Artist Interview: Lee Haydock
For the first of our Wraptee interviews, we speak to Lee Haydock, an illustration graduate of Blackpool & Fylde College. Lee has completed two amazingly intricate paper-cut scenes for Wraptious: a Christmas scene inside Santa’s Workshop, and a Toy Town scene, made up of multiple paper-cuts layered together and including racing cars, a trampolinist, volcano, balloon bear and countless other things!
After finishing his degree, he has exhibited a series of small screen prints in America. Back home in Preston, he has been selling work from his university exhibition, which has helped raise money for the air ambulance and has recently taken a commission in London.
1) Tell us about yourself Lee, what makes you tick? Well from an early age I've loved watching films and playing video games, this showed me how creative you can be with fiction and most importantly make it fun. I love the idea of designing imaginary worlds based on folklore and tales.
2) How's life post-University? I've had some great opportunities so far and thanks to the work I have produced I've met some cool people I look forward to doing future business with. It’s a slow and steady process but I feel my career building up every day.
3) What's the most important thing you learnt from your degree? So many things! I had some brilliant tutors, they showed me paper cut art in the 1st year and that's when the penny dropped. My personal tutor taught me how to screen print which paid off massively, allowing me to exhibit overseas in my 3rd year. Maintaining my professionalism in every brief and learning to market myself to new contacts was also an important lesson. I really grew as a person and an illustrator during my 3rd year; I will always be grateful to the people who supported and taught me.
4) How did you get into paper crafting? My 1st year personal tutor showed us how to make paper tunnel books. Ever since I saw what the professional paper artists were capable of, I was inspired to increase my abilities and find my style.
5) Describe the process you go through when designing and constructing a new paper scene I need to research and take notes and draw ideas alongside with my notes, for my final ideas to become clear. Only then do I pencil draw a template, and finally get cutting. The really thin intricate designs like spider webs and strings are the most difficult part – anything long and thin is asking to break if you don’t keep it steady!
6) Where do you get the inspiration from for your work? It can come from anything really, from real life events like workers in their offices to abstract imaginary worlds from a good film or show. I like to look at history and British heritage too, the machines we created in our country always give me a great inspiration for imagining how far my work can go - it makes me think we can be revolutionary too.
7) What do you love most about being an illustrator? The joy it gives people when they explore my work or receive a piece of artwork from me.
8) What's been the highlight of your career so far? When we all set up our 3rd year exhibition in Manchester, my tutor's young son was helping everyone anyway he could. He said my work was cool so I gave him my business card because he really liked the artwork on it. The next day my tutor said he placed it underneath his light switch so he can always see it before he turns off the lights. That was the most rewarding experience I've ever had as an illustrator.
9) Any illustrators or artists catching your eye at the moment? Someone who has caught my attention was Esref Armagan, he is an artist who was born without eyes. It’s so hard to believe he taught himself to write and paint, I just found it fascinating that his senses are able to indicate the shape and form of something he has never seen.
10) And finally Lee, what 3 things can't you live without? My game collection because I love a fun challenge and it’s a laugh to have a multiplayer with a few friends and beers. Not to be boring but my paper and craft knives and other art tools and materials, simply because building my career and making a living off what I love is important to me. And finally, I'd have to say my passport, because I've seen most of the bands I've ever wanted to see, so now I want to see the world. Venice was a great start.