Today we’d like to introduce you to Simon Walker.
Simon, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
As a young teenager in England in the 1980s, I became fascinated in what was then a largely unknown phenomenon – hip hop. I immediately developed a fascination with all aspects of the culture, especially graffiti. There was something about the way these kids were taking letterforms and warping them into these beautiful pieces of art that pushed them into pure abstraction that completely mesmerized me. I didn’t have the means or the desire to grab some paint cans and start tagging public property, but with pen and paper, I made it my mission in life to understand how these graffiti artists did the things that they did.
My dalliance with the world of custom lettering came and went over the years, but the seeds that were planted as a young teenager led me inexorably to a career in visual communications as a graphic designer in my late 20’s. However, I didn’t truly return to my roots as a custom letterer until about 10 years or so ago, when clients were starting to become more savvy in terms of developing ownable identities for their businesses, and the design industry as a whole started to get a lot more serious about creative lettering solutions that didn’t depend solely on fonts. I was tentative in my efforts at first and filled with a ton of self-doubt, but the more clients were asking for custom lettering solutions, the more I came to love and appreciate the art behind it.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I’m a custom letterer. I crave projects that allow me to explore the possibilities of what lettering can do all on its own. I’m enamored by the fact that a simple letter “A” (for example) can be represented in a million different ways and yet still be an “A” to every casual observer. I try and create new letters for every project that comes my way – although I am admittedly limited by my own personal style and approach. I’m always striving to expand my style, though. My work is often labeled “vintage,” which is fair since I’m most inspired by the kinds of lettering that were common in graphic design during the middle of the twentieth century – anywhere from the 40s through the 70s, give or take a few years. I primarily create letters on the computer (a fact that I often find myself having to defend as if my computer and my mouse aren’t tools just like pens, paper, pencils…) although I do occasionally have the chance to dabble in other mediums. I also create fonts – something I once swore I’d never do. But I fell into it kind of through the osmosis of learning how a good letter-form is constructed – and by contrast, what makes a bad letterform.
What do you know now that you wished you had learned earlier?
George Clinton (Parliament/Funkadelic) once was asked why he made funk music. His response was that he simply couldn’t help it. I think that’s true for any artist – do it because you can’t help it. Don’t force it. If you’re forcing it, and if you hate the process of becoming better, it’s probably not for you. Also, take the time to suck. Allow yourself to fail. “Failure” has become a bit of a buzz word in creative circles lately, but that’s because it’s true. I think there’s a tendency among people who are new to any field to want to rush the creative learning process. It’s this system of copying what the pros are doing, detail for detail, and calling it their own – often fueled by social media. But having the technical skill to copy what others are doing doesn’t equate to pure creativity. That takes time. And that’s okay.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
My website for my custom lettering is https://www.simonwalkertype.com/.
There are links to all my social media on the info page there.
My website for my fonts is called Beasts of England, on which I currently have three fonts for sale, with more coming soon. The idea behind Beasts of England is that each font is inspired by a specific person or event from my time as a teenager in England. For each font, I write a short story about where that inspiration came from: https://www.beastsofengland.co/
- Website: https://www.simonwalkertype.com/
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/superfurry/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/super_furry
- Other: https://www.beastsofengland.co/
None needed. The image of the Eastciders can was given to me by Eastciders to use for self-promotional purposes.
Getting in touch: VoyageHouston is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.