Talking inspiration and the National Art Pass with artist, Supermundane
Find out what a leading graphic artist gets up to with his National Art
Pass and discover what inspired the design for our limited-edition tote bag.
Supermundane, aka Rob Lowe, is known for his signature geometric images that play with line and colour to dazzling effect. After 20 years in the creative industry, he has worked as a graphic designer, illustrator and artist, and his work has been exhibited and published all over the world. We caught up with him to talk mobile art and getting out and about with a National Art Pass.
Your design for the Art Fund tote bag is the fourth in a series, ‘This all comes together somehow’. What was the inspiration behind the series?
I like making work that is more than just visual decoration. In this case the series was about shape and line and how they go together. I’m normally more interested in how lines interact and the shapes that are made are a by-product of this. By taking the shapes that the lines have made and placing them around the composition (in front and behind) they become something new. At the same time the artwork resembles a children’s toy where they need to put the shapes in the correct holes. So from very simple elements, the work begins to have lots of movement and an interactive quality that I’m interested in.
Do you approach a design differently knowing it’s going to be on something ‘used’ like a bag?
Not really. There is an appetite for artwork that people put in their house to say something about themselves – the amount of affordable prints that is available now is huge. The bag is a continuation of that and could be seen as a mobile artwork. To choose to use it will say something about the user (whether they like it or not). I’m interested in applied arts, whether it is on T-shirts or bags or badges. Things that are everyday but can carry something of meaning.
Where has your National Art Pass taken you so far, and where would you like to go next?
I’ve been to the Guildhall Art Gallery (which I probably would never have been to if I hadn’t read about it in the Art Map). I live near the Dulwich Picture Gallery so I went to see the David Milne show there, which I loved. I also went to see the Age of Terror show at the Imperial War Museum. There are so many great shows in London but I’d like to go further afield and use my pass around the country.
Broadly speaking, your style has moved from complex drawings to using simple lines and colour in startling ways – what fascinates you about geometric design?
The move came about when I felt I’d reached a dead-end with the drawings and started to look at how I constructed them. I realised I could make geometric versions but retain the movement and depth that I liked. I’ve always had a thing about bold geometric designs (I come from a graphic design background). The amazing thing is I use mainly 45 and 90 degree lines and circles but the work I make is much more than the sum of these parts. I love colour, pattern and words too, and all these things together make up my work.
The more you see, the more we do.
The National Art Pass lets you enjoy free entry to hundreds of museums, galleries and historic places across the UK, while raising money to support them.