Preview :: Flying Solo – Julian Henderson
April 22nd 2013
Forests, patterns, animals, and OCD. Julian Henderson is a Sydney-based illustrator and graphic designer with a knack for the natural and a dedication to the details. With his first exhibition Flying Solo coming up, we got a sneaky little preview…
HD: FBi’s boardroom features a mural that is often the subject of inquiry, can you walk us through it?
JH: The boardroom mural was a collaborative piece between myself and another Sydney based artist, Beth Dillon. The idea behind the mural was to use your stereotypical FBi listeners (city kids, students, musicians and hipsters) and throw them into very unfamiliar territory, in this case, the Outback setting. This juxtaposition was intended to provoke questions from the viewer and get them to use their imagination as to why or how these kids ended up looking stranded in hostile territory. There’s also a few Wolf Creek / The Deliverance references thrown in for good measure.
So, being a graphic designer and an illustrator, do you ever finish a piece and question which of your halves it fell in? How blurry is that line?
Definitely, but that’s the state of the current visual, graphic and industrial design industry. As it becomes harder and harder to make a living as an artist, you’re seeing a lot of extremely talented young creatives turning to the design industry as a way to still practice art and make money from it. In my own practice as a designer, I try not to rely too heavily on Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, I like to create element by hand and believe there’s a certain authenticity to that. But that just comes down to personal preference and at the end of the day, it also comes down to what your client wants.
Your style seems to cover some shifting territory, is there any common theme you’ve found yourself injecting into most of your work?
A lot of my work involves the use of complex patterns (bordering on obsessive compulsive at times) and also references to the wild, animals and nature. This stems back to my childhood and growing up in Switzerland & England. Some of my fondest childhood memories involve trekking through the local forests and hoping to encounter wild animals, the sort of stuff that gets a young kid’s imagination running wild! In my current work, it’s not unusual to see bears, deers, pine trees or even people and animals made entirely out of leaves (combining my affinity for patterns and nature). There’s also a dark sense of humor in a lot of my work, but we won’t get into that too much.
What can we expect from your first exhibition? And, just as important, what are you expecting from it?
I guess with this exhibition there was no overarching theme that links all of the pieces. The show is more of a collection of different ideas and themes, ranging from pop culture to nature and the surreal and bizarre. Within the show there are 3 sets of works that have common elements and there are also a number of stand alone pieces. I don’t have any great expectations, I just hope that the work is well received by the audience.
It’s also a pretty important milestone for me as an emerging artist, it’s an ideal way to showcase my skill-set and a very good excuse to work on my own portfolio. Especially as I’m relocating to London in just over 6 weeks time.
You and your skills are eloping to Europe pretty soon, do you have any concrete plans while you’re there or is there some spontaneity involved?
Initially setting up camp in East London, finding some new freelance clients and potentially a studio to work for. But after that there will definitely be some spontaneous adventures through Europe. That’s probably what I’m looking forward to the most, the ability to casually hop on a plane and fly to any number of different countries and just immerse myself in their culture for a couple of weeks at a time.