Illustrator and Gray’s School of Art graduate Marco Bevilacqua works under Want Some Studio and has worked with MTV, Creative Review, The Financial Times, Nowness, Philip Morris International, Interbrand amongst others. Here he tells us a bit about himself, how he got into illustration and what his future looks like.
When I was 12, I took part in my first exhibition. By 14 I had sold several drawings and paintings. When my friends played football, I drew them and designed their football kits. When I was in a band, I just wanted to make the record sleeves.
I think the reason I’ve began here with my memoirs, is that on reflection being an illustrator has always been on the cards for me. After a few years of flunking out of University first time round and working in a call centre, I finally went to Art School and graduated in 2013.
After living and working in London for a year, I’ve now based my studio in Edinburgh.
London can be a great place, but I found myself looking for jobs cleaning or teaching as opposed to concentrating on illustration. It’s an expensive city just to be. Moving to Edinburgh has made me realise that I can make money from illustration now that I’m fully committed to it. I don’t need to subsidise the horrific cost of rent with a part-time job, and subsequently I’ve stopped feeling pressured, I’m enjoying it, and I think my work now shows that.
When speaking about “influences,” it’s hard to nail them down. I think my personal work is a process of reflection. Doodles and thoughts in sketchbooks, looking into the window of the computer monitor at our contemporary landscape of incessant web banners and slogans vying for attention, pop culture’s terminal conveyor belt and the grip of social media. All things associated with modern life’s visual overload and us. I also studied a lot of politics when I was at school, so I like to keep engaged and take references from there if I can.
Commissioned work feeds from this, but obviously depending on the job and the client’s needs, it’s not always appropriate or necessary. A recent job for MTV, where I was commissioned to do a wall mural in their Camden offices, was a great example of this. They liked my Street/Pop Art style, which I had developed through my personal projects, but worked with them to create imagery that was appropriate for their needs and the space.
I think a lot of illustration now is this early 90s, saccharine coated, fluorescent shapes imagery that tends to be more style over substance. That’s absolutely fine, but I like to try and say something about the world in my work. My ongoing collaboration called Mad Quills, where I work with a very talented writer and poet, is a great example.
We’re working together to make a book as well as put on an exhibition soon. Other future projects I have lined up are a few more group shows in London and Glasgow come the spring. But, at the moment I’m working with Warner Music to create T-Shirt designs for Ed Sheeran’s next tour.
Personal projects include finally finishing my illustrated kids book and no doubt playing with iconography, as I expand my illustration print shop.
In illustration, if you don’t have work, you’re working to get work and I’m looking forward to seeing what it looks like.
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