Artist Adam Higton Interview
Artist Pick: Adam Higton

Mar 15, 2021 | Art, Culture

Our latest artist pick interview is York based Adam Higton, whose diverse portfolio of graphic design has seen him work with Camden Brewery and the New York Times, but his project, “Cosmic Neighbourhood” which shares the name of his musical project, is what first caught our attention. 

It seems you’re somewhat an anomaly in that unlike a lot of artists in the UK, you’ve chosen not to head down south, what are the benefits of being somewhere like York artistically?
I have lived in York for 4 years almost, it’s gone by quick. I can’t think about Bristol too much as it makes me feel sad, I had some great friends there and I miss them everyday. However, I am settling in here and I love the history, it has loads of second hand bookshops, antique shops and an amazing car boot sale in the summer on a Saturday.  It feels less trendy and a bit more normal which is great. It’s actually a great location as you have Newcastle, Leeds, Sheffield down the road and we have summer holidays in Scarborough and Whitby.  If I could live anywhere though… Berlin, I love that city.
You’ve worked pretty extensively in black and white, but your Cosmic Neighbourhoods project is bright and vibrant, do you prefer working in Black and White or Colour?
Yeah for years I have worked in black and white, I still do with my drawing.  I worked with a limited colour palette for a few years but right now I’m into exploring a warmer and wider spectrum of colour.
Like your music, your art often has a strong psychedelic quality, is this an intentional decision to tie the two mediums together, or do both seem to connect organically?
Making art to make music to make art to. I think there’s a link somewhere… it was more forced at the beginning, the first Collages album, the songs had a stronger, direct link to the collages but these days I’m interested in making longer songs and worry less about that connection, I think now the songs are more organic in the link to the artwork.
Which current artists do you take inspiration from? And is there anyone you want people to pay close attention too?
I started collecting stamps last week! This has been really inspiring and addictive.  My favourite artist of all time is Bruce Lacey.  I love MDNF (Michael Dumontier and Neil Farber). they were also collectively known as Royal Art Lodge when Marcel Dzama was involved.  Love his work too.  I am lucky to have a close friend in Marcus Oakley, his work is fantastic. Music is and always has been inspiring to me.  I listen to a lot of Nick Drake this time of year, I love electronic music too. The last records I bought were Judee Sill and Florian Fricke solo piano box set.
I’m sure other artists out there would love to know some of the technicals behind your illustrations, what do you use to create them?
I really hate to rely too much on computers, I think they sap all of the fun out of being creative, and they make your eyes ache.  All of my work is made by hand and scanned in after. I digitise my collages because they’re hard to document, but doing this makes it easier to apply them to stuff if I want to. Client stuff is a mixture of drawings and collage, sometimes I’ll cut shapes and then compose them in the computer. Depending on the job.  My lettering is all cut from black sheets of paper.
Comics are a running theme throughout your work, is there any particular comic designers that have had an impact on you?
I like Peanuts and Pippin which is a British comic from the 60s.  I think Tove Jansson got me into comics with Moomins, there is a really wonderful and subtle sense of humour in there which I love.
Cosmic Neighbourhood has an array of people and creatures in them, do any of these characters have backstories when you’re working on them?
No… There’s lots of elves and I think they’re always up to mischief and animals and bugs but they’re just going about doing their thing.  It he collages I make for CN are based around colour, pattern and composition, narrative is important but less considered.
Tea or coffee while you work?
Diet Coke 🙂

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