We sat down with contemporary artist Ollie Cooper to discuss where his love of typography began, how important sustainability is to his art process, and where he sees his art developing in the future.

 

Typography artist Ollie Cooper

1. Where do you take your inspiration from? What/who are your biggest influences?

I draw a lot of inspiration from the everyday – spotting quirks in designs in books, magazines or shop fronts and signage along the high-street for example. Typography really gets me thinking about how something could be done differently or looking at it from another angle to generate fresh ideas or a play on words.

I’m also into sustainable ways of living and working, topics like this and general social commentaries drive a lot of my initial sketches. Books about traditional sign writing techniques and hand-lettered branding are another of my go-to’s.

 

2. Is there any particular artwork or artist that has changed the way you view creative expression?

A lot of my influences are from designers and illustrators with an organic and vintage aesthetic – anything handmade or hand finished that stays true to traditional processes really resonates with me. Jon Contino is a big influence for me. His hand-crafted lettering and injection of wit makes his style truly unique. I also draw influence from traditional signwriters and fairground lettering like Joby Carter, who is a master at this style.

 

 

Filth, 2020 by Ollie Cooper

3. How does your background in branding influence your work?

For me, branding is all about personality. The lettering styles I design are carefully considered to reflect the subject matter. You wouldn’t use the same typeface to promote a sweet shop as you would do a heavy metal band! Both of which I’m a fan of.

Being fortunate enough to have worked with some great agencies in London and Canada, I’ve met such a wide variety of clients and designers that constantly keep you on your toes and trialling new methods and ways of working. It’s been invaluable to my growth as an artist.

 

4. What is the driving force behind your art?

I love creating art that leaves a lasting impression. I get a great sense of pride when someone commissions or buys something that they feel deserves to be in their personal space. It’s still a surreal feeling to see photos of my art in people’s homes and offices.

 

 

Onwards & Upwards, 2021 by Ollie Cooper

5. The pandemic-induced lockdowns disrupted the routine of many artists. How did your routine alter, and what does a typical day look like for you now?

I have definitely pivoted my business and what I offer. The time and reflection I’ve had during the pandemic has led me to focus solely on the work I feel passionate about.

 

6. Can you tell us more about your creative process?

Ideas are usually roughly hashed out in sketchbooks or a scrap of paper to start. It’s a very rough-and-ready process when I first get started, and I like to refine from there by using tracing paper or Procreate on iPad. I also mix up my workspace wherever possible – going to local coffee shops, collective workspaces or parks are great for idea generation.

 

7. How does humour play into your work?

I like to incorporate tongue-in-cheek humour through language and wordplay. Sometimes it’s the simple concepts that have the biggest impact or resonate with the most people. I’m also not afraid to use humour to present topics/causes that I’m passionate about or advocate for, such as climate change or animal cruelty.

A blend of wit and a call to action is sometimes all it takes to make someone smile and reflect.

 

Explore Ollie's other artworks

8. You place a great deal of importance on making sustainable artwork, can you tell us more about this and your passion for environmental change?

I feel an enormous responsibility, and privilege, as an artist and a person to be able to be mindful of my footprint and lifestyle. I always strive to use sustainable materials and methods in my work as I think it makes my art more thoughtful, and it mirrors the same values I live by.

For example, all my 1/1 work is created using salvaged or second-hand items. My first debut collection was entirely designed using items I sourced locally, upcycling them and turning them into salvaged treasure.

 

9. What made you fall in love with the art of typography?

From a young age I was always copying logos and sponsors from football kits and designing my own, so it probably started there. My Mum spotted that I had an eye for it and kept all the drawings. This interest in type was refined when I studied graphic design at university where we traced classic fonts, learned about type styles, fundamentals and the terminology of typography.

 

Explore Ollie's other artworks

10. How do you see your art developing in the future?

I want to explore more mediums - going bigger in terms of the reach and physical scale of my projects and evolving my style. I’d like to get a larger studio in the coming years which would certainly help that!

 

11. If you could give one tip to new art collectors, what would it be?

Buy art that is part of a collection, limited run or hand finished – it gives you more of a connection with the artist. Always support local talent as well as the bigger names and find pieces that you truly enjoy… not just ones that are a fleeting fashionable moment. And, most importantly, frame your art properly!

 

12. What’s next for you?

I had my first solo exhibition last year which took a lot out of me, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’d like to do another one but I’m just waiting for the right concept. I also plan on working on some larger formats and custom murals for my clients in the next few months.

To discover more of Ollie's artworks click here, and to keep up to date with his new artworks and his artist lifestyle, follow him on Instagram @olliecoopersigns.