Claire Latchem, a.k.a Superfex, is an incredibly talented, 20 yr old college student from Plymouth, England, currently studying illustration at Plymouth University. Some of you may already be familiar with Superfex and her creative abilities. I recently had the opportunity to chat with her briefly and get to know her history, her work and what inspires her with her creative process. Im quite sure there is something we can all learn from this inspirational interview.
VECTORVAULT: Hi Superfex! Tell us a bit more about your background. What did you want to be when you grew up? How did you get started as an artist/designer?
SUPERFEX: As a child when people asked me what I wanted to be it would either have been a zoo keeper or a vet. Since a young age I had always wanted to work with animals. As I got older I did a week of ‘work experience’ at a farm thats open to the public not far from my hometown. I guess thats what put me off! Waking up at 6am in the morning to go capture some goats that had escaped (and do escape on a regular basis) was not fun at all.
I remember when I was about 13/14, I was asked to pick my subjects to study at school. Of course you still had some that were compulsory but I looked at some leaflets and saw one for photography. I decided to take that class purely because I hadnt done photography before and my dad had a nice b&w film camera.
Over time, illustration became a hobby which I did in my spare time and it slowly took over my life. I find it funny that now I draw animals, sculpt animals, paint animals and I even have an animal themed exhibition coming up this year so although its not exactly what I pictured as a kid, its still related.
Give us a little more information about your work. Did you go to school to study? What or whom inspires you the most? Are there any particular websites that you frequent to find inspiration?
I studied photography for 6 years at various colleges and I even did the first year of a photography degree at Plymouth University before deciding it wasn’t what I wanted anymore and I transferred to the neighboring illustration course.
I started using Photoshop for photography; though I was hardly ever taught anything about it through the teachers. I started playing around with illustrator about 3-4 years ago because a friend implied that it would be too hard for me to use.
Well I guess I showed him!
I find inspiration from literally anything: posters, magazines, art, photography, food, sculpture, anything really. If I see something I like then I photograph it and stick it in my scrapbook. I always carry a small sketchbook and a camera around with me wherever I go.
Books and Magazines are a great source of inspiration. I purchase Computer Arts Projects and Clutter Magazine on a regular basis. Theres nothing like a good book to flick through too. I often go to my local Waterstones to look through their collection and if I happen to find one I like Ill order it from Amazon when I get home.
I found setting up an account on Deviantart years ago extremely beneficial to me. Not only was I able to talk to like-minded people and get useful critique on my work as I progressed, but I have also met some great friends and even picked up the odd job here and there. I think being part of an art/design community is a great way to improve your skills, develop your own style and have fun!
Some of the illustrators that have influenced me greatly are: