You may recognize the work of Australian-born illustrator Jonathon Zawada from such high profile clients as The New York Times and the Sydney Theatre Company, or perhaps from his humorous pokes at the fashion world with his side project Fashematics. Later this summer, Zawada will be unveiling his contribution to Then x Ten, an new exhibition celebrating the power of the poster.
Herman Miller’s Asia Pacific blog recent spoke with Zawada:
What influenced your style?
I still feel like I’m struggling to find my personal style. I tend to get bored quite easily so I like to mix things up. There’s not really one style that I would say is right but rather a range of approaches that I employ in each unique circumstance. I only realized I had a style when people began to approach me for it; even now I’m not sure what that style is.
What led you to pursue a career as an illustrator?
Pursue is probably a more proactive word than I would choose. I’ve always loved drawing, for as long back as I can remember it’s about all I would do. For a while I thought I would be an animator, then a computer programmer, then a graphic designer, but in the end I feel like all of those things were always just skirting around the inevitable happy home of illustration and art.
Do you have any rituals or routines you follow before embarking on an illustration?
The initial idea is the hardest part for me. I discovered that the best way to come up with a solution is to think really hard on the problem for the first day or two and then to completely put it out of my mind, and usually within a week or two an idea will pop into my head almost fully formed.
What element of design could you not live without?
What advice would you give to aspiring art makers?
Have a thorough understanding of the practical basics. Being able to complete simple tasks well led to every one of the big opportunities I’ve ever received. That foundation continues to underpin my approach to every piece I undertake.
How much of your work is influenced by the past?
Nowadays the influence of the past is more indirect than it once was. The lessons I learned from past design are now deeply ingrained in my subconscious. So although I have stopped looking to the past for clues and hints, my instincts are undoubtedly the result of past.
Can you share with us some early ideas of what you will be working on to create your poster for Herman Miller?
I am working on George Nelson’s Coconut Chair. There is a simultaneous humor and beauty at the core of the design; I hope I can do it justice.
Click here to read more of the interview.