APPAREL ART & DESIGN ILLUSTRATION

JOHN SPEED – REBEL YUTH

Tell us a bit about yourself John? How did you come up with the name Rebel Yuth? Where you’ve been? Where’d you see yourself going?

I am 26, an illustrator and spoken word poet and with my limited skill set try be as creative as possible. More importantly then anything else, I would like to see myself going into a time eventually where I have be part of many projects as possible, from something wild like architecture to a collab on a pair of trainers a time where I can eventually explore all artistic realms. I have had a few milestones so far, from collab exhibitions in London with brands to being featured in Complex mag and Highsnobiety. I hope I just keep pushing my abilities and experience new things along the way!

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Please describe the process you go through when working on an illustration commission from start to finish?

I listen to ambient music and a lot of Morrissey, make notes and doodles in sketch books, and then draw a few different concepts with just simple black pen on paper. Scan in and play around with different colours and digital compositions and fonts.  I constantly find inspiration in different things, from Russian criminal tattoos, to old 80s film fonts or Americana propaganda, I try take photos of everything that inspires me and tuck it away until it becomes relevant for a job.

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Tell us about your work with Wisteria, how did that start and how did you guys work on the visuals?

I have worked with them on quite a bit now, I can’t remember who approached who but the head honcho is such a nice guy, he’s really easy to get on with. They come from a similar place in terms of what they like aswell, I remember once doing a gg alin illustration and just being so into it, it’s rare you get a reference like that from the extreme end of hardcore punk! They also really trust me with visuals and I get a lot of creative freedom, taking dark imagery with a tongue and cheek reference is always fun too and I get a lot of that from them.

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Technical or manual? Which is your dominant process?

I kind of only rely on the computer and technology as a way of getting over how much I hated using colour on my work. I would be pretty happy to just work with a black pen on paper but sometimes it needs something extra. That’s when my tablet and scanner come to hand.

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Is there any work out there that you don’t like or just don’t ‘get’?

I think certain styles have become really saturated and sometimes certain references get overplayed but on the hold I try not to view any art negatively. It’s all subjective and as a human I am always growing and evolving, something I culturally didn’t understand 5 years ago I might like now because I have changed views or read a book on something that’s relevant. I have that constant chance within taste with Modern art in general, sometimes on first glance I think it’s a joke then read back how the artist got to that final execution and really like it.  

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Can you give any advice for students who want to do what you do?

It sounds really really cliché, but never ever give up. I don’t have rich parents or any contacts and I had to do really shit jobs alongside when building up my name and fan base but it gets easier, hard work pays off and people eventually notice it. Also pester people, go to events, make interesting business cards and email and make people take note.

Can we take a gander at your workspace?

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