Spotlight on Artist Scott W. Mason
Spotlight on Artist Scott W. Mason
A recent graduate of Falmouth University, Scott W. Mason is already an accomplished illustrator and photographer. His illustration style produces concise visions of movement, combined with a precise use of color that gives just enough to understand what you’re looking at without being superfluous. A glance through his Instagram or Tumblr will reveal fantastic sketches of fashion weeks, beautiful originals, and comedic sketches often portraying some instance of, “B!tch stole my look!”
With a long list of clients, and editorial work like his ‘Grey Area’ set of mixed media for menswear magazine The Rakish Gent, Mason’s popularity and success only seem to be growing. We had the opportunity to ask Mason a few questions regarding fashion illustration for an article last month, and he has graciously answered more regarding his work, his inspiration, and where he sees the artform going from here.
Your editorial work for The Rakish Gent was beautiful, do you have plans to pursue more in that style? Or editorial work in general?
Thank you! I have a degree in fashion photography so it should have been my focus really… I love planning shoots and testing editorial ideas however as I don’t do it very often it’s still very much a novelty. If I get approached for an editorial or if a concept comes to me then that’s only when I tend to do it but I’m too lazy to do photo shoots regularly and picking up a pencil is so much less hassle ha.
Fashion illustration seems to have grown in popularity recently – as an artist in the industry, what would you attribute this to?
I think it’s a mix between the explosion of social media, which has meant a lot of artists work is more easily accessible giving [anyone] who can pick up a pencil and take a photo of their sketch a potential audience mixed with perhaps an over saturation of photography. When an illustration pops up on your newsfeed it’s something that breaks up scrolling through continuous photographs, it’s a bit different plus everyone has a soft spot for drawing as we all used to do it and it’s still an art form that fascinates people.
What is it that first drew you into fashion illustration?
I’ve always drawn however, embarrassingly, it was after I discovered America’s Next Top Model that I started putting a more fashion focus to my drawings, the photoshoots they did were great and the only way I could recreate something like that was through pen and paper as a 12 year old doesn’t really have much of a budget for shoots.
Much of your work that the public gets to see is your illustration, with the exception of your “Grey Area” editorial. Can we look forward to more photography from you in the future?
Of course, I don’t photograph very often but occasionally I get itchy feet and need to get back into the studio and remember how to turn a camera on. It’s interesting for me to have my illustration style develop over time then revisit my photographic work and see how it’s changed from the last shoot.
What insight has your vantage point offered into the fashion industry?
Funnily enough, how small it is. I always imagined the fashion industry to be this behemoth of millions of people yet if you pay attention there is only a small amount who are attending shows continuously or working consecutively whilst most of the others seem to chop and change; there always seems to only be 1 or 2 degrees of separation between most people, maybe it’s because I’m based in London so it’s a bit more condensed here but it is crazy the amount of people who know each other.
In what direction do you see fashion illustration moving, both in general and for yourself?
At the moment it’s popping up in numerous places, editorials, ad campaigns, shop displays, I think the novelty of it is still very much fresh; I see it growing further and further in popularity and audience, it will never replace fashion photography but as far as a creative outlet is concerned I think there’s still a huge growth for it, with each day more and more people attempting fashion illustration it will inevitably get to a point of saturation and possibly nosedive in popularity however until that point why not enjoy it!
What challenges have you encountered working with and for designers or brands, and what do you find to be the greatest benefits of your work?
The main challenges tend to be trying to merge your vision with the clients, you both have an idea of the finished product however you don’t want to sacrifice aspects of your style and they need it to be in brand so finding that middle ground is sometimes a challenge. Hmmm, the greatest benefits of my work, maybe just a different view on things? It’s nice to break up photographic content with an illustrators take on fashion. A photograph is a way of capturing the garment as is, yet when an illustrator draws it it’s an impression of it, it’s something a little different.
Beyond a brand that may commission work, what audience do you have in mind for your illustrations?
Anyone and everyone I hope, it’s great when younger people comment saying they like my work and that it’s inspired them to draw so they send me some work for feedback. Anyone that wants to look really, I’d be sitting there drawing regardless so anyone that chooses to view and like it is a bonus.
If you could work with a particular designer, artist, celebrity, or other, who would that be?
Kenzo would be an amazing brand to work with, but I would also love the opportunity to collaborate with a shoe brand, say Jimmy Choo… aim high and all that. Any opportunity I can get to experiment and get my work out there I’m all for!
Following in the thought process of Oscar Wilde’s quote, “Life imitates art far more than art imitates life,” do you think fashion illustration influences design?
I do in a way, obviously fashion illustration at its core is a designer sketching out ideas so say depending where certain lines land is going to influence where the hem falls on a garment etc. In a more contemporary sense it’s great seeing artists like Drawbertson work with brands to create prints for clothes, I think in that way it’s a really fresh and great design that I can only imagine will continue to grow in use.
Who or what do you find to be the most influential on your work?
Music is a huge influence, depending on the track I’m listening to it can completely change the way I’m illustrating and the feel of the image. Other artists are always a continuous influence on me, when I first started I was in love with the works of Katie Rogers (PaperFashion), Achraf Amiri, David Downton and then I discovered Tony Viramontes, the love of their work rubs off on my work unintentionally so it’s a continuous and developing thing.
You mention music as an influence to your work. Who are some of your favorite artists to listen to while working?
Oh here’s where I list all the ‘acceptable’ ones I listen to and completely forget the embarrassing ones; but I do love some Erykah Badu, Jill Scott and Amy Winehouse then there’s Laura Mvula, Corinne Bailey Rae and Ledisi and of course the guilty pleasures… Mariah Carey, Anastacia but the only thing on repeat this week is Lemonade.
You have expressed a desire to expand your name and your work into a range of different medias and platforms. What would be your ideal job or project if you were told to start working tomorrow? What about in a year?
Definitely! I love illustrating… clearly; but what excites me is the idea of transferring these illustrations into other areas such as clothing, furnishings and other areas, it’s nice to have illustrations on display in a frame or something but it’s so much more exciting to interact with them and have them in use rather than out of touch just on display. There’s so many ideal projects I’d love, developing prints for clothing, greetings cards, books, comics, animation… if any of these would like to pop up tomorrow or within a year I’d be happy.
You have expressed a desire to have your own label in the future – who would you design for, ideally? Is there a particular character or individual you keep in mind when designing original work?
That would be a real dream; there isn’t particularly anyone I have in mind to be honest, I probably should! It would be almost along the lines of Kenzo / & Other Stories. Print would play a big factor in it as well as developing the single black line I use a lot in my work into fashion… I’ll crack on designing and see if anyone’s interested ha.
Are there any special projects on the way we should keep an eye out for?
Hopefully! There’s a few in the pipeline I need to crack on with, but the most urgent on is my book ‘B!tch Stole My Look’ so keep your eyes peeled for that whenever I get round to finishing it! But also look out for a fashion comic, clothes, furnishings… basically anywhere I can place my illustrations I will try.
For more of Scott W. Mason’s work or to contact the artist: http://www.scottwmason.com/ or @scottwmason on instagram
Spotlight on Artist Scott W. Mason