A very warm welcome to Michael Cowell who will be joining us as Guest Blogger for the next two weeks. Michael is a Commercial Artist based in Nottingham, England working in paint, print, photography and digital media. Mike has produced limited edition hand printed gig posters for bands such as The Dandy Warhols, The Duke Spirit, High on Fire and The National, whilst also creating album artwork and other innovative music packaging for a wide selection of signed and unsigned groups.
He has participated in more than twenty exhibitions in the UK, Europe and the USA since finishing his education in 2005 as well as having work published in The Art Of British Rock by Mike Evans, a retrospective of the last 50 years of artwork associated with British rock music.
We asked in 10 questions to get to know him a little bit better..
1. Who are you
Michael Cowell, no business name, I’ve never felt the need for pseudonyms. Based in Nottingham
2. What brought you to Nottingham?
I finished University in Derby in 2005 and had spent a lot of time in Nottingham already due to its vibrant music scene and the DIY ethic of its creative community. Moving here was an obvious next step.
3. What keeps you in Nottingham?
Nottingham is almost perfectly central in the country, giving easy transport access to the rest of the country. Also, I find access to culture important so having the venues, cinemas and galleries that the city does is very handy.
4. What makes you different to other creative people in Nottingham?
My attitude and interests are directed very differently to a lot of the rest of the creative community in Nottingham. A lot of this I think might be to do with being the only artist in the city working with such a focus in not only the creation of gig posters, but also the type of bands that tend to be attracted to my work. This also leads my work to be stylistically quite different to a lot of other artists working in the city at the moment.
5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
Most of the plan for the next five years involves a lot more of the same: relentless working and exhibiting. With the latter, I’d like to push further into new places to expose my work to new markets. Other than that I’d like to spend more time working on and pushing my collaborative comic project with Michele Toler, Indra’s Net. Creating comics is a remarkably slow process and this still hasn’t seen the light of day yet. Five years from now I’d like to be promoting this as a successful self-published title alongside my other work.
6. What do you wish you had more time for?
Apart from working on the comic, just sleep, really. Maybe that and the ability to be a bit more sociable. Being an illustrator can become quite insular sometimes but even when around friends I’m scribbling on beer mats and old recipts…
7. What keeps you awake at night?
Drawing pictures and screen printing. I didn’t drink coffee until I set up my own screen printing unit, now it’s the most important part of the process.
8. What do you think is Nottingham’s best kept secret?
It wouldn’t be a very well kept secret if I told you now, would it…?
9. What would you like to see more of in Nottingham?
More non-council instituted public creative output. In the years since I’ve lived here, they seem to have made things very difficult for people trying to put on small independent gallery shows, start strange little venues or bars, open niche little shops, etc in favour of their own projects which, for the most part tend to be heavily over funded and quite void of any genuine creative buzz.
10. What Big thing are you currently working on?
I have work for a few record labels and independent bands currently in the pipeline along with a few collaborative paintings and art prints. I have also just come to the end of a busy few months of exhibitions in Liverpool, Bristol, Barcelona and Aurora Illinois, which numbered as my 25th exhibition since finishing university, so have structured in a bit more time to work on Indra’s Net in the hopes of having the first issue finished before Michele murders me out of frustration.
You can see more of Michael’s work on