Billy Mather is an illustrator living and working in Brighton, his work is instantly recognisable, and we love his unique style. We caught up with Billy after the BIF fair and asked him a few questions about his illustrations, and wanted to show off the viral ability of his Brighton characters!
Hey Billy, tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
I’ve been living and working as an illustrator in Brighton for the last six years. My personal work often focuses on nostalgia and popular culture. I’m a big fan boy. When I get into things, I really get into them and my head is constantly awash with facts and trivia about my favourite games, films and tv shows. Some of the pieces I do are based on relatively new things, but they still somehow come across as nostalgic. I think creating art work based on fictional things is a way of making them real, it’s like I’m creating real artefacts from a made up world.
We adore your illustrations of Brighton’s much loved characters, who else have you hoped to draw?
There are so many interesting characters around Brighton, it can be difficult to do a tribute illustration without looking like you are making fun though, I think I tackled Disco Pete and the dancing lady from the viral video sensitively though, I get a lot of lovely feedback on those, they seem to bring a lot of joy to people. I like to set myself short deadlines, which is how those two portraits ended up happening, there were stories / videos circulating about them and it seemed like a good time to do a piece on them. I think the next project will happen in a similar spontaneous way.
If anyone has kept their eyes open around Brighton they would have seen your murals, for you personally, which was your biggest challenge and why?
Every mural job presents it’s own difficulties. If they are up high and you need to use a ladder it can get pretty uncomfortable. It’s easy to get lost in your work and forget to take breaks and before you know it your arms and feet are aching. One thing I find when I’m doing murals is I get caught up in conversations with people passing by. Illustration can be quite solitary, so when I am doing murals I relish in the opportunity to talk to people, it’s a great way of getting feedback about my work and just generally getting to know a bit about the community that the piece will become a part of.
Imagine your curating your dream show, which illustrators would feature alongside you?
What advice would you give to Illustration students graduating in 2016?
Keep rolling the dice. The more work you do the more likely you are to reach an audience and to figure out what it is you want to say.
Can we peak your workspace?
Just kidding, here is the underwhelming reality.