1. Tell us about yourself, your artistic background.
My name is Josh Brill. I live in Portland, Maine. I am an artist, designer and creator of Lumadessa, an art label that explores the nature of the world with a modernist perspective.
My artistic background has been eclectic one, it began in art school, as a challenge to myself to learn as much about the different crafts of art to be an better artist. I studied cartooning, sculpture, painting, photography and graduated with a BFA in Graphic Design and New Media from Maine College of Art.
For six years, I worked as an interactive art director in advertising. I came to the realisation that I was helping build other people’s dreams, but not my own. So I left my agency job to develop what would become Lumadessa. Though it came about organically, there was no plan in mind, just to inspire people. I lined up a solo art show and made six large format (6’x3′) panoramic nature scenes. The work got great response from people, especially the pieces with birds in them. I learned a lot from the whole experience and a second series developed from it, one that focuses on the beauty of animals. Over time that series grew into so much more then I would have ever expected…my artwork being in homes around the world, licensing my art to develop product lines with other companies, like Element skateboards, or being commissioned by companies like Nike (Roger Federer) to do special projects for them.
2. Your depictions of animals are geometric, balanced, but striking. What designers or artists have influenced you and your style?
Thank you. My work is greatly inspired by mid 20th century graphic design (posters, book covers and brand design). Some people have asked me if Charley Harper was an inspiration of mine, because I make geometric animals. No he wasn’t, I didn’t discover his work till after I started getting into this. The artist that was most influential in getting me into my visual style is the cartoonist, Chris Ware. His heavily design-influenced illustration work opened my eyes to the world of graphic design. Both my design education and appreciation of Ware’s work led me to discover other designers that use illustration in their work. Some of my favourites then were Saul Bass, Reid Miles and the Russian constructivist poster designers.
3. Where do you source inspiration to design your animals – books? television? Internet? or perhaps even personal ‘wildlife’ trips?
I have many sources of inspiration from field guide books to different types media on the internet. Though my home state, Maine, is a great source of inspiration. It’s a place where I can see rocky coastlines, islands, marshes, lakes, rivers, forests and mountains within an hour from where I live in Portland. Whenever I need to recalibrate my perspective, I go on a trip—I like to take short trips to places like Mackworth Island, Ferry Beach and Fort Williams Park, because it gives me enough time to get back into the studio to make artwork.
4. You said you were working on some new work, do you mind telling us about it?
Yes, I just released prints of an Anna’s hummingbird, Costa’s hummingbird and a Belted Kingfisher. These new pieces accompany the return of Flora Fauna: Birds collection. This was my first collection for Lumadessa and it’s now out of print. I’m currently working on a new series. I can’t tell you what it is — it’s a secret for now, but it’s in the experimental learning phase, and I’m developing the conceptual framework for it. The goal of the series is to expand the world of Lumadessa both creatively and thematically by incorporating other interests of mine, such as culture, cartography, architecture, travel and poster design.
5. What is your favourite animal!
That, my friend is the most unanswerable question of all (laugher). The more I learn about them, the bigger that favourites list grows. It’s usually the animal design I’m currently working on. Lately, my favourites are different types monkeys and apes.
1% of profits from Josh Brill’s work are donated to Animal and Environmental charities. To see more and to purchase copies click here.