Rhys Cooper

We here at Tommy Good our proud to finally bring some Australian talent to the table. Representing Melbourne is the insanely talented, hard working, all round nice guy Rhys Cooper. Read on to gain his insight into such things as gigposters, movies & being a 'zen master'.

Hey Rhys, Can you fill us in on your background, have you always wanted to be an illustrator? How did you get started?
I've always been somewhat decent at illustration since I was young but it was always more of a hobby and I didn't see it as being a profession when I "grew up". I wanted to be a zoologist but when flunking biology put an end to that I threw myself into Graphic Design, studied it for 4 years at uni and started doing gigposters in my final year through Beyond the Pale.


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It’s about time we got an Australian artist on board at Tommy Good, you live near the Astor Theatre have you spent much time there? Have you always been a movie geek?
Yeah someone should represent the locals, The Astor is just down the road from my uni and I went there a bunch of times for double features and special screenings. They were the only place here to play the US release of Grindhouse (only full version Death Proof was released in Oz). Always been a movie geek. Or just a geek geek.

You have done a bunch of gig posters for some great bands over the years, is there a big difference between designing a gig poster and a movie poster?
Yeah they seem to me as different beasts. I find that gigposters are more open for interpretation, it is more how the artist feels about the music and you can get amazing results from this. Film posters, particularly cult films you need to consider more how others feel about the film and being about to communicate what the film does so maybe there is more pressure there.


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What do you love about drawing? & is there anything about poster design you dislike?
It's hard to describe but drawing (usually) is like my form of meditation, it calms me down and (usually) puts me in a good place. So with the amount of work I've been doing lately I'm a friggin zen master. Not much I dislike, sometimes things take too long but that is usually my fault and I can't draw something I'm not feeling myself.

What are your interests/passions outside of the poster design world?
I love film and going to the cinema. Always up for going to a cool exhibit in a gallery. I also studied bushido for many years and always plan on getting back into it.


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How do you get started on something like ‘A Clockwork Orange’? What’s your process from idea to finished artwork.
Always been a fan of Clockwork and one of the parts that fascinated me was Alex's relationship with his parents and how they had no idea what he was really like. How could you not be suss of a kid who has a combination lock on his bedroom door? He has a record player, images of Beethoven and his python under his bed, it is the real Alex who lives in there and kinda like his trophy room so that is the approach I took with the poster. Like a bedroom shelf.

“A Clockwork Orange” is one crazy ass film, what are your thoughts on it and its place in cinematic history?
Honestly I didn't know much about it till I was 20 and it was being re-released. The classic poster caught my eye in the video store and it had all these little quotes about how it was banned etc. So I checked it out and l was blown away. I never knew the full story of how big it was at the time until I watched the special features on the blue ray while researching for the poster. It caused quite a stir.


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What or who is influencing your work these days? Anything blown your mind recently be it art, movie, music?
My poster peers are my biggest influence, the art form just keeps getting more and more amazing and you have to really push yourself to keep up the quality. Recently films like Black Swan and Inception blew my mind and a few recent exhibitions I've been too have been really inspiring.

Your work is packed with so much intricate detail, I am always catching things later that I missed the first time looking through, has this always been a part of your illustration style?
It just seemed to evolve that way, I do it to keep things interesting for myself, for a bit of fun and to give a bit of longevity for people who purchase a print. Some say that I get too detailed sometimes and it is a balancing act but I've stated before that I don't create posters to be small jpegs on the net but something that the viewer can hold and stare at, hang on their wall and then 2 months later maybe see something and be like "oh shit".


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In your opinion what is the single most important thing an aspiring poster designer should work on?
Their quality. I don't really believe so much in "given talents" and more in hard work. If the quality is there the good work should come to you. That and not letting people tell you you can't do something, just work hard and do it.


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Thanks for your time Rhys.
No problem, thanks.