DRAW: Scott King

Text by Aimée Crickmore, MA Conservation: Books and Archival Materials, Camberwell College of Arts

Public Art Graphic Novels, ‘I Dream of Dalstonia’ written by Scott King & drawn by Will Henry. 2014

The latest DRAW event hosted on the 8th February with Scott King was refreshing in approach and atmosphere. The talk was hosted at the House of Illustration, and preceded by a viewing of the exhibition of a collection of  Jo Brocklehurst: Nobodies and Somebodies exhibition which is on display until 14th May 2017.

Opting for a more open and discursive style, the audience was invited into the space with noted graphic designer, Scott King who has worked as an art director for iD magazine, creative director for Sleazenation magazine and produces work across a wide variety of mediums.

‘I have ideas and I find a way to make them’

Image: Scott King, The Alcoholics Colouring Book 2008

King presented himself humbly, and explored his own creative journey with extremely witty commentary and frankness. A particular emphasis was placed on acknowledging that academic success need not be a predicate to success as a creator – King’s own personal creative journey was not without stumbling blocks – in his own words, he feels most inspired when working from a perspective of collaborative design, and had previously failed his art A-level.

Public Art Graphic Novels, ‘Anish & Antony Take Afghanistan’ written by Scott King and drawn by Will Henry. 2014

In particular, the process of design and realisation of ‘Anish and Anthony take Afghanistan’ was discussed in depth. Both this work and ‘I Dream of Dalstonia’ were collaborative projects with illustrator, Will Henry; their collaborative partnership began when King posted an open-call for a graphic artist on Twitter. ‘Anish and Anthony take Afghanistan’ engages in discourse with works such as Temenos and Angel of the North, which were commissioned to ‘inspire hope for new business’ in post-Industrial areas under New Labour.

Public Art Graphic Novels, ‘I Dream of Dalstonia’ written by Scott King & drawn by Will Henry. 2014

‘With no explanation, everything got bigger and bigger’, King observed, and the subject of the graphic novel is largely concerned with satirising the idea that public sculpture is the answer to rejuvenating post-industrial areas and poking fun by casting Anish Kapoor and Anthony Gormley as ironically heroic, and ultimately engender more conflict inn the nation they were expected to save.
All of this sprung from a single photograph of one of these giant sculptures in partial construction in the arid desert, appearing to King’s eyes like ‘a bourgeois fetish item’.  King went on to discuss the constraints of format, and the challenges of producing diverse, engaging content which is visually appealing and ‘monumental’ rather than ‘temporary’.
‘The passion to say something is more important than the skill’

image: Scott King private archive

King’s varied works, which incorporate a range from abstraction to interior design emphasise the impact of narrative in informing visual style, and how ideas may be communicated across mediums. He maintains his love of writing and his playful use of the photocopier!

Scott King “A Room for Nick” installation view at Lira Hotel, Turin, 2013
More about Scott King:

Scott has produced work for many influential figures including the Pet Shop Boys, Michael Clark, Malcolm McLaren and Suicide. King’s work has been exhibited worldwide in both commercial galleries and institutions; he has also produced several books including Anxiety & Depression (2009), Art Works (2010) and Anish & Antony Take Afghanistan (2014) and Public Art (2015). Scott King was Chair of Visual Communication at University of the Arts, London, 2013 -16.