Welcome to the Geek Shirts HQ Designer Unlocked Interview Series where we put the best independent designers under the spotlight
This week we have a cool designer whose designs I have admired for a long time. I love Rob’s unique style and his take on popular culture and judging by the response his designs gets, a lot of people are in agreement with me.
So it is a pleasure to welcome Rob Wood AKA Cu3ik the latest designer to get unlocked.
Rob Wood is an enigmatic figure, when not creating his cool designs, he is plundering the world’s finest galleries in his bid to create the worlds greatest art collection, However I don’t know if he is as successful as he is as a t shirt designer, the only designs I have seen in his art collection are etchings by his friends. But don’t let this put you off.
As what Rob lacks as a major art thief he more than makes up as a designer, as you can see his talents are more suited to creating his own original and cool designs.
Rob I am not interested in that Da Vinci painting! I want to get this interview done.
Where did you get your nickname from?
My nickname dates all the way back to 1990 and is pulled straight from one of my favourite tunes by 808 State. It started out as a simple tag that I'd scrawl in the back of exercise books at school and has evolved with me (via my first Hotmail account back in 1996) into the cû3ik brand I have now.
Where do you get your inspiration for your designs?
Oh, just about everywhere. Most of them are my subconscious though. It waits until I'm in a situation where I'm busy and then drops ideas on me.
Very frustrating when I'm in the office; I have to wait until lunch or end of day to get the idea out of my head. If they happen before lunch, the idea will end up being scrawled in biro on a bit of scrap and end up as a post on my Facebook page.
Other than that, I get inspired by what I see and hear around me; music especially. My first (in this stretch) design though was inspired by my kids.
When you create a new t shirt design, what is sort of process do you follow?
The majority of my designs start on good old paper, with graphite or biro; then over to the light box for refinement before inking for scanning.
Then a little Photoshop to adjust the colour/contrast, and a few little tweaks to remove unwanted artefacts and adjust proportions, and then over to CorelDraw to turn into vectors for colouring.
Once I'm happy with the base design, I usually return to Photoshop for adding any halftones and creating my separations. Now I've written that down, that's quite a process!
Looking at your own portfolio what is your favourite design and why?
I think it would have to be my first design – Peppa Stig. It was inspired by my kids arguing over what to watch on TV. My youngest wanted to watch Peppa Pig, but the another (older) was watching Top Gear… and that's it… Peppa Stig was born.
What current projects are you working on now? And can we get an exclusive peek?
I've been rather quiet on the design front recently (it's decorating and renovation season *sigh*), but there are a few that are on the go. I've also got a couple of paper/canvas-based designs in progress. Once the decorating is done, I'll be back at the drawing board as soon as I can. As for peeks...
GrandTheft Autobots Shirt
Who are your favourite designers?
OH! There are so many! Let's see…
Well Aaron 'Synaptyx' Fimister for starters; he's the designer of my favourite indie shirt 'Scruffy Looking Nerf Herder'.
James Hance; he just rocks at everything. I want to own lots of his paintings.
Billy 'Bleee' Alllison. Animator, artist, Yorkshire man and all round diamond geezer. He animated some of the cartoons that my kids used to watch (and I must admit to having quite a soft spot for them too).
Matt Parsons and Chris McVeigh. Designers and photographers in their own right, but they also collaborate on quite a bit of stuff.
Megan Lara… Just… WOW!
Do you try to convey any message in your designs?
Not usually. Fun and mash is normally where it's at with me. I did do a design called 'CONSERVE ALL THINGS' though – an obvious parody – which does carry a message'. Oh… and 'REMEMBER YOUR TOWEL'
Star Wars or Star Trek? Which do you prefer?
I'd have to say Star Wars (ANH, TESB, RotJ). I must say though that the last Trek film was great and I'm really looking forward to the next.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Such a long time away (I hope)! Err… Hopefully, more designing, more painting, more coffee, more coffee, more coffee, more coffee and the love of my family (and another coffee).
What other interests and hobbies do you have when you’re not designing?
Art, music and comedy. Galleries, gigs and giggles: D
Do you have any advice for budding designers?
Keep at it. For most it's not a quick route to fame and riches, but there is some serious talent out there (see below) that started in the same place you are now. Don't be afraid to ask questions and learn from others – there will be others that will learn from you too.
Practice, practice (drink caffeinated beverages) and practice.
Anyone you want to give a shout out to?
This is going to turn in quite a roll-call… hope I've not missed anyone…
Aaron Fimister, Adam Tyler, Alex Pawlicki, Ameda Nowlin, Andrew Bichler, Andy Hunt, Anna-Maria Jung, Arion Acurantes, Aron J. Shay, Ashley Hay
Barry Neeson, Billy Allison, Blayde Works, Brando Punk, Brenda Snell, Caddillac W. Ompus, Carlos Donoso, Castle Pöp, Chris Albright, Chris McVeigh,
Crystal 'Bamboota' Fontan, Dakin Costello, Dan Wolfe, Dana Lechtenberg, Daniel Albert, Daniel Sotomayor, Dann Matthews, Dave McNicoll, Dave Styer, Dave Velez,
David Eberhardt, David Stenken, Derin Ciler, Devin Costello, Drew Wise, Elias El Daoud, Elliot Fernandez, Emma Harckham, Eric Tran, Erick Giron,
Famousafterdeath Art, Fiona Reeves, Glen O'Neill, Gordon Brebner, Harry Gordon, Hillary White, Iam Qetza, Iam Zerobriant, Ian Leino, Ian Wilding,
Italo Perochena, Jack Lightfoot, James Hance, James Mitchell, Jamie Boots Marshall, Jason Cryer, Jason E Tracewell, Jason van Zwieten, Jeremy Nowlin, Jerry Bennett,
Joel Rose, John H Midgley, John Sprengelmeyer, John Sumrow, Jon Martin, Jon Rohde, Josh Ketchen, Josh Reid Mirman, Jul Baznet, Justin Page,
Karen Hallion, Kari Fry, Kelly Witwicki Faddegon, Kevin Phelps, Luis Santiago, Malc Foy, Manuel Peters, Matt Needham, Matt Parsons, Matthew Dunn,
Michael Myers, Mike Handy, Mike Mancuso, Fishbiscuit, Nana Leonti, Nathan Davis, Pete Bessent, Phillip Lollar, Popnerd Culture, Rachel Bowland Ulstad,
Randy Smith, Raul Mena, Revo Lution Gfx, Roger Denyer, Scott Weston, Sean Hook, Shamara Lobo, Shawnna Bass, Steve Gelenter, Steve Sanderson,
Steve Thomas, Steven Anderson, Tammy Scott, Tanith Diggory, Teeg Ketchen, Teo Zirinis, Tim Shumate, Timothy Lim, Tom Kurzanski, Tom Ledin,
Tony Odysseyroc Avina, Tony Zeller, Troy Dunham, Vincent Carrozza, Wilson Williams Jr, Winter Artwork, Yehonala Weatherwax, Oh, and everyone at Tee Gazette and , The Yetee, Other Tees, Qwertee, ShirtPunch and your good selves.
There are more too. All these guys are brilliant. We chat and see (assist, critique and praise) each other's work a lot, and I learn so much from them all.
Where is the best place to find your designs and buy some of your shirts? And of course get in contact with you
OtherTees / (vote-based)
Qwertee / (vote-based)
One last question, when you going to design a Firefly shirt as I am a massive fan?
For fans of FireFly, I'm not sure I could do it justice… I do have something sat in my 'Work in Progress' folder though.