Throughout the year, we'll be running a series of interviews with artists whose work we find inspirational. We caught up with Josh Hurley, and chatted with him about printmaking, running a small design studio, and what it's like to live on a narrow boat!
-Tell us a bit about yourself, and what you do?
Hello! I'm Josh Hurley, a screenprinter and illustrator. I studied illustration at Falmouth and now run a small design and print studio called The Key Print House. Outside of this I eat too many desserts, listen to miserable music and live on a narrow boat.
'Totem' Screen Print
-What’s your background in Illustration? When did you know you wanted to be an Illustrator/Designer?
I recently graduated from Falmouth University in Illustration. Falmouth was a really good place to study. The course was great at letting you explore your own path and develop your own style in which ever way you wanted which I think really suited me. Falmouth was also full of great people that were always up for beach bbqs and drinking good ale. I've always been creative, but it wasn't until I was starting my foundation course that I realised I wanted to focus in on illustration. At the time my friend Jen Springall was studying illustration and seeing the briefs and projects that she was being set, and the way illustration differs from fine art really appealed to me.
Spot Illustration for Skinny Magazine, November 2013
-Most of your work is screenprinted. What’s your process for taking an idea and turning it into a finished print?
It is, I gravitated towards screen printing in the final year of uni after playing around with other printmaking processes. having a hand printed product, to me, will always beat digital printing. I understand not everything can be hand printed, but there is just something about it that I find really intriguing.
My ideas always start off as a small sketch or doodle. If I think it has any potential then I sketch it again and again with different compositions and in different sizes. After the idea has evolved into something solid I tend to scan it in and build it up in Photoshop. I usually only ever work in two or three colours because it helps later down the line when it comes to printing. I recently finished a collaboration with my girlfriend Livi Gosling, under The Key Print House. we created a double tea towel product. For this I used the drawings and avoided photoshop which was really fun. (They'll be on sale soon!) Once the designing is done it will almost always go through the screen printing process. At the moment I'm really enjoying overlaying two colours to make a third colour, I cant get enough of it.
-Forests and Nature are themes that feature heavily in your personal work. Is a connection to nature important to you in your work, and life in general?
I'm not sure if its important for me to feature nature in my work. I just like drawing trees. However, I think its quite important in life in general. Living on a narrow boat is good because you feel like you are always outside, you cant avoid the wildlife or nature if you tried. It's very relaxing.
Screenprinted Fox Pillow, a collaboration with Half Pint Home.
-Last year you set up The Key Print house, a small screenprinters with Oliver Moinet. Can you tell us a bit more about that? What’s it been like to run a studio so soon after graduating?
The Key Print House is a design and print studio that I run with Olly Moinet (a fellow Falmouth graduate) that specialises in handprinted goods. We started in October focusing on the Christmas market. The response was really good so we decided to push it further by focusing on commission based work. Since then we've worked with a range of clients designing and printing all sorts of things like tea towels, t-shirts and business cards. It's all been good fun, but also a real learning curve. I'm not a natural businessman so having to worry about finances, bringing in more business and keeping to schedules was tough to start with, but the best way to learn is to just jump in and get on with it. It really helps having a second person like Olly. It gives you confidence to go out and tell people why they should work with you, but it also gives you someone to lean on when things get too overwhelming.