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A Magazine for Sheffield

Geo Law: An Artist Of The Times

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It's likely you'll have noticed Geo Law's large-scale illustrations dotted around the city, as well as regularly popping up to brighten your day on social media. But despite his presence on his home turf, he's also had commissions for interior walls in capital cities across the world, including New York, Lisbon and London.

Geo's work is bold and vibrant, often featuring your favourite musicians, actors and sports stars, as well as many characters of his own creation. But don't take it from me - check it out for yourself throughout this issue. We spoke to Geo about his craft.

You're still living and working in Sheffield. What encourages you to stay here?

It's a great environment because of the abundance of affordable work spaces and I still have many friends in the creative industry that I bounce ideas around with. I love staying in cities like London and New York, but Sheffield can be a nice respite because the pace of life is how you choose it to be.

I'm also currently teaching at Sheffield Hallam University so that's keeping me here for a while longer, before I feel like venturing out again.

I tend to use my art to escape from overthinking

You're an artist of the times, experimenting with gifs, stickers and other new forms. Is the 21st century an exciting period to work in as a creative?

It really is an exciting time for us. Gifs and animations have always been an interest of mine, so it's a natural progression born out of that nagging feeling of, 'Am I stagnating?' Art is interesting to me if you can share it in many ways and giving out stickers is my way of saying thanks to people who have supported me. Gifs give me something I can put online for free usage, as I've an ambition to have my work shared globally, even if people don't credit me for it. I want people to see it.

Your style strikes me as playful and inviting. Do you consciously inject this into your art?

My work is an extension of my interests and moods. Like anyone, I have bad days and I have created works that can reflect this, but in a colourful way. I try and inject a sense of fun without it being too clichéd, but sometimes I don't really think about it. As someone who generally thinks too much about things, I tend to use my art to escape from overthinking - just homing in on little observations, even visual messages to myself.

At times there's also an element of satire which borders on something more sinister. Is juxtaposition of style and subject a technique you enjoy playing with?

Recently, yes, I've been developing a way of reflecting things I observe and satire is a good entry because of its perceived ambiguity. Ambiguity surrounds us and I play on the idea of apathy due to technology because it's just interesting. I never felt I could tackle these observations visually until now, as I've been working with editorial clients like the New York Times and the Washington Post. Maybe it's part of growing up that I want to question things. I guess I wasn't destined to draw cute characters living in clouds forever - although they still get a run-out occasionally.

What's next for you?

I'm hosting a monthly drinking and drawing event called Doodle Club, reconnecting with local people who'd like to draw and chat. I'll also be compiling drawings from these evenings, so I can piece together a zine. I'm also working on video games with students at Sheffield Hallam University, students I've taught in the past. One is a VR experience called Slice 'n' Dice, a first-person manic kitchen simulator, and another for smartphones called Knives Meow, where you're a ninja kitten running along slashing at ninja rats.

Personal projects include getting around to starting one of my many graphic novel ideas, but in the meantime I'll keep releasing stickers around the city and develop my work around satire and popular culture.

Liam Casey

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