small talk // lyrical imagery by graphic designer wes niven


back when i worked for converse, we started an employee art exhibition program called art / work. the idea was to give our employees, in whatever job they were in, the chance to exhibit their art around the office for a month. i'm happy to hear from my friends still there that the exhibition program is going strong. last month, my friend and converse graphic designer wes niven showed some killer prints titled "lyrical imagery." more about wes + his art below:

cultureisland: tell us more about you.

wes niven: i was born in toronto, canada. i grew up around a creative setting at home and was exposed to the art world from a young age. i developed a comfort around studios, galleries and hands-on workshops. i got into skateboarding and underground comics around age 9 or 10. but i think once i discovered music everything was different. high school was kinda crazy for me, but a lot of development came out of all that turbulence. at that point i was deep into painting graffiti and making music with my friends, which lead me to look out west and move to calgary where i attended the alberta college of art and design. i graduated with a bachelors of design and earned a scholarship to do a 1 year design program at sva in nyc. right now, i work full-time at converse as a graphic designer.

 

wes niven // flyer for lyrical imagery // 2015

wes niven // flyer for lyrical imagery // 2015

cultureisland: what is your artistic process?

wes niven: recently i've been messing around with motion graphics, doing some freelance artwork, sketching out a few tattoo designs.

wes niven // "the world is yours" by nas << click for music video

wes niven // "the world is yours" by nas << click for music video

cultureisland: tell us more about lyrical imagery.

wes niven: lyrical imagery is a series of band posters and compositions that visually examine the lyrics from a personal selection of some of my favorite songs at the moment. the prints are presented as arrangements existing somewhere on the border between illustration, typography, design and graffiti. the music i listen to while i'm working is what informed the idea, so consequently i was inspired by the lyrics and melodies to start drawing these images as they generated in my head. all the artwork was hand painted or screen printed onto various colors / stocks of paper using textile ink, acrylic paint, sumi ink and krink markers.

wes niven // "get no better" by clear soul forces << click for music video

wes niven // "get no better" by clear soul forces << click for music video

cultureisland: where do you find inspiration? who are some of your favorite artists?

wes niven: sometimes just walking around the city does it for me. i'm snapping photos and taking notes with my phone all the time it's crazy. i take inspiration from music, movies, books, zines, the internet, friends/co-workers... i keep a hard drive of this big archive of reference material and my own work i've been putting together for a while. it helps me get ideas when i start a new project. as for favorite artists... jean michel basquiat. i saw his paintings up close in new orleans and they were dope. i really like barbara kruger's work too. definitely into some of the old greats: da vinci, michelangelo, van gogh, monet, the list goes on. lately, i'm pretty into 123-klan from montreal, canada. very stoked on the work they're putting out.

wes niven // "the one feat. t3 from slum village" by onra << click for music video (i had to take this one home)

wes niven // "the one feat. t3 from slum village" by onra << click for music video (i had to take this one home)

cultureisland: what are you listening to right now?

wes niven: just everything really. lately i go on soundcloud and listen to mixes, whatever is good that day, doesn't matter. i can't stay on the same genre too long. most played lately though: the doors greatest hits, breakbot, mf doom, childish gambino, tupac, nirvana, massive attack and those majestic casual mixes on youtube.

wes niven // "bring da ruckus" by wu tang clan << click for music video

wes niven // "bring da ruckus" by wu tang clan << click for music video

check out more of wes's work on his site and follow him on instagram here.