silphwave interview


Tell us a little about yourself.

I am from England and when I’m not making art I work as a chef. 
How and when did you start getting into Pokemon/vaporwave art?

I’ve been making pokewave based artwork since early 2018. Before this I mainly made surreal landscape art in the form of collage art by cutting up vintage Nat Geo magazines for several years. At some point in 2017 I began incorporating my love of the vaporwave aesthetic into this art, adding digital effects to my traditional practice.
What inspires you?

Escapism. All of my art is about immersing myself in fictional worlds. Even as a small child I was making my own Pokemon cards and stories. I’d draw made up Pokemon maps, make pretend wanted posters for Star Wars characters, craft Lord of the Rings weapons like bows and arrows with elvish writing on them, make Harry Potter wands and pretend shopping lists for Diagon Alley and homework for Hogwarts. It was all about expanding the lore of these places I loved, blurring the boundaries between these imaginary worlds and our reality. This caused problems when I was studying Fine Art at university, I despise conceptual art and most of the contemporary theory based art gallery world. I like simple beauty and craftsmanship. My tutors at art school were always pushing me to make political art and to try address social issues with it, which just isn’t something I ever felt comfortable doing. It was dragging the worst parts of our reality into that one sacred peaceful place I had, art. A genuine quote from my art tutor “It’s just too nice. What do you hate? Try making art about that.” I couldn’t wait to leave, get my degree and go make the art that genuinely expresses myself. Which is what I’m doing now and surprisingly lots of other people love seeing what I make too which inspires me all the more. 
What other genres of art do you like?

Aside from my beloved 90s inspirations like vaporwave, pixel art and the whole aesthetic movement I love 80s styles like outrun and synthwave. Just from a purely visual stand point I really love North Korean and Soviet artwork. There’s a bold simplicity to it that I admire and even the more traditional Korean art full of floral patterns and pastel colours. Traditional Japanese wood block prints are sublime, as well as old Chinese ink drawings. Gothic cathedral architecture are some of the most awe inspiring structures on the planet to me. I love the photomontages of Superstudio too, an Italian architecture movement from the 60s. Anything from the retro-futurism genre excites me.

What's your process?

It’s so wide and varied because of the number of mediums I jump between and often too chaotic, undisciplined and chance based to give a simple coherent breakdown of. I often sit down with zero plan or idea of what I’m going to make. This keeps it exciting for me. 
How did you learn to do graphic design?

I studied graphic design at college for 2 years, then Fine Art at university for 3 years but honestly I learned very little in terms of technique or form. It was 95% theory. I taught myself Photoshop on an outdated French version I couldn’t understand, it was a lot of trial and error and just playing with every button and setting I could find. I learned a lot by just messing around making memes. 
What artists do you follow?

Here’s a few from my Instagram I particularly enjoy;

Khaled @kldpxl makes some of the best pixel art I’ve ever seen. There’s many great pixel artists I could list but he is definitely my favourite.

Oliver Hamlin @oliver_hamlin I regularly browse his art, it’s full of quaint, gorgeous, playful and creative watercolour paintings of Pokemon.

Jesse Treece @jessetreececollage is someone I’ve followed for the longest of time, learned a lot from him. Master of composition.

@2turnt_kurt makes great vaporwave fan art, lots of early 2000s nostalgia steeped in purple. 

Do you have any other hobbies you love?

Football or soccer as some may call it. I don’t really follow it anymore but I love playing it. I obviously love anything and everything Pokemon, the cards, the anime, the games etc. 
If you could catch and have one Pokemon as a pet, which would it be and why?

100% ABRA. We could communicate telepathically. It sleeps 18 hours per day. It’s kind of like having a cat that floats and can teleport me and itself places. Maximum laziness and hates being around people, I respect it. 
If you could live in any year, what year would you choose and why?

There's lots of ancient civilisations I'd like to see in their prime, but they'd probably kill me, so I'll just go back to 2013 and load up on BTC.