Arran Gregory is a British illustrator and sculptor who transforms the animal form into 2D and 3D visual masterpieces. His career has already seen collaborations with Coca-Cola and Ralph Lauren, and last year his exhibition was featured in the music video for AlunaGeorge’s hit single, Your Drums, Your Love. Exetera catches up with Arran to discuss his art, influences, and what the future has in store.
Introduce yourself to our readers.
My name is Arran Gregory, and I am an artist. My work combines sculpture and illustration.
What is it about sculpture and illustration you find so appealing?
I think drawing is one of the very basic methods we have to express ourselves, much like dancing or singing. My work allows me to stay in touch with this method and allows me to express and develop ideas from 2D to 3D. I enjoy what I do. I like to create ideas.
You often focus on the animal form. Is this because you feel a particular affinity to the wild?
I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of the wild and the essence of nature. We are all part of nature and share common origins yet our lives are so far detached from this in our own modern world. I find that people often share a sense of inherent kinship with wild animals although we don’t often know much about it. My work is a reflection on this relationship between man and nature, more so out of my own curiosity than anything else.
How did studying at the Chelsea College of Art and Design influence you as an artist?
I studied Graphic Design there and the course really pushed us to explore design from a conceptual point of view. This definitely helped me keep an open mind and allowed me to discover sculpture. I’d say my sculpture has a very graphic nature to it.
Do you think London is the right city for an artist such as yourself?
I don’t live in London anymore, I’ve actually got a studio just outside in the sticks but I would definitely say London is the place to study as a creative. It worked for me, but then again I have nothing to compare it to. The culture of creative arts is constantly evolving and it’s good to stay in touch with what’s happening. Arming yourself with an awareness of what’s going on should help strengthen your awareness to do your own thing- there can be temptation to follow the herd otherwise. Saying that though, I don’t really know what’s going on these days as I work alone just doing my thing, (so I wouldn’t listen to me). But I don’t think an artist should be restricted by location – work in as many cities/places as possible, I’d say.
What’s been the most exciting moment for you so far?
This year has been the most exciting for me so far as I’ve actually decided to do less. I’m more aware of what I’m doing rather than how much I’m doing. I’ve decided to focus more on my sculpture and make my work more honest. Deciding this, has been exciting as it feels like I’m just beginning. That said, I’ve embarked on a huge personal project which is unfolding bit by bit. It’s been exciting to push myself and watch things coming together -I can’t tell you what these things are yet though.
As a freelance illustrator you get to collaborate with amazing people and companies. Tell us one of your highlights.
I’ve been really lucky to have some amazing clients. This year I’ve been working alongside Ralph Lauren Denim&Supply which has so far taken me out to New York. Travelling is always a highlight and I’d not been there before so that was an incredible opportunity.
So where’s the most interesting place your work has taken you?
I can tell you that Wales is the most interesting place that my work hasn’t taken me. I was once contacted about a television program who wanted to take me out camping there to find wild wolves, (apparently there are wild wolves in Wales), to create work based on my discoveries. It never happened in the end much to my disappointment! I should be doing that anyway really.
What’s next for you? Any upcoming exhibitions?
I am working on a couple of campaigns right now with some exciting clients whilst preparing for my next solo show which I’m aiming to have at the end of the year.