BIONIC PEOPLE: AIDAN HUGHES
Illustrator and graphic designer Aidan Hughes has been working in the industry since 1980. During this time, he has worked in film, TV, advertising, publishing and computer game design and exhibited and performed in London, Amsterdam, Prague, Chicago, Detroit, San Francisco and Seattle.
Since 1984, Aidan has designed the album cover art and animated shorts for German industrial band, KMFDM. He also co-created BRUTE! pulp magazine which spawned a series of TV shows, animations and merchandising.
Aidan has also just launched Tweak, a truly innovative live-photo editing app.
A small selection of Aidan's work is featured at the end of the interview. To view more examples of Aidan's work please visit his BRUTE! Propaganda website and Aidan continues to exhibit in Prague.
Business: BRUTE! Properganda
What drew you to your passion/interest?
I was surrounded by books and art as a kid but my first love was DC and Marvel comics. In my teens, I also got into old 1950s pulp magazine covers and vintage film and propaganda posters which eventually inspired much of the art in the BRUTE! concept. My father (also an artist) had a vast collection of art and architecture books while my mother worked in a newsagents so I was never short of inspiration.
Was there a particular moment in your life that you ‘discovered’ or fell in love with your
Until the early 80s, I had specialized in drawing intricately-detailed rapidograph illustrations but the discovery of an old war-time propaganda tabloid beneath the floorboards of a house I was reconstructing made me totally re-think my style. From then until now, I've adopted the bold lines used in those war-time tabloid illustrations.
What is the most interesting moment in your life?
There are so many to choose from but, creatively speaking, working in TV in the late 80s was an amazingly productive time. From 1986-88, I worked with a production company churning out art shows, animations and music videos for Channel 4 and the BBC. Those punishing schedules and all-night editing sessions really brought out the best in me.
What do you think makes a person interesting?
Beautiful clothes, spectacular good looks and a wicked sense of humour helps a lot.
Who are some of the people that fascinate you?
The most fascinating person I ever met was my late partner-in-art, Malcolm Bennett. His personality, talent and drive were unbeatable and he was easily the most creatively-driven person I ever met. When I parted company with him and went freelance, it was hard to find artists to work with who had his stamina and raw, mental energy. I was also able to spend some time with Alan Vega from Suicide back in 80s New York, discussing art and pop culture while going round his favourite haunts. His music inspired me to found my own experimental group in the late 70s.
If you could meet anyone (past or present) who would it be and why?
Just half an hour with my hero, Jack Kirby, would suit me fine. Back when I was a wee scribbler, I struggled to make sense of human anatomy but when I saw Kirby's work, I realised that you could just go ahead and make up your own rules. That's why they call him the King.
What is the most interesting possession you own?
I've been traveling around so much since the late 70s, I've never been able to accrue much in the way of stuff besides clothes and my PC. Since the possessions I did have were stolen from my studio in London (along with my passport, art library and portfolio), I've tried to keep everything as minimal as possible. However, I was recently bequeathed a number of my father's Royal Artillery caps from WW2 so there's that.
If you could make one change to your life to make it more interesting, what would it
I've just started publicising our revolutionary new Tweak app so public speaking engagements should liven things up a bit. There is a lot to be said for working from home but it makes a nice change to be able to get out and meet other creatives, once in awhile.
Which brand do you find most interesting, and why is that?
I have a fascination for certain clothing brands but I particularly love RRL for their dedication to authenticity when reproducing vintage garments from the 1920s and 30s.
Care to share something interesting you’ve never shared before?
I once met a woman who showed me a horrific jagged scar that went all the way round her torso. She told me that, while she had been working as a prostitute in the Bristol area, she had narrowly escaped being murdered by a psychotic truck driver who tried to cut her in half with a chainsaw.
What is your all-time favourite piece of art, design or fashion?
I'm always being asked this and the sad thing is, I never found out the name of the artist who made my all-time favourite work of art. I was walking home one night in Bristol in the early 80s and saw, on a notice board in the lobby of the museum, a poster for an exhibition of early 20th century woodcuts that had ended the previous month. On the poster was a scene depicting three giant brutalist figures in a field towering over a tiny church in the distance. It thrilled me so much, I gently peeled it off the notice board and hung it on my studio wall when I got home. Over the next three years, I spent hundreds of hours looking at the image, trying to decipher its meaning, but I was never able to find out what it meant or who had created it. It subsequently disappeared when my apartment was broken into.
Can you help Aidan?
Does the image Aidan described sound familiar to you? If you know it please send us the details and hopefully we can help Aidan identify it.
Below is just a small selection of Aidan's work, please go to his website gallery to view more.
Thank you Aidan