In 2010 Catalonian illustrator Alex Trochut was commisioned by Estrella Damm, ‘the beer of Barcelona’ to create his view of Barcelona. From the hustle and bustle of La Boqueria to Gaudí’s controversial Sagrada Família, Trochut incorporates some of Barcelona’s iconic imagery in a style clearly inspired by his Catalan contemporaries Salvador Dalí and Juan Miró.
This April, the beer was relaunched in Ireland by Molson Coors with the arrival of their draught product to compliment the bottled variety.
As part of the launch activities Estrella Damm invited consumers to A Night of Barcelona Culture in both Dakota Bar and The Bath pub. Inspired by Trochut’s award-winning work, we turned to 3 Irish illustrators, The Project Twins, Aoife Dooley & Matthew Griffin to depict their views of Dublin City.
Their 3 pieces of limited edition artwork were unveiled amidst much fanfare at our launch nights and this month we caught up with James Fitzgerald of graphic art duo The Project Twins to discuss the thought process behind their particular piece, other recent projects and their thoughts on the ever expanding creative showcase, Offset.
Do you have a specific style, and how would you describe it?
Our work is very simple and graphic. We like to focus a lot on the concept or idea but there is definitely a certain look or tone throughout our work. We use a lot of minimal forms and bold shapes and our work is very much rooted in the visual language of graphic design.
How do you split your time between commercial work and personal projects?
We try and split them as evenly as we can without one side overshadowing the other. A lot of our commercial and personal projects feed into and influence each other. We enjoy that space between art and design and we are always trying to blur the lines even further. We feel really lucky that we can get to work on some great commercial projects while also getting to exhibit in places like IMMA, The Glucksman, TULCA, and VISUAL Carlow.
What have been some of the highlights of working on commercial projects?
Most of our commercial work would be on editorial illustration. We enjoy the quick turnaround of these and can get to experiment a lot with them. Some of the highlights for editorial would be working for the likes of The Guardian, Wired and Adweek. A lot of the illustrators and designers who worked for these publications would have been a big influence for us in college so to be working for some similar clients now is great. Apart from the editorial work some nice projects include the piece for Estrella Damm obviously, working on TV ads for ING in Australia and some recent mural projects for Facebook and Three Mobile.
Do you get a thrill when your work is seen on the international stage?
Absolutely. One of the best aspects about our job is that we can work from a small studio in Cork on some of the biggest brands in the world. The downside is sometimes we might not ever get to see a finished piece in person but its great when we get shots sent to us from friends in Australia and America. Although its fantastic to get to work on an international level, we still prefer working with good clients no matter how big they are and some of the best work has been with some smaller companies and magazines too.
What was the initial thought process behind your piece for Estrella Damm?
The initial brief was to incorporate a Dublin map or skyline element. Apart from that the brief was fairly open for us to take in whatever direction we wanted. Initially we didn’t want to do just a map or skyline and wanted to incorporate it some way into a more solid graphic that communicates the feeling better. This led to us designing a character with a stripy top that was used to house elements of a cityscape. Overall we wanted it to be fun and vibrant but with a solid and simplified colour scheme. We would have been influenced a lot by some vintage beer posters so we were making something that could possibly end up framed on someone’s wall in the future.
Can you tell us about working on the Transform Your City project with Offset?
We were initially contacted by John Mahon from Toejam and The Bernard Shaw at the time. He wanted us to make something on the hoarding of the vacant space outside as part of the Offset project. We painted a mural over 30 feet long in a very minimal style and colour palette. We wanted something strong and simple that would cut through the visual clutter in the area. There was sort of narrative to piece that could be visually read while passing without the meaning being too obvious. It’s great to collaborate with various groups like this and has led to similar commercial and gallery projects.
When can we expect to see you speaking at Offset!?
It would be very presumptuous of us to answer this. I think there is a lot of stiff competition to get to speak on such a great platform but it would be great to get the opportunity at some stage. I wonder is Bren B open to bribes?
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