Saturday, July 11, 2009


C86 is great. He creates these complex and trippy pics that take you on a journey of lines. His work is intricate and detailed but somehow very easy on the eye. It pulls you in and gives your eyes a nice massage maybe even with a popshot finish. Here he answers some questions about his work. Say hi to C86 at

GVSE: Okay, can you tell me about yourself and your work?

C86:Hello! I’m Matt Lyon and C86 showcases my work as a graphic artist. Current designs explore line, colour, pattern and shape, often using reoccurring motifs and/or themes. I'm also keen on creating hand-set typography and anything wild and colourful.

GVSE: How did you get started?

C86: As far back as I can remember I’ve always been drawing. I think my earliest motives as a child were to use drawing as a means to make friends or impress people. I soon learnt that for some strange reason you don’t get bullied if you can draw stuff, so that was a bonus. This continued at school, even managing to strike a deal where I’d hang out in the art room instead of doing PE if I supplied the sports department with posters. Result! Anyway, I went through art school, burned out, fell into a creative void, gave it up and stumbled around for a while. Thankfully that’s now all in the past and here I am

GVSE: Where did your strange lettering stuff come from?

C86: I dunno really. I love typography but always felt a little shy of using it ‘properly’ because designers and typographers can be so anal about certain rules of placement and spacing and whatnot. Don’t get me wrong, I find bad use of type really jarring, so as an alternative creating hand-set / illustrative type is a good means to avoid all that shit. My earlier type style evolved from bubble letterforms but with a more intestinal look. That was everyone else’s description; to me, I thought it just looked like chewing gum. More recently, I was doodling away and came up with my current type style of more patterned letterforms that fits more with the sort of work I’m doing at the moment. I’m sure this will all change again very soon

GVSE: Who are your influences?

C86: There’s so much, aside from artists and designers that inspires me. My work is at times influenced by ideas that emerge from books, music and/or films, and I’m a great believer in taking quiet time to following trains of thought… aka daydreaming. I’m excited by a lot of visual art, especially work exploring colour and other formal elements. Two of my favourite artists are Paul Klee and Jean Dubuffet, and I have long been a fan of Outsider Art and North European Folk Art. For me, a trip to the British Museum has long been a favourite time-killer, more so that you’re allowed to take photos of everything too.

GVSE: What is your favourite media to use?

C86: It has to be good ol’ pen and paper. Most of my work emerges from freedrawing, taking a line for a walk and all that. I don’t sketch things out first but rather enjoy just seeing what happens. Afterwards, these drawings end up on the computer and I use a combination of Photoshop and Illustrator to breathe some colour into them. I also enjoy creating vector designs from scratch, but these require a certain mindset as they take bloody ages. I did some watercolour painting the other day, which reminded me how much I missed it. It was nice to get away from staring into the monitor so will probably do some more of that again soon. And I’ve got a Gocco printer hanging around that might be worth a play around with too

GVSE: Is art your full time job or do you do another job too?

C86: I’ve worked fulltime as an artist for nearly a year now and it’s something I’m still trying to get used to. It’s great having the freedom to do what I want, when I want, but my self-discipline is pretty flimsy at the best of times, having always found it difficult getting up in the mornings. But this is okay as I tend to start work in the afternoon and continue late into the night. I always work best after dark for some reason, which is perhaps why I tend to do less during the summer months. Prior to taking the plunge in the world of freelance I taught A-level Graphic Design and Photography to sulky teenagers. I really enjoyed sharing my love of art to those that actually wanted to learn, and it was good seeing some of my students progress with their own talents. I kinda miss the social aspect of seeing and talking to so many people every day, whereas now I can go for days not saying a word to anyone other than myself

GVSE: Your work is real detailed how long does it normally take to finish a piece?

C86: It’s difficult to say really, though I’m a stickler for detail and getting everything right, especially in terms of colour. From start to finish, an average piece of work could take perhaps 6-8 hours. That’s for something that starts as a drawing, is then redrawn in Illustrator as line work, coloured and then edited in Photoshop. More complex pieces will span a couple of days’ work, whereas something that is worked on entirely in Photoshop will take a lot less time

GVSE: You have one bullet left, who do you choose: that cock from Coldplay or that shit from Kings of Leon?

C86: That’s easy because I’m a dab hand with a sniper rifle. I’d line the two up, back to back, and take them both out with one shot. Having them side-by-side wouldn’t work as a shot through the ears would pass through both their heads unscathed. I think that’s worthy punishment for crimes against music and writing songs that sound like magnolia wall paint. Fucking bland, like drinking lukewarm tea with too much milk in.

GVSE: What music you digging at the moment?

C86: I’m a huge fan of electronica and often listen to albums and tracks varying from ambient to quite challenging in sound, and I’m sure this has a direct influence on the creation of my work. I find that this broad genre of music from the likes of Autechre, Venetian Snares, dubstep, breakcore etc, often devoid of traditional songs or lyrics, experiments with patterns and sequencing in sound that feels equivalent to how I visually approach things. My favourite band of all time is The Smiths, so there’s always room for some of that on my playlist, and as a reformed punk / goth from the 80s (did I just admit that?), I still love Joy Division, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Pixies, My Bloody Valentine etc. Two albums I’ve just got are the new releases from Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr – both still on form after all these years, and for some reason I’ve been listening to Pornography by The Cure quite a lot recently. Cheery stuff

GVSE: I heard Gordon Brown is a massive fan of your work. Any plans to do work for the government?

C86: Gordon Brown needs his eye tested if he likes what I’m doing. Don’t talk to me about politics – they’re all corrupt and will swing from the lampposts come the revolution

GVSE: Any new projects you have coming up you want to mention?

C86: As part of the Black Rock Collective, we’ve got something on the go at the moment that’s gonna be good (can’t say any more about this I’m afraid). I’ve got a tee coming out at Urban Outfitters very soon, which I’m excited about, and I’m in talks to be involved with a toy project that should be fun. And if you think it’s gonna be another one of those fucking vinyl toys or be presented in a blind box, think again

GVSE: Finally sir, what is Good and what is Evil for you?

C86: I can’t be completely honest and say what’s good because I’d be arrested, so instead let’s just say friends, family and lovers. As for evil, that’ll be everyone else. Simple
He's also on flickr at


  1. I heard that he also makes a killer cup of tea

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I would try to avoid shooting chris martin. if he dies people might think he's talented and important. that's, like, my worst fear.


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