London-based illustrator Ryan Hodge believes that if politicians like Theresa May, Nigel Farage and Donald Trump didn’t exist in real life, they’d be extremely funny as fictional animated characters. He doesn’t disclose his political allegiance, but doesn’t need to because his art would be just as entertaining either way.
“My [political] work is often a personal response to recent political developments, particularly with Brexit,” he explains. “My overall view is that politics and politicians would be really funny if they didn’t exist in real life. The news is like an episode of The Thick of It.”
Hodge is originally from South Wales and rents a studio at Bow Arts in East London where he does portrait commissions and freelance work. But he doesn’t necessarily believe you need to be in a big city to work as an artist with all the technology available today.
The piece of kit he particularly treasures is his Wacom tablet, which has taken over from traditional media like watercolour and ink. "The creative process has become more refined," he adds. "I see each piece as like constructing a screen print, in layers separating detail and tone into defined sections." Getting a dog has also affected his work and spurred him to launch another side of his business called Woof Portraits.
If he could change one thing about the industry, Hodge concludes that it’d be people asking for free work. “Both small and larger companies (who should know better) keep asking artists and designers to offer their services in exchange for 'exposure' or 'experience'. It ultimately damages the whole industry. The AOI have a great campaign reminding illustrators that their job is #notahobby.”
See more of Hodge's work at Bow Road Open Studios, a free exhibition at Bow Arts on Friday 14 and Saturday 15 June.
Man's best friend: Ryan Hodge and his dog