Extraverage

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT

ARTIST PORTRAIT
Karoly Kiralyfalvi has been involved in street-art since his teen years, “As a kid, I was always interested in visual arts, but the main influence came from my father, who was a painter, a poet and a sculptor. Pencils and markers were always my tools, until one day my father bought our first computer. Computer graphics have been my passion ever since”. As a teenager, Karoly became part of the local scene and under the name Extraverage, he made a name for himself. With his great skills, he mixes different styles and art languages in a powerful way. His work includes design for stickers, cans, clocks, magazines, books, posters, boards, tracksuits and t-shirts. Karoly is especially interested in design and images that stand on their own: bold, simple and strong!
Karoly is also the man behind projects like the World Wide Connections PDF Magazine and the Print4Street urban art gallery, and the founder of Drezign.hu, a community platform for Hungarian designers. Extraverage.net, his personal portfolio, features an extensive catalogue of his amazing graphics.

INTERVIEW

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WORKING AS A DESIGNER?
In high school I was already making illustrations for a course book. My first official job was in 2001, as a graphic designer and DTP editor of an urban lifestyle magazine. That was also the time I switched from analogue design to computers.

WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
The inspiration for my work comes from everyday life, like the city itself, friends, music (mainly from the 1997-2000 electronic scene from the UK), books, contemporary art, traveling, … I’m also very inspired by my father, who was a multi-disciplined artist.

WHAT’S YOUR ULTIMATE DREAM PROJECT AS AN ARTIST?
The greatest thing is to work for projects in the same scene I’m interested in. For example working for brands that support the underground music scene, urban artists, and things like these.
Another nice example is of course a global collaboration project with great designers around the world, like the current Remix Project for ‘Coke’. It’s always really interesting to see the end results.

HOW DID THE ‘COCA-COLA’ HISTORY AND THEMES INFLUENCE YOUR REMIX WORK?
I tried consciously to use the warm ‘Coca-Cola’ colours, and to focus on positive feelings and shapes in the graphics. The aim was to create something happy and fresh, in line with the iconic ‘Coca-Cola’ images.

WHAT INTERESTS YOU MOST IN ‘THE COKE SIDE OF LIFE’ REMIX PROJECT?
Actually the basic idea of the Remix Project: give a blank canvas to an artist and let him work around a theme. The briefing gave us endless possibilities to experiment. This liberty was the biggest inspiration.

WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST IDEA IN RELATION TO THE “YES IN THE FACE OF NO” THEME?
The “Yes in the face of No” was quite hard to handle, my first feeling was to show the impact of the ‘yes’ and the ‘no’. The ‘yes’ is colourful and positive, and fights with ‘no’ in a friendly way. Of course you always hope that the ‘yes’ will win…

DID IT TAKE LONG TO FIND YOUR PERSONAL STYLE?
It took long years, and the reason is that I’m always open to new things; always trying to create fresh versions of my artworks, trying new directions. Nowadays, I feel there’s a style I’m recognizable for…

CAN YOU SHARE ANY INSIGHTS IN YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?
Ninety percent of my graphic works is planned in my head first and then realized with computer. The basic shapes and the main impulse of each job is based on my experience and style. Then you have to mix concept & style correctly.

WHERE CAN WE FIND YOU WHEN YOU’RE NOT WORKING?
Actually in front of my computer, working on personal projects. Or somewhere in the streets, riding a bike. In luckier cases, I’m abroad!

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE?
Always simple, pure and fresh.

Idokungfoo

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT

ARTIST PORTRAIT
Illustrator and designer Simon Oxley lives and operates from his wife’s hometown of Fukuoka, Japan. From 1986 to 1989 Oxley attended college in the UK, studying graphic design, photography, drawing and typography – a solid basis for what he has been doing as a job ever since. In the early 90s he spent a lot of time making pseudo artistic paintings hoping these would become the next big thing and appear in the best galleries worldwide. Sadly, this was not the case and Oxley ended up giving them to friends as Christmas and birthday presents – lucky people!
In 1997 Oxley moved to Japan to work in a design company based in Harajuku. Since 2002, Oxley has run his own design and illustration studio, Idokungfoo, and works for clients from all over the world. His future goals include writing stories which he can illustrate with his famous characters / producing films which include original scores produced by simple means (amateur sound recording equipment and the help of friends) / making new merchandise which features his images / opening a store which offers all Idokungfoo products and all the other things he likes.

