I am absolutely obsessed with Joseph Loughborough‘s work. An illustrator currently based in Berlin, his work is strikingly complex and forms a visual cacophony. Simple charcoal and paper is enhanced with large splashes of gold leaf to create a true visual experience of almost religious, yet nihilistic inspiration. Find out Joseph’s process and inspiration below, and let your eyes wander over his pieces:

Where are you from? How has where you live affected your work?

I’m from a city on the south coast of the UK called Portsmouth. It has a predominant navel and dockyard heritage but has now become more of a student town. It’s safe to say that the remnants of this old industry have affected my work in some ways! The sense of decay and abandonment found in the derelict housing projects and boatyards defiantly appealed to my artistic sensibilities and nurtured my tastes. Lovely as it is, I’m pretty glad to have escaped the shithole. Bit of a love/hate situation.


How did you get started as an artist?

I can’t say the was a point where I decided I wanted to become and artist. It was more of an evolution. As a child I loved to draw and make things so I guess I already had a bearing on my compass. From there on it was one bungle at a time.


Did you go to school for art? 

I studied Illustration in art school. Looking back now I would definitely have used my time to use the print room more. It’s so expensive to use one these days and it takes the freedom out of the experimentation if there are time constraints. Like most students I was probably too hung-over to make the most of my opportunity there. Still, I loved the experience and would jump at the chance to study again. If it was free.


What are you inspired by?
In no particular order – friends, Audrey, booze, artists and their artwork, sex, film, literature. I could go on forever.


Describe your process. What materials do you use?

At the moment I’m still eagerly exploring the mediums of charcoal and paper. I will start building up layers of tone and line and erase everything in a rabid frenzy! After, I will rebuild the image with the help of the mess I have made. I guess it’s similar to looking for images in clouds except I reinforce them with charcoal. Once all this energy has been expelled I will get the gold leaf and compose the piece geometrically with a little more thought.


What is your favorite image you have created?

It’s in an old sketch book from when I was about 18. My sketch books have always been one of the most important outlets of creativity for me personally. They are my journals and the only work I have that I wouldn’t ever part with.


If you could work with anyone on a project, who would it be?

It would definitely be within film or theatre – perhaps Jodorowsky or another crazy director like that!


Describe the most vivid dream you remember.

My parents take me on a walk into a desert where we find a big old barn with flaky blue paint. The shape of the door to the barn is made up from triangles which start small and get bigger a like a Russian doll going in reverse. When the last and largest door is open I sense there is something ominous in the dark within. Then mom and dad throw me into the shadows and slam the door!


It’s Friday night, what are you doing?

Well it’s Sunday now and I’m at Boxhaggerplatz market for a rummage, but writing this whilst having a coffee break. The Friday evening in question I met with a mate and played a game of chess, then we made our way to the indoor skate park where we skated until just after midnight. Then some well deserved beers at some of the local Neukolln bars!


Any advice for aspiring artists?

Get in the habit of making work. Then be a perseverant little bugger!



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