It seems like anytime I’ve tried to create work that I think people will like, it never works out.
Owen D. PomeryART . October 30th, 2021
Who are you Owen ?
I am an illustrator and author, living in London. I work across architecture, concept, editorial, brand and comics.
Where this passion for modernist architecture comes from?
My educational and professional background is in architecture, so I’m still fascinated by the built environment, and therefore it features quite a bit in my work. I think I like early modernism for its aesthetic, but also for the romantic notion of its founding ideals. Of course, history and society has found its faults, but it has such a noble dream, that I find it hard not to admire.
For you, what’s this dream exactly?
Just the idea that there could be another way to live, a way that is healthier, more equal, more efficient, the general embracing of ‘the new’, and that people thought of it optimistically and worked towards making things better. It also feels like the last time there was a proper ‘movement’, that crossed all the arts, design, psychology etc. Utopia might be a bit of a dream, or an ever-shifting mirage, but it’s still a helpful ideal to stive for, I think. And I like the fact there are monuments to those ideals, in the form of buildings, that still exist today.
Could you give us some songs (or podcasts) you’ve been listening to recently while working?
My music totally shifts around depending on mood or what I’m working on, but recently a few of the bands I’ve been listening to are Porridge Radio, The Goon Sax and Shitkid. All worth a listen if that’s your thing. In terms of podcasts, I think I listen to a lot of the same ones as everyone else, but I really enjoyed Avery Trufleman’s Nice Try! about designing utopias
Is it important for you to set aside time for personal projects?
I think it’s really important to create work for yourself. You will always make better work when you are passionate about it, and people can really see that in what you create. It seems like anytime I’ve tried to create work that I think people will like, it never works out, whereas so many things I have done just for myself have gone on to become paid jobs or leads to something much more exciting. This is not a guarantee of course! But at least you created something you wanted to do and made a project you really care about.
Could you show us the first piece you were really proud of. (that snap moment when you say to yourself ‘ha! this is it!’)
There are several moments in my career so far that have felt like little direction changes or ‘level-ups’, but the one that springs to mind is the illustration I did of a bookshop a couple of years ago. It kind of signified a bridge between my architectural work, regular illustration, and my comics, and for the first time it felt like maybe they had all joined up in a way that I kind of liked. Of course, I hope to keep on evolving and learning and I’m sure my style will change again, but that point felt quite significant.
What’s your favorite illustration you ever worked on?
I think that question might be too hard! There’s often a tension while working on a drawing, because you’re never quite sure if you’re going to be able to pull it off this time, and once it’s done, it’s hard to form your own opinion, as you get affected by how people receive it too.
That said, I really enjoyed working on my book Victory Point, as it was a world and a story I had created completely. The style felt new/fresh to me, and people seemed to really enjoy it when it was done, so that meant a lot. I will go for one of the panels from in there, the top-down view of the main character when she wakes up in her childhood bedroom.
You often draw isolated worlds on blocks, do you know where this idea is coming from?
The places themselves are a complete amalgamation of things and locations that interest me, all unconