'The Great Outdoors': Paul Farrell

Posted: Sep 22 2014

At Nook, we have worked with Bristol based print maker Paul Farrell for a while now and his work, inspired by the natural world, was an obvious choice for 'The Great Outdoors', for Design Week 2014. Now available to buy instore and online, Paul created this exclusive print, 'Night Owl', especially for us.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your background
I've always enjoyed the outdoors and art from a very young age. I completed a Foundation course in Art and Design in Bristol, my hometown, followed by a degree in Graphic Design at Middlesex Polytechnic. Since graduating I worked as a a graphic designer in London for 20 years before becoming self employed and returning to Bristol where I now share my time between my home studio and print making at Spike Island print studio. I've always had a illustrative interest as a designer when, for example, creating brands and not always relying on the computer. Graphic art, colour, form and nature are my inspiration. 
What's the 'philosophy' behind the product?
Philosophy is a grand word not often used here but if it refers to what my working beliefs and principles then it's really about simplicity. My days as a designer taught me to communicate clearly and the most successful and effective design was the simplest. I enjoy illustrating a subject using colour and form, reducing it to its basic and characteristic features. Colour is my important tool and it's experimentation is the essence of print making.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration everywhere I guess as I'm always looking, but more so in the countryside where our traditions, flora and fauna take over. Folk art is a key and if I was to be really honest it is found in my head also with images of old children's programmes I used to watch, and books I used to read, and toy shops I visited during the 1970s.
Where are your products made?
My products are made in the UK. I did trial several items overseas but the quality was too poor. I like to source British makers and in particular those close to me here in the South West. My current work is hand printed by myself and stationery out sourced. Where I can I try and ensure most materials are from a sustainable source or use processes that are kinder to the environment.
What is your studio like? 
My studio is nothing special but an upstairs room in my house. I've recently moved so there are still a few boxes about and little on the walls. It's mainly centred around the computer but there's room enough for a plan chest and collections of ephemera, books and samples with boxes of colour combinations, printing techniques and stationery favourites. It's peaceful and allows me to concentrate.
Describe a typical day in the life of you...
My days are very varied. Black coffee, sourdough toast normally starts it and me and then the time is either spent packing orders, doing admin, and the least time is spent creating new work which is the best time. When there is new work to print then I have the opportunity to visit Spike Island print studio and escape. Being at home I have to place a divide between work and life but we have a young daughter that takes up some of my week but this is good time. Generally there's a lot of coming and going and formatting work for online retailers or my site, blog, twitter etc etc.
Is there anything you are looking forward to during Design Week?
I'm looking forward to gathering enough new inspiration and finding out what new ideas have been created in the space of a year as so much is produced and promoted. Design Junction always collects the movers and shakers and I'm very interested in product design so this should float my boat. You can't do it all when you visit the design capital of the world, from Bristol.
Where's your favourite (Great) outdoors space?
It is a small village called Angle in Pembrokeshire where I have holidayed for the last 35 years. It's by the sea and within the National Park. The sunsets, remote location, simple life, friendly community, wildlife, smell of the sea and any weather always remind me why the outdoors are great.
Paul's print, 'Night Owl' is available to buy instore and here, on the website.