Words by Sinéad Nunes, Features Editor
Our Artist of the Week is recent LJMU graduate Joe Rampley, whose work has already been featured as part of the annual LIV-BCN Festival. Taking place in locations across Barcelona as well as Liverpool hot spot the Kazimier, the Liverpool-leg of the exhibition took place at LJMU’s Exhibition Research Centre. We caught up with the upcoming artist to see how it feels to be out in the real world following his university experience.
How did it feel as a recent graduate to be chosen to be part of a major exhibition?
Being chosen to be part of LIV-BCN was a really exciting opportunity for me; I was still preparing my work for the Degree Show exhibition when I found out I would be a part of LIV-BCN too, so it all came around quite quickly. Being able to exhibit my work in Barcelona, such a cultural hub for art, felt like a great achievement straight after university.
It certainly is – not many 2015 graduates have such an opportunity. What did you find most enjoyable and most challenging about the experience?
I really enjoyed capturing spots in Liverpool with my camera. I’d spend hours trying to find the perfect crop of a piece of architecture which I thought would best suit my illustration style. The challenging parts came when creating an illustration. At times I would spend hours on something which would not turn out as well as I’d expect. It was all about trail and error, finding the right composition, and having the perseverance to translate it using the right colours.
You clearly have a huge interest in architecture and form in your work – can you tell us more?
I come from a small town, Poulton-Le-Fylde, where architecture is suburban and quite mundane. When I moved to Liverpool, I was surprised by the variety of modernist and brutalist architecture which rises above everything else. I was captivated with what surrounded me at the time. I love finding small elements of a building, where its shadow is thrown across another building in a unique way, or a window may have an interesting relationship with another, in terms of composition. The building, One Park West, is my favourite structure in Liverpool – it translates so well using my illustration technique.
In your work, you like to strip objects and motifs back to basics – what draws you to creating your art in this way?
I’ve always loved minimalist art, and I feel my work bares resemblance to a modern day version of this movement. I like creating things which are clean and sleek, yet harbour a variety of colours which interact well with one another. Ever since my time spent at Blackpool & the Fylde College, gaining my Art & Design Diploma (specialising in Fine Art), I have been captivated with illustrating architecture in its simplest form. Reducing shapes and colours to the bare essentials, the key elements which are integral to the structure. I find this technique really intrigues me and over the past three years at University, studying Illustration at LJMU, I have developed this technique digitally, using Photoshop.
LIV-BCN was a massive coup in terms of your career, so what’s next for you – do you have any projects lined up?
I’m looking to start my career as a Freelance Graphic Artist/ Illustrator. I want to begin a project focusing on Manchester’s Architecture. I aim to develop my practice with this new project, yet maintain the key aspects which have made my Minimalist Liverpool illustrations stand out. I’m also ready to work with paint and canvas once again, three years after studying Fine Art, to see how my developed technique may translate onto that medium.
You’ll have to keep us updated on how that goes. Finally, what are you most looking forward to on the Liverpool art scene this summer?
It may be a little later in the year, but I can’t wait for Works to Know by Heart: Matisse in Focus in November at Tate Liverpool. His cut-outs are effortlessly beautiful and it will be a great addition to Liverpool for it’s tenure.