Interview: Hisknibs

hisknibs_header

Steve Millington präsentiert auf hisknibs.com seine vorzüglichen, stark Sixties-beeinflussten Illustrationen, Flyer und Karikaturen. 
Ich hatte dieser Tage die Gelegenheit, per Email ein kleines Interview mit ihm zu führen.

When You’re Young

As far back as I can remember I’ve always loved to draw, you have to have a passion and love of drawing to be any good at it…

jazzbass

Diskursdisko: Hi Steve. To start things off, where does “Hisknibs” come from? Where/how did you pick up the name?

Hisknibs: Well, it was kind of a nickname when I was a kid… always been one for my clothes (comes from  a 19th century name for someone with a self important manner)… and also the fact that I use dip pens quite a lot and thought it kind of sounded good too. The silent “k” was added as the domain name hisnibs was taken…

Diskursdisko: What’s your background? When did you start doing illustrations?

Hisknibs: As far back as I can remember I’ve always loved to draw, you have to have a passion and love of drawing to be any good at it, today it’s far too easy for kids to get distracted by other things, computer games etc, so they aren’t getting their hand in at drawing before they start art college so they sit behind computer screens nicking  artwork off the web… seen my stuff cropping up all over the place, there’s very little you can do about it…
Anyway, back to the question at hand, as I said been drawing since I was a kid, then did all the usual stuff, took art at school and then on to art college etc… 
When I left college I started work at a glass engravers as a graphic designer (of sorts), glass engraver and generally oversaw production. Worked there for ten years (far too long) but I’m glad I had that grounding in being able to form letters correctly as it’s proved invaluable ever since. 

About 15 years ago I moved from Manchester to Sheffield and struggled to find work as an engraver, but eventually found work hand painting signs for pubs which I did for a further 5 or so years until I bought a cheap PC and acquired a copy of Adobe Creative Suite from a friend… the rest is history.

The Sixties

Been a mod since I was a kid, always had a passion for good clothes and music and that’s what it’s all about for me…

petethk_2Diskursdisko: Hisknibs is obviously strongly rooted in mod & sixties culture. What’s your story on this? Do you consider yourself a mod?

Hisknibs: Yes I’d say I definitely do, It always been a huge part of my life and still is… My involvement in the POW WOW club (Sheffield) is something I’m very proud of, great to see so many people loving a night you helped put on, suppose it’s part of getting a kick out of being creative.

Been a “mod” since I was a kid, always had a passion for good clothes and music and that’s what it’s all about for me…

Diskursdisko: So what’s your take on being a mod in the 21st century, fully  retro or modern modernist?

Hisknibs: If you’d have asked me that question at age 16 to 18 (during the eighties) I’d have replied definitely RETRO though the term RETRO was virtually unknown back then, but we certainly did try to recreate the sixties mod look.
These days the answer is definitely “modern” by that I mean, take the best from all eras and bring them into the here and now, which is basically what they were doing in the sixties, I listen to sixties and seventies music and wear the odd piece of vintage clothing… mixed in with quality off the peg new stuff and quite a bit of tailored gear. I’d say I try and avoid the look of a sixties throwback these days, been there and done that.

Diskursdisko: Do you feel that artwork was “better” in the sixties, or do you enjoy “modern” stuff just as much?

Hisknibs: Not better as such, just different… they had the luxury of creating the “modern” look…  You can’t re-invent the wheel can you?  But you can reinterpret it.

Work Of Art

…some use it as an end in itself which isn’t my bag at all…

Diskursdisko: How do you produce your art? Which software do you use?

hisknibs-oasis

Hisknibs: Photoshop and Illustrator are both important tools in creating my stuff, but it all starts on paper with pencil and traditional dip pen and ink, I use the computer to composite the sketches into a viable whole, adding colour and texture… some use it as an end in itself which isn’t my bag at all, as the end result is nearly always soul less, though there are exceptions.

Diskursdisko: What inspires you?

Hisknibs: As far as work is concerned, anything good, literally everything from Mr Magoo cartoons by the fantastic UPA studios through to Miroslav Masek… basically “cartoon modern” mixed up with a lump or two of Ronald Searl… Love pop art too, Mel Ramos, Richard Linder, God ie Peter Blake… and Alan Aldridge. I could carry on reeling off contemporary illustrators but I’ll stop there.

Diskursdisko: Of all the work you’ve created and showcased on your website, can you name a couple that you have a special love for or connection to?

Hisknibs: …mmmm hard question, there’s certainly work that I consider to be better and more well executed than some of the others. My favourites at the moment have to be the reworking of the crash test 2, which I love yet is so different to most of my work, quite cuffed with the latest pow wow poster… and the oasis caricature makes me laugh.

This Is The Modern World

There are some awesome blogs about these days I visit almost daily to see what’s new…

gingerDiskursdisko: You’ve obviously got the website at hisknibs.com. Any other presences on the web you’d like to publicize?

Hisknibs: Mmm… not really, only myspace and the occasional bit on retrotogo and modculture… I’m trying to spend more time on my blog and get more work through that.

Diskursdisko: As you use the internet to showcase your art, are there any other websites you feel have influenced you, opened your mind or shown you new ways of creating art?

Hisknibs: There are some awesome blogs about these days I visit almost daily to see what’s new… my favourites at the moment are: worldofkane.blogspot.com, grainedit.com,drawn.ca, and todaysinspiration.blogspot.com, which are all kind of art, illustration and general “of interest” inspirational sites, but I have to mention selectism.com which is an excellent mens interest blog mainly focusing on clothes.

Do I need mention modculture and retrotogo? Both great. Along with jackthatcatwasclean.blogspot.com which is a kind of mod history blog done by two mates of mine from Belgium.

The Future

Got a revamp of the whole site in the pipeline, should be up and running in the next week or two …fingers crossed.

Diskursdisko: Do you have any specific plans for the future direction of your artwork?

Hisknibs: I see it heading in two directions, one more hand drawn with a scratchy dip pen look about it, the other in the direction of “crash test 2” which takes me into more arty “Mel Ramos”  territory.

Diskursdisko:  Any plans for the website in the near future?

Hisknibs: Got a revamp of the whole site in the pipeline, should be up and running in the next week or two …fingers crossed.

Diskursdisko: Steve, many thanks for the interview – is there anything you’d like to add?

Hisknibs: Yes, thanks for asking… it’s been an enjoyable and quite self indulgent experience being able to ramble on about myself for a few minutes.


Vincent Wilkie hat diesen tollen Beitrag verfasst. In seiner Freizeit ist er Musiker, Webdesigner und DJ.

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