We caught up with Cardiff-based illustrator Phillip Morgan after holding a customisation event in our Dr. Martens Cardiff Store on Thursday 17th November. Known for his bold, colourful designs with a touch of humour, Phillip talked to us about his inspirations, proudest moments and what he stands for, below…
What’s your name and where do you come from?
My name is Phillip Morgan and I’m an illustrator/ artist from Cardiff in South Wales. I’ve been drawing from a very early age, but I never attended art school or studied illustration at university. I left school at sixteen. I’ve had over thirty different jobs since leaving school. I also played bass guitar in a band for eight years, touring the states and Canada a couple of times. When the rock and roll dream ended back in 2004, I decided to concentrate on the one thing I enjoyed doing the most, and that was drawing. I’ve been working at my craft since 2009 and have been a self employed artist since 2011.
What inspires you?
I have always been a fan of Scottish artist David Shirley. He has a very funny sense of humour with his work and his paintings have always brought a smile to my face. I took his ideals of not taking art too seriously, so I started to add humour to my work. I don’t think my artwork looks like his, but he is still a major inspiration with all my creations. Along with all the other standard things like being with my friends and family, listening to punk rock and drinking beer. I take inspiration from most daily situations to be honest.
Do you have an illustration or project you’re most proud of?
I’ve had the opportunity to work on some really exciting projects over the last few years. I think my favourite project would have to be having my artwork being used for a skateboard graphic. I’ve always been into skateboarding from an early age and I’ve always loved looking at all the graphics from the early eighties. My first skateboard graphic came out in 2010 for Crayon Skateboards.
Talk us through your customised Dr. Martens, was it a challenge working on these products?
When Dr. Martens asked me to draw all over a leather bag, I was a little nervous at first as there is very little room for mistake. I was unable to sketch the bag with a pencil due to the leather surface so I had to make sure all my line work was spot on. Also, if a mistake were to be made, you couldn’t just erase it out like working on paper. I really enjoyed doing the illustrations on customers shoes at the store in Cardiff.
List three tracks you can’t get enough of:
I tend to listen to a lot of BBC Six Music throughout my working day at the studio. I listen to podcasts, stuff like that. If I want to listen to music, I’ll probably put on some Fugazi or The Pixies. My three tracks I can’t get enough of are:
1. The Dream by Thee Oh Sees
2. Feel The Lightning by Dan Deacon
3. Chicago by Sufjan Stevens
What’s your favourite thing about the city you live in?
Cardiff is a great little city. I’ve been living here all my life. I now live on the outskirts of town, but it’s super easy to get about as it’s not too big. If I’m out on an evening you can usually find me drinking good ales in The Tap House or City Arms off Womanby Street. Little Man Coffee is also a good hang out spot, and Grazing Shed on St. Mary Street sell the best burgers in town, hands down.
Do you remember your first pair of DM’s?
My first Doc Martens would of been a pair of the classic eight hole black boots. I can remember wearing them to school back in the nineties and being told it was not allowed, and that I had to have suitable school shoes in class. So stupid as a rule when I look back on those times. If you were into heavy metal or rock music, had long hair, you were called a ‘mosher’ for wearing them. Now Justin Bieber or Taylor Swift wear a pair and it’s more acceptable.
And finally, what do you stand for?
If I could give one bit of advice to anyone who likes drawing, just have fun with it. Don’t take life to seriously. Be kind, and don’t be a dick.