Tash Willcocks is, amongst many other things, the Programme Leader for the BA (Hons) Graphic Design course at the University of Salford. As part of her practise she works commercially on a wide range of projects, including album artwork for the likes of Elbow, but also with organisations such as Warner Bros. One of her self-initiated projects, includes the fascinating Mundane-A-Day (currently exhibited at CFCCA), which she describes as ‘a subtle mix of everyday collected conversations, muttered musings and odd observations, delivered in telling typographic illustrations and underlined with that days overheard word’. In this interview Willcocks discusses her inspirations for the project, its intention and potential future directions.
What inspired your Mudane-a-day project? Several things really- my eyes were slowly being consumed by the screen and social media and I used this to make myself take a break and have some time to myself- it gives me breathing space- it was also because the third years at the time were not really moving on a project and I wanted to prove that everyone has time, no matter how busy you are, that if you chip away a little bit at a time, day by day, it grows and improves…. also it was a little bit of an embrace your mistakes exercise – and Ive made plenty haha…
What was the first piece you created? Bizarrely the one that probably kick started it is not in the mundanes- we did a massive wall mural for a place called techhub and I was just going to help colour etc- but I got over excited and we had loads to do so I jumped in to help and did this massive piece of text- it was the first I had done freehand for ages and it lit the fire in my belly. https://www.flickr.com/photos/salforduniversity/8424131760/ http://www.creativetimes.co.uk/news/tech-hub-manchester-transformed-by-salford-designers
Do you set yourself rules in the generation of the project? Not really- it changes dramatically sometimes- just that it needs to be overheard or thought of that day, then it just goes from there- oh and no matter how bad it has to go up- embrace those mistakes.
Does daily production of these works force you to try different approaches? Yes as I get bored quickly- sometimes I do something for a week – like keeping in a circle or a certain grid, at the moment Im annoying myself as initially it was really colourful BUT I seem to have receded to black and white- Im addressing that soon though- hiding my black pens from myself.
How many pieces have you created so far, and how has the work progressed throughout this time? Mundane-a-day utilises social networking as its central means of distribution. How do you see this method being relevant to this project. Over 400-450, its changed and progressed- I like it more now and I still really enjoy doing it- I actually have ace patches in the day when I get really excited when I overhear a good mundaner- or I do something stupid. I loooooove social media- but also hate it- But its a great to get it out there in the wide world, you never know who is looking- but through hashtag experiments I seem to have a good following in Portland/Mexico and Manchester. I don’t live by likes- but its interesting to see who responds to what type of work. I prefer the comments they give me more ideas influence- and the give me two words of wisdom worked well.
Do you draw inspiration from popular posts, and why do you think some pieces are more successful than others? Do you think there is a criteria within which people choose to ‘like’ certain images over others? Usually its if it just looks good- I do occasionally put really long elaborate stories behind them and this gets a good response- quite a few people have enquired if Im going to make a book of them, sometimes I try what I call the “Lady GaGa” effect- where you tag it with a popular # but I don’t really get much out of that- I recently did a sailor with type in his beard- that got the most hits EVER… and lots of love- I think its beards…. or the illustration- not sure- It sometimes depends on what time I post them – early morning post on Instagram get less hits…. but as for likes- I figure they just like it… What opportunities have arisen because of this? Loads- I’ve had commissions, murals, I’m doing a live mundaneaday at the Chinese Art Centre LIGHT NIGHT soon, (http://www.cfcca.org.uk/exhibition/mundaneaday/) been part of exhibitions with people like Si Scott & Sneaky Racoon, Bats for the Walls at 2022NQ, I’m part of #Bagsie in London (http://soapboxandsons.com/bagsie-artists-announced/) and getting photographed by http://jknowles.co.uk/ which I’m pretty excited about, OH and I was soooo proud to do the #BLAB poster with Matt & GFSmith- I was so happy I almost burst. http://soapboxandsons.com/blab17-event-poster-by-tash-willcocks/ lots more… but thats a few things that have come out of it. I’ve also made a lot of friends- and a new face separate from my uni Tash face… How do you see this project progressing over the next few months? I need to build a site to house them, that’s a summer thing- I have a photo shoot with Fantastic fashion stylist Layla Sailor and her team soon- We are constructing an image for me to draw over- that’s going to be an awesome experience…. Other than that I don’t know, I don’t really want to- I’ll take it one mundaneaday at a time….