INTERVIEW

HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WORKING AS A DESIGNER?
Since 1989, when I left Graphic design college and found employment at a computer game production company – I designed and artworked the cassette inserts.

DID IT TAKE LONG TO FIND YOUR PERSONAL STYLE?
My personal style changes with the weather. Like many image makers, I am often unhappy with images I made more than 3 or 4 months ago. I appreciate the importance of achieving a unique style in commercial terms – but I am unsure whether I have arrived just yet… It seems to be always work in progress…

WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
This is basically something I cannot pin down to one thing….

WHAT’S YOUR ULTIMATE DREAM PROJECT AS AN ARTIST?
It is my goal to own a shop someday, selling strange curiosities which appeal to all ages.

HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEAS BEHIND YOUR ‘‘COKE’ SIDE OF LIFE’ REMIX POSTERS?
I like to work spontaneously – so just see what happens as I draw. A shape will evoke a direction, as will a word or phrase. I spend a lot of time writing phrases which come to mind – these help to create a story line to guide the visual direction I take.

HOW DID THE ‘COCA-COLA’ HISTORY AND THEMES INFLUENCE YOUR REMIX WORK?
Being 38yrs old I can recall many ‘Coke’ campaigns – Coca Cola is an iconic part of many cultures. I chose the Christmas theme instantly, since I felt my imagery would work best with this festive theme. I also remembered that the common image we have of Santa Claus in the red costume originated from the early ‘Coke’ campaigns – which I still find extraordinary!

CAN YOU GIVE SOME BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON YOUR FAVOURITE REMIX ARTWORK?
The large bubble character blowing up out of the top of the bottle is my personal favorite. Maybe it’s the simplicity of form – or just the innocent expression of fun which I like to think ‘Coke’ pursues.

WHERE CAN WE FIND YOU WHEN YOU’RE NOT WORKING?
My wife and I have two young sons, so much of my time is spent playing with them – seeking out natural and cool locations in the mountains or shopping in malls on rainy days. Illustration is not really work for me, I often draw with the children, teaching them at the same time. I also spend a lot of time producing photographic and vector imagery for iStockphoto.com picture library.

WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST IDEA FOR THE INTRINSICS POSTERS YOU DESIGNED FOR ‘COCA-COLA’?
I wanted to make something simple visually – not clutter the space too heavily and risk producing a wallpaper pattern in the triangular area made available above the iconic bottle silhouette.

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO ACCOMPLISH AS A DESIGNER?
I would like to make people feel happy, laugh, become curious, question everything they believe, discover renewed enthusiasm for life and generally feel encouraged by a sense of variety which the world has to offer us.

ANY INSIGHTS IN YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?
Keep thinking and recording thoughts however obscure. Many times an apparently weak idea can work depending upon the method of interpretation. Also, I find it important to take breaks: stay away from computers for a few days sometimes, wander around a fish market, go to the countryside and watch people ploughing fields… basically remove myself from my cozy bubble.

DO YOU START SKETCHING ON PAPER OR DO YOU WORK DIRECTLY ON THE COMPUTER?
I enjoy sketching and brush and ink painting – but only occasionally I scan these in to work from. It is true that the hand drawn line contains way more character than a computer stroke, although the computer stroke has its own personality which I like also. It is easy to manipulate parts of an image to create a result which is not preconceived.

YOUR IMAGERY SEEMS LIKE TO TELL A STORY EACH TIME. DO YOU HAVE THE STORY IN YOUR HEAD FIRST OR DOES IT COME GRADUALLY WHEN YOU START ILLUSTRATING?
I treat all my images as frames in a storyline, but I enjoy the moment before something is about to happen – or an ordinary moment which people may be surprised to find illuminated. I try really hard to empty my head of the piles of past visuals I have buzzing around, trying to influence the story I am making. This is the hard part.

IF THERE WAS AN IDEAL IDOKUNGFOO WORLD, HOW WOULD IT LOOK LIKE?
It would be a world covered in fake fur so no-one would get grazed knees ever again falling on concrete. There would be large shiny animated statues of characters everywhere which everyone could climb on, through and over.
Large shopping malls would be leveled to make way for traditional high streets with shops and businesses specializing in one of a kind quality hand made characters and designer goods. And everyone would drink ‘Coca-Cola’ upside down… 😉