Greg has a bachelor’s degree from the Elam School of Fine Arts at the University of Auckland, and a diploma in design from the Auckland University of Technology.
Everything starts with a sketch for Greg, but he also uses the latest technology, which means he draws his initial ideas in pen, pencil or using Procreate on his iPad. The work then migrates over to the desktop, where he develops it further in Illustrator, an application that is ideal for the basic forms and limited colour palettes that Greg likes to use.
Greg’s main style is colourful and fun, with clean lines and a modern, geometric feel to it. Though most of his images are clear and direct, he also introduces smaller elements and icons, patterns and textures, to give them more depth. “Not all my work is hard-edged vector illustration,” he says. “Some is more hand drawn and it’s always nice to jump off the Mac for a while and go back to pencils and pens on paper.”
Question: What led you to become an illustrator? Greg: I’ve always drawn since I was very young. I went to art school after college and majored in painting, there was no plan B so if I didn’t get in there I am not sure what I would have done. After graduating in the early 90’s I had trouble finding a job so I enrolled in a one year design course and became a graphic designer for about 15 years but over the past 5 years I’ve focused a lot more on illustration and less on traditional graphic design.
Question: Did you study illustration at college ?
Greg: No I studied painting and print making and graduated from Elam School of Fine Art, Auckland with a BFA back in early 90’s.
Question: Where did you grow up?
Greg: I was born in Norwich, England and lived there until I was 9. My parents were over Thatcher and the high unemployment rate in England and decided to emigrate to New Zealand, where I grew up on Auckland’s North Shore.
Question: Where do you live now and what drew you there?
Greg: Beach Haven in Auckland, New Zealand along with lots of sheep, cows and hobbits.
Question: Describe your studio for us?
Greg: It’s quite a large space and nice and open and on the second level of our home. It has polished concrete floors and we painted the walls white a few years ago. We have a large white Ikea table against one wall and I work next to my wife Hannah each day. We have a print rack and large Epsom printer so can print A4, A3 and A2 art prints in-house, there’s also a couch and coffee table in case we have a client meeting or the kids want to hang out with us while we work.On the opposite side of our work space are big glass sliding doors with a view into the garden where there are lots of trees and native birds.
Question: Who or What is your biggest inspiration?
Greg: I’m inspired a lot by nature and trips to the beach and memories of summers gone by spending time with family and friends outdoors. I am also inspired by other illustrators, graphic designers and artists and follow a bunch of super talented people on IG.
Question: Do you collect anything?
Greg: Art & design books and magazines. I have quite a few surfboards and a range of art prints from different creatives.
Question: What are your interests outside of illustration?
Greg: I spend quite a lot of time with my family, I have a daughter Chloe, 12 and a son Leo, 8. Leo and I are always up to something drawing, skating, making sharks out of cardboard, hes super creative and has a crazy imagination, he can draw better than me. I try and surf once a week too if I can.
Question: Tell us about a favourite project you’ve recently completed.
Greg: Well it’s been a huge year. We just had an art exhibition with some other creative and Hannah and I curated it, I made 3 new art prints based on different NZ beaches and they are all super minimal. They were really well received so I’m planning on making more. I’ve really enjoyed working with Countdown Supermarkets on their reusable (no plastic) bags over 2018 and have created 7 different designs for them. The 8 meter mural I created for Lotto was really cool and designing my first ever Instant Kiwi scratch card which has also been turned into an online game. Creating a Mickey Mouse inspired artwork for Disney and Eddie Zammit for Mickeys 90th Celebration exhibition was a real dream come true. The bollards designed and hand painted for Christchurch Airport was a really new experience and challenge but I am really pleased with how they turned out. The new McDonalds Summer campaign is launched today and I created all the illustrations for inside the stores, TV ads, share boxes, tote bags and billboards.
Question: What would be your dream job/commission?
Greg: I’ve always wanted to create some digital portraits for some of my musical hero’s like Roots Manuva and Norman Jay, an album cover would be really cool. Creating something for Apple that sits on the global stage would be incredible. I’d love to work with clients who are doing some good in the world, who work sustainably or help others. I’ve been a huge fan of iconic skate brand Vans for a long time so working with them would be a dream come true.
Question: How do you envisage illustration evolving?
Greg: I think its going to go two ways - more full on, busy, vector illustrations and then more stripped back, hand drawn, crafty and lo-fi illustrations. That’s my feeling. More is more and less is less.
Warner Music, Nespresso, McDonalds, Microsoft, Greenpeace, Westpac, Air New Zealand, Auckland Zoo, Favourites
: One of the kid's pencils, A4 printer paper, Staedtler pigment liner pens, Apple Mac, iPad & Apple Pencil, Procreate, Epson SureColour P800 printer
(episode 6 is me!)
: goodbuzz fron NZ!