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#GettingToKnow RCA masters graduate Paul Wearing

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Paul Wearing is an RCA graduate based in London. A born traveller, he has worked extensively throughout the US and Far East with fashion, interior design and advertising houses. The influence of his design background is evident in much of his illustration and has led to high profile campaign work as well as huge-scale architectural installations.

Starting as a textile designer, he discovered his love of graphic art through classic album covers and went on to work for companies such as Liberty and Conran Design creating wallpapers for their ranges. Today, he works for clients around the world from his home in London and we can’t wait to hear what h e has to say as were’e getting to know him.

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How did you get into the industry?

I loved drawing, painting and making things as a child. What started then turned into a lifelong career of image-making and design. The skills that developed from child’s play have taken me from art school to a Masters at London’s Royal College of Art to working on commissions from across the world. 

Where are you based now and who do you work for?

My clients have spanned a broad and varied range of organisations and companies, from Island records to the luxury fashion retailer Neiman Marcus to The United Nations Human Rights Commissioner. 

My work has been central to global campaigns for United Airlines and the CFA Institute. It’s also appeared on large scale installations for a number of clients including General Mills. The University of California and Ogilvy Chicago.

If you weren’t in your current industry, what would you be doing?

An interior designer and if I had the talent a session musician.

Can you explain your creative process? What makes it unique?

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My favourite way of working is what I’d call organic. Starting with an approximate idea of where I want to arrive but working in a way that allows an idea to develop and the unexpected to happen. Playing with colour, layering textures, shapes and line until the image begins to emerge. 

How would you describe your style?

Colour and pattern play a key role in my work and trace back to my studies in fashion and textiles. The graphic shapes I use have stylistic origins in the screen printing techniques I used as a textile designer. 

Which individuals do you gain inspiration from? Do you have any heroes in the industry?

Too many to mention but I prefer to look outside the industry for my inspiration. I often go to galleries and exhibitions and dip into art and design history books all the time.

What tips would you give to aspiring creatives looking for work?

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Try to identify where you want to be, who you want to work for and how you can offer a new take on things in that sector. Don’t be the same as everyone else, people are looking for something new and something with a personality but be aware of what exists the market and where yours would fit. 

When you do start to get work try to avoid contracts where you relinquish all rights in your work. It’s increasingly common to be offered contracts where the client owns all thevrights but it’s important for you to retain as much control as possible. A good agent is also invaluable so it’s worth researching who’s out there and again thinking of what you can offer them

What tips would you give to other professionals to get more clients?

All the usual stiff, keeping websites up to date, sending out mailers, using social media to get new stories and work out there. Holding exhibitions where you can invite and meet potential clients. However, what is equally or more important is to try and build long term relationship with clients and art directors. 

You want art directors and art buyers to love work with you so they suggest your work for new projects. I always try to deliver a great job and always want to try and exceed expectations were possible. When you do a job that wows people they remember and want to come back.

What kind of tools/kit/software could you not do without?

My old school Moka Espresso maker!

What’s your secret to staying inspired and motivated?

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Loving what you do is the key. It’s not always easy but it’s what will keep you interested, and will keep you wanting to see a do more things. 

What’s the work achievement you’re most proud of?

That I’ve been doing this all my life and some of the work I’m producing now is the best I’ve ever done and I’m still enjoying it. I’m also very proud some of my some of the large scale installations.

What is the one thing that you would change about the industry?

Less design by committee, it always dulls innovation and individuality. The end of the increasingly prevalent  catch all contracts were the client insists on owning all rights in your work.

Any websites, books or resources you would recommend?

Again there are so many. Obviously there’s Instagram where you can follow those that inspire but I like to see things in reality and nothing beats being close to an amazing artwork or sculpture and sensing the physicality of it and the makers hand.

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