Long after the Radical Design period, Peter Judson sways us back into the striking colours, scale distortion and irony of the era in a contemporary style. We lose ourselves in his realms of isometric projections, where opposing scales collide, fragments clash and surfaces play between dualities giving birth to new narratives in an almost puzzle like form. Whether creating imaginary geometric landscapes or a cacophony of architectural elements, as in the case of the Hoxton Hotel a collapsed ‘mural’ of the surrounding architecture, the images instantly grab our attention and have us dissecting the infinite elements embedded within. It is almost impossible to dissect the intricate mazes of Judsons construction, and it would be a life long project to trace the plans and sections of these parallel universes which he crafts so meticulously.
Who influences you graphically?
Aesthetically my main influence has come form the 1970/80s Italian Anti Design scene.
What is your most important ‘tool’?
I would have to say my computer, adobe Illustrator and I also use a Wacom Cintiq, that isn’t essential but it does allow you to feel as though your drawing.
Infection, Concrete Jungle, Phase 1
Infection, Concrete Jungle, Phase 2
Infection, Concrete Jungle, Phase 3
How big of an asset is your computer? Would you be able to survive without?
I don’t think you can survive without a computer in this day an age. Even if you’re work is physical. You wouldn’t have known I existed without the internet or even this interview wouldn’t be possible without e-mail. But in terms of creating work I’d have to change tack and become a painter of furniture designer I guess which might be quite refreshing to be fair, might smash my computer up after I finish this!
What is your take on colour? How do you approach this within your work?
Colour is a massive part of my work I think choosing colours allows you to accentuate and aid the communication, from the basic idea of serious work tends to communicate better in monochrome and playful pastel hues tend to illustrate a more positive or fantastical idea.
Saying this the majority of my choices don’t come from an interrogation of Johannes Ittens The Art of Colour but more intuitively based on vague emotional reactions of “does it feel right?”
Could you talk us through your work process?
With the aid of heinsight I can’t really pin point a specific process. There are relatively basic ways of going about certain projects for example editorial where you’re given an article and a series of dimensions so you make sketches of any interesting visual ideas that pop out and develop the directions that stick with the client.
But overall I’ve found If I stick to a clearly defined process my work becomes pretty stagnant over time and I have to change it up. I think you have to give yourself the freedom to work in a way that suits how you’re feeling. If you frustrated go to a gallery, if the first idea is great don’t kill yourself for thinking that it’s too easy. Sometimes you just have to accept creativity isn’t an equation.
Tanks For The Ride, Phase 1
Tanks For The Ride, Phase 2
Tanks For The Ride, Phase 3
You talk about reducing aspects of the world, to what extent has the work of individuals as Mondrian influenced you conceptually as well as in projects as ‘I wander’?
I think the reductive aspect of my work comes from living in a large and chaotic city. I’ve always found beauty in snapshots and maybe it’s a control thing but I think if there’s too much going on it’s quite nice to break It all down into something more manageable. I also think there’s a pretence in the artworld that fine art is inaccessible to everyone outside the academic elite and sometimes reducing a concept down to an aesthetic abstract it opens it up to more people as they don’t have to understand it because it’s simply a visual representation in the same way as life drawing. For me it’s deeper but I’m happy for your nan to go, I like the colours that would make a nice tea towel.
Although Sottsass quotes that “Memphis is a phenomenon that arose out of cultural and political necessities that are no longer, there are moments when something happens, and then it’s over. Basta.’’ Why do you think that the Memphis ‘movement’ is still relevant today?
I don’t think there’s one answer to this question and I could go on for a good few thousand words about it’s journey back into popular culture.
But I think the simplified answer would be it’s aesthetically striking and in an age where we consume art and design via Instagram scrolling through hundreds of images a minute I think it’s easy to appreciate within seconds. Bright colours and fun shapes instantly make you click the like button and this visual appreciation has allowed the academics to crawl out of the woodwork and attempt to explain it’s resurgence within a geopolitical and cultural level possibly as a synthetic backlash to the whole “authentic” and “green” movements. I think overall it’s just fun and we’re not living in the most optimistic time so it’s quite refreshing to see something that’s so overtly playful.
What were the biggest challenges you faced when moving from a two-dimensional graphic to the three-dimensional table at Kingston university?
From a technical standpoint before I started designing I worked out what processes where available in their workshop so I could make sure everything was feasible and worked closely with the technicians at the uni so I didn’t overcomplicate anything along the way.
I’d probably say the only real problem I faced was logistically, when you finish a drawing it’s done photograph it or save it. But with this it weighed a few hundred kilos so making sure all the pieces fit together and could be moved around throughout the different processes like powder coating caused the most stress. But overall it’s definitely something I’d like to explore more as the reward of having it used on a daily bases trumps getting likes on social media!
When working on urban projects what are your main considerations/reflections?
I think you have to respect the client and above all the user because your spending their money and in most cases your not the one that’s going to use it. So at the end of the day you want them to feel as though it’s theirs more than yours, I think that shared ownership is very important.
How and to what extent has the metropolitan city and essence of London influenced how you operate as a designer?
The longer I’ve been creating work and looking back due to questions like this the more I can see the influence even if it’s not something I’ve actively been pursuing. But architecture and how environments affect people is something that I keep returning to. London is an absolute mess in terms of the range of architecture from medival churches, five hundred year old pubs to 60’s housing estates and hyper modern glass monuments like the shard. I think the diversity and visual confusion gives it a real energy that is something I find keeps coming into my work in the sense that I tend to get excited by working in new fields and pushing my aesthetic in new directions.