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About the Artist
Graeme Zirk is an artist and illustrator with a background in graphic design. As he puts it: "I went to a modest art and design school in a small town that nobody has heard of."
Now based in Vancouver, Graeme grew up on the prairies, where he drew comics, performed stand-up comedy and worked human-service jobs before being wooed by a career in design in the big city. "I like to draw stupid little things with bigger ramifications," Graeme says. "Sometimes for clients, sometimes just for me."
Graeme will be doing a live art piece at our Beergarden at Vancouver Mural Fest on Saturday, Aug. 10!
I have been drawing as long as I can remember. I grew up in Saskatchewan where it’s winter for like 8 months out of the year. I can't play hockey or football to save my life, so I did a lot of drawing and playing inside on the computer as a kid. It's just a thing I've always done and will continue to do until I can't.
What stands out for you as one of your favourite career highlights so far?
I've had some cool, lucky breaks. I had design job for years where travel and sizeable budgets were a thing. So that was a highlight. But so far the biggest highlight has been walking away from the steady diet of candy that is a salaried, full-time job and attempting art and illustration full-time. I think my career highlight might just be taking a shot at the career I didn't have the guts to try.What is your creative process like?
I was a graphic designer before I had the gall to call myself an illustrator or an artist. Design is all about process. One might go as far as to say, "too much about process" at times. I'd be lying if I said my own process didn't reflect that, but I do what I can to not process myself and my work to death. I'm not a super linear person, but I try to give myself loose guard rails to keep me on course.
I do a lot of collecting, sketching and note taking. Good ideas don't just happen, so I have a billion sketchbooks on the go at a given time and often add to a never ending notes doc on my phone. When I find the through lines or overlapping ideas, I try to combine and refine them into something someone would want to look at for more than 8 seconds.
Who or what influences your art?
I get excited by Japanese candy packaging, Mad Magazine, early interface design, old video games, skateboarding, Polish posters, documentaries, modernism, stand-up comedy, science fiction, fantasy and The Blue Album.
What are you currently working on?
I love to do editorial illustration, commercial stuff, art commissions and the odd branding project from time to time. I'm in a fortunate position of having all of those things on the go at the moment!How do you feel our Art + Brewing initiative can benefit emerging artists?
I've always been a fan of what CA does for people with my job. You give us a super broad platform to play with, a sizeable audience and an actual pay cheque. It may sound silly, but just respecting artist's work, time and point of view does a great deal to benefit us. When you're a commercial artist you sometimes have to "play ball" "look the other way" or work in an unfamiliar stylistic box to get your work seen all over North America. It's cool how you take us as we are and trust us to do what makes sense.
Fall Call for Art 2020
Deadline: Nov. 30Submit Now