Modern Practice - The Project Twins

Modern Practice

13th October 2015
by Michael Fitzerald

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What's your background? How did you get to where you are?
We both studied visual communications in Cork. We spent a couple of years working in various design studios and ad agencies and set up working together in 2010. As the studio developed we moved more and more into illustration and our own artwork while always keeping the process and aesthetic very much rooted in the visual language of graphic design.

How would you define your role / practice right now?
Right now we divide our time between commercial projects and our own art. We would probably describe ourselves as graphic artists as it sums up the broad range of what we do from the commercial illustration and design to the printmaking, painting and installation aspect of our practice.

Do you think that definition will change?
Possibly as the studio develops. Lately in our art anyway, we have started to explore how our ideas work off the page seeing how it translate over to 3 dimensional and installation work.  Our illustration projects will remain pretty much the same, except for maybe the scope of the projects or clients involved.

What do you set out to do with your work?
To create meaningful concept driven work which hopefully engages with the viewer. We always want our work to be relevant, wether thats in relation to brief as illustrators or in a fine art context.

What's your motivation?
Simply to create good work and be sustainable and make a living doing what we enjoy.

What values do you try and instill in your work?
We try to always works on projects that interest us or might be a suitable fit rather than purely financial gain. Our main focus would be to create good work. Being a small studio allows to be a bit more selective with our projects.

What is the main focus of your practice?
Illustration and printmaking.

What are the areas you work in?
A large part of our practice would be editorial illustration. We also work with some ad agencies on larger commercial campaigns. Apart from this we exhibit our work quite regularly, this could be anything from print based work to installations or wall graphics.

What is the scale of your projects?
This can range quite a lot. As there are just 2 of us working on editorial illustration the scale would be quite small. Mostly just one off pieces for an article or magazine cover. If we get hired by an ad agency then the scale can grow much larger and can involve a whole bunch of graphics for press ads, billboard and tv. We have also recently started working on some larger art projects such as murals and sculptural work.

How many projects do you undertake a year?
We would probably do about 2 editorial illustrations a week. Apart from that we might work on a dozen or so other illustration and design projects throughout the year. We would also try and get involved in various art exhibitions and events, exhibiting our work regularly throughout the year.

How long are your timelines?
This can range quite a bit. Editorial illustrations can have very tight deadline, sometimes just a couple of days. Other project might be a couple of weeks or a few months depending on the project. Some larger projects and clients might involve ongoing work throughout the year.

Can you give an indication of the budgets you work with?
We have worked with budgets from anything from a few hundred up to 40-50K depending on the project.

Can you give us a sense of what your working week would be like?
Depends on the projects we are working on. Most days we are in the studio working on editorial illustration. other weeks we could be making work for a show so we might be in Cork Printmakers working on some screen prints, or painting in the studio.
As we are based in Cork we tend to travel up to Dublin quite a bit for meetings, projects or exhibitions.

What type of outputs/outcomes do you deliver?
For our commercial work we deliver clear visual messages. For our art we muddle that message a little.

Do the people you work with understand what you do / understand the value?
Yes. With editorial work they are generally coming to you because they like the way you solve problems, if even on a basic level by liking the style in which we work. With advertising work it’s generally the same, its usually a collaboration between us and the art director involved.

What do you consider a successful project to be?
If we can have a strong concept, delivered in a way that both us and the client are happy with. If everyone is interested in producing the best work possible.

What do you feel is the impact of what you do?
It depends on the project. With editorial illustration it can obviously have an impact on the overall look and feel of a publication and hopefully can communicate to the reader and draw them into an article. With our personal work its a little harder to gauge. We would hope that it would have an impact on some level with the viewer.

What's the most important thing to get right in order to do your job properly?
A clear brief always helps. Trust would be a huge aspect. Especially with larger projects where a lot of various people are involved. With too many projects, people are afraid to say no to the client or they can often tend to make pointless changes which damages the end result.

Are you working the way you want to? What would you change?
Pretty much, yes. We like the freedom of illustration. It allows us to work from our own studio in a small city with some big clients all around the world. We can also freely work on our own art as we aren’t tied too much into full-time studio hours.

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