LUKE FENECH — Interview

I’m pleased to present you the london based illustrator and graphic designer Luke Fenech, who accepted to answer our interview. His work shows an interest in architecture and publishing. I invite you to read and discover his projects…


Hello Luke, how are you?

Fine. Great to hear from you.

Tell us about yourself, Who are you?

A freelance creative designer from London. I work a lot in the cultural sectors on projects ranging from books and print to branding and illustration.

Can you tell us more about your background in graphic design and illustration?

Studying at Nottingham Trent University in 2010, I focused a lot on illustration, mostly being inspired by literature, so quite early-on drawing a link between graphic design and illustration. I moved to London shortly afterwards to work in branding / creative agencies. Recently I have been working closely with the art and architecture sectors and I can see my interests and work running close together, which is great. I have just gone entirely freelance, to help concentrate all my efforts on my design work, develop editorial projects and possibly establish a personal practice.

Where do you find inspiration? Are there any particular processes that you follow?

I try not to look at too many specific graphic design blogs, rather gathering little beginnings of ideas from a wider range of disciplines. I like to be as busy as possible, do as much as I can and experience as much as possible. Tabula Rasa, the magazine that I self-publish and design, is based on the designer as a pioneer, relying on empirical knowledge-gathering and exploring the city with your senses. I think this theory seems to sit well with the interactive, hands-on aspect of magazines and print. I think a lot, maybe too much sometimes. I also love a good to-do list.

What’s your interest about editorial design (books and magazines projects)?

I was always interested in the power of illustration but felt like I needed more, so I started compiling these illustrations into books, working with paper, binding them myself and playing with print more. I always promote the importance of quality and craft in my work and I think this shows in the editorial projects. I like to see the books as a research led exploration of the subject, like field notes or something.

How do you process in your works and how do you define your style?

I feel a bit weird describing my own style. It seems more of a process / research based thing than a stylistic exercise. I guess it has a playful / contemporary aesthetic, I don’t like to take my work or ‘style’ too seriously.  A big proportion of my work is really research-led, so I like to throw myself into a subject as much as possible, finding different avenues, pinning down a strong visual language. I don’t seem to have piles of sketchbooks, and try not to be too precious about ideas and just go with what feels right.

I often think of work as like problem solving, making great work and having fun to resolve a problem. In my illustration work I tend to work with hand-drawn elements as much as computerised methods, and some recurring themes run through all my illustrations. I think a lot about the line between reality and imagination. I quite like the idea of the isometric scale, like finding almost mathematical, logical / symmetrical connections in drawing. Obviously it all depends on the client / brief at hand.

I really appreciated your Le Corbusier illustration series. Can you tell more about? Is this a man who inspires you?

Yeah. As flawed as that modernist utopian dream is, I think I’ll always agree with honesty in materials, the golden ratios and beauty in clarity. I think I see myself as a bit of a failed wannabe architect. Architecture seems to be a recurring theme in my working practice and I’d like to develop this relationship.

Is there any designer / artist / illustrator /…from the past you appreciate a lot?

Obligatory Hockney. Violette Editions. Recently stumbled upon Nathalie Du Pasquier. Tal R. I like shades of grey, compositions and order. Mario Lombardo, Aalvar Aalto.

What books (or magazines..) are on your bedside table?

Monocle, always. Apartamento, The White Review,  At the minute I’m researching a book I’m designing, ‘Darkitecture’ a sort of anti-architecture theory book, celebrating the teachings and ideas of late architect Gerrard O’Carroll, so a lot of reading around that subject.

Some projects to come?

Next month I’m starting working with The Architecture Foundation on their printed matter, they’re a really inspiring non-profit organisation promoting life-enriching architecture. Also a great full branding project for a company that makes beautiful handmade bags.




Interview : Dennis Moya, August 2012
All the pictures and illustrations are © Luke Fenech.