An Interview with a Ballpoint Pen Master: Crimson City Art
With over 100,000 followers on Facebook, Josh Carrington, aka Crimson City’s work is undeniable.
His art style is vibrant and saturated and full of detail begging you to look closer to examine the otherworldly beings often portrayed in his work. His work reminds us a little of H.R Giger who’s work can be seen in the Alien movie franchise – albeit Crimson City’s work is a tad more colorful!
A unique element of Crimson City’s work is that his illustrations are all done in ballpoint pen giving his pieces a very distinct look. We just love his drive and his style and we’re honored to have the opportunity to showcase his work here at Design Instruct.
Crimson City got in touch with us a couple of weeks ago so we decided to ask him a few questions about his work and about being an artist in today’s creative industry. Check out our interview below.
On deciding to pursue a career as an illustrator:
I’ve always loved to draw since I was young. Since then, I’ve wanted to try and pursue it as a career – I wasn’t sure if it would be a viable choice, but I knew I wanted to do something creative. Eventually I did a graphic design course, and for our final project we were able to spend several months focusing on a project of our own design – this was when I chose to focus on illustration and began developing the style of my artworks.
On the figures depicted in his drawings:
A lot of people call them ‘robots’, and they definitely started out with more robotic qualities in my earlier works. I don’t really like to think of them as anything specific – they are not meant to represent any real thing, but they are there as another form of expression. Some of them are more abstract, some are more alien, some are more organic – it depends on what the specific artwork needs.
On his process:
Usually I will begin by writing something, this helps me to get ideas going. Once I know the concept and have a feel for what I want to portray, I will think about what elements need to be in the drawing to express that concept, and what kind of composition will enhance it. Then I will start by planning things out in pencil, before adding further details with pen and then finally adding the colors. I used to go straight in with the pen without doing preliminary sketches, but that turned out pretty risky so I don’t do that too much now!
On how he finds inspiration:
I know it’s very cliche, but I find the process cathartic in a lot of ways, so a lot of my drawings are simply ways of expressing or conveying things I’d find difficult to convey in other ways. A lot of them tend to have a futuristic kind of look simply because I like that style and I think it works well with the bold outlines and bright colors.
On being an artist in New Zealand:
I take it for granted, but New Zealand is definitely a very beautiful place. I really like the city where I live because it has a balance of beauty and nature, as well as some urban environments – we also get the whole spectrum of weather events, sometimes all in one day! I’ve never thought about whether living here really influences my work, but I’m sure in some way it does.
The type of work that excites him the most:
Whenever I’ve had the chance to work with a large company or store, that is always the most exciting work for me because it is a huge confidence boost that they even consider working with me in the first place, and that definitely gives me the encouragement to continue with this career.
About his most interesting and exciting experiences with clients or commissions.
It’s been really exciting to work with some different companies outside of New Zealand, and I’d say a definite highlight recently was my exhibition in London, held at Dreamspace Gallery. I wasn’t personally able to go, but a film crew was able to attend and so I got to see some footage and see interviews with some of the staff which was really cool!
Something he’s learned being an illustrator:
I’d say [being an illustrator] has definitely taught me a lot in terms of running a one man business – learning to balance things like self-promotion, commissions, ‘client hunting’, engaging with followers as well as finding the time to create new works on top of that – it’s been a learning curve.
Show Crimson City some love in the comments below.