With a fresh and funky creative synergy, Shaun Hill, Nicholas Christowitz and Lauren Schultz from SAYS WHO studio in Jozi are pushing things in all directions when it comes to all things design and illustration. Danielle Laity caught up with Shaun to find out a bit more about how SAYS WHO came about and where it’s headed.
Danielle Laity: Tell me a few background facts about you guys? (where did you study, work you've done, where you grew up etc..)
Shaun Hill: Nick, Lauren and myself (Shaun) all met at Vega in Jozi, and have been working together ever since. We're all from Joburg and didn't see the appeal in getting ‘real’ jobs… so we created SAYS WHO, our own little business that we could grow on our own. It's all very rewarding seeing the work you do go from a brief to a finished product without too many other hands involved. We've done work for some awesome clients like Nike, Cadbury and Mini, to name a few. The big brands are fun, but we also love smaller clients who let us do whatever we want.
Who or what inspires you?
We all draw inspiration from different places, so I guess we'll answer this separately.
Nick: Music is always a huge inspiration. Other artists/illustrators I am fascinated with are: Joshua Davis, Troika, Mcbess, iLoveDust... damn, there are so many but those are the favourites
Shaun: I love cartoons, anything on Cartoon Network. A bit of Monkeydust and Jeremy Fish and the people I spend my time with.
Lauren: Artists who's brains I'd love to pick: Tara McPherson, Kukula, Derek Hess, Rik Lee, Louis Minnaar, Johan DeLange. I'm inspired by the people around me; this amazing, insane and beautiful country we live in; the hundreds of possibilities we are presented with everyday, and of course, all great works of literature!
What is SAYS WHO?
SAYS WHO is a small illustration and design studio. We're close friends who enjoy working together and are constantly being inspired by each other as well as the other artists we admire. We cater to the illustration and design requirements of big brands and agencies, bands, private clients, shops, etc. We also like to party and have lunch together.
What role does each member play?
Each member basically plays the same role as far as business dynamics go. We're all equals, which is awesome when each member has their own unique style and approach to their work. It allows input from each one of us to ultimately create the best final product we can, together.
Of which piece of work are you most proud?
We're proud of just about all the projects we've worked on. Some that stand out are the work we did for Cadbury as well as Mini countryman, mainly because we enjoyed working on them so much and the clients were very happy with what we gave them. We're also really proud of a lot of our personal projects that have been featured in magazines and blogs. I think our exhibition last year at Wolves was a highlight for us. People were so excited about our work.
Shaun, your arcade tables (can we call them by that name?) seem to link functionality to art… Tell me about this.
(You can just call it an arcade coffee table.) My idea was to create a multifunctional table with an old school arcade console, the table is made up of 3 parts which can be arranged to form 13 different tables. This created the large amount of surface area which is seen in each position so I kept the illustrations small. The table displays all my best work done during my studies.
What makes a good illustrator?
To put it simply, it's just someone who is willing to learn constantly. Technical skill obviously plays its part but the ability to strive for something unique and challenging is always a winner.
Are you proudly South African?
I can safely say we all are. This place will always be home. It inspires us everyday. It's an adventure living here.
Do you think South African illustration/graphic design is on the same level as overseas?
Yes, while there may not be as many visual artists here, we can definitely hold our ground against the best overseas has to offer. The difference is in South Africa everyone wants to drive a stupid BMW and study something mind-numbing like accounting. But that leaves a nice gap for the people who are really passionate about creativity to flourish.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Retired, on a couch, in Amsterdam. No seriously? Ok, probably still doing the same thing. Whether or not we're still all working together 10 years from now, we know we'll all still be doing the same thing because we're so infatuated with the worlds of illustration and creativity.
And for SAYS WHO – what can we expect in the future?
Hopefully some stuff that'll blow minds nationwide. We have a few interesting jobs that we're incredibly excited about but nothing can be revealed on that front yet. We also enjoy making things. We already have SAYS WHO Threads (our own line of beautiful T shirts, made in collaboration with Woe Is Me ) and we'd like to branch off into other products and interesting goodies for people to buy. Nothing beats the feeling we get when people actually want to buy something we made ourselves.
Image Source: http://www.sayswho.co.za/