. Get this – he has featured in the New York Guggenheim Museum and the Pictoplasma Festival in Berlin. Often abstract and stylised he can create a character or a scene which lingers in an inspiring way. Steve Scott is represented by Jelly London.
The Fableists > Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got in to illustration
Steve > I lived in Australia for half my life and moved away at 16. I landed in illustration by accident. I started doing music videos and it led on from there. I was in a band and did my own music video, quit my job to do it and this is how it all started happening. Because I had an illustrative style, a lot of people liked it. I started a studio in Australia and that is kind of how I got a career going.
The Fableists > Was that studio for commercials?
Steve > Mainly music videos for bands; low budget stuff. It was a different style from what I do now. I think of animation as different from illustration. With illustration I try to keep a style and keep it quite tight. With animation, it is more about what the job needs and I try to adapt styles. We did a lot of animation that is really psychedelic – some that is rotoscoping. I did this band in 2003 – they were the biggest grunge band in Australia at the time: Silver Chair. The money was terrible, and that is when I thought, this is the height of what I am going to get here and that was when I went into illustration.
The Fableists > Where does most your work end up? Is it mostly moving pictures?
Steve > A lot of drawing and 70% animation. But hard to say. If I’m not animating I am usually drawing!
The Fabeists > What inspires your day to day work?
Steve > You are constantly having to re-inspire yourself. I give myself little projects, for example last year I spent a lot of time in Soho (London). There are cool buildings and I gave myself a project of drawing these buildings and then I wanted to add magic things to them. Soho, to me, is quite mysterious and has a history, so I started drawing these buildings and putting in weird parades and then buildings with people in the windows and strange bird creatures. I mainly focus on characters and creatures, odd and weird people.
Matt > What were the inspirations behind the pictures you did for us?
Steve > I wasn’t sure what the brief was, but I knew it was about attitude and so I went round and came out with loads of ideas and wasn’t sure what worked. I also have two budgies, and they fly around and make a lot of noise. I love them if you walk past my lounge you can hear them outside on the street.
Matt > Your work has a certain look…
Steve > I guess what I really wanted was strong colour and pop colours. I always really liked 50s and 60s stuff, so I tend to kind of go that way. My influences are old cartoons – I grew up on comics. I have this great collection from Italy of old Mickey Mouse comics in the 30s and 40s style. I have been doing a lot of things like this recently. I did this whole thing of sketches of hillbillies with big baggy pants and guitars – I have this thing about guitars, I don’t even play guitar. The hillbilly with his banjo, but with a really heavy metal part to it also.
Matt > What do you feel about what we are doing, our message?
Steve > Especially now-a-days, there is so much that is overproduced. In terms of living in a sustainable way, that is really important for us now and for the planet. You can see in the last 4-5 years, people have started questioning this rampant consumption. The idea of maximizing profit is unhealthy.
Matt > If you could change one thing about the world what would it be?
Steve > So many things, aren’t there? I guess I would get rid of a few dictators, probably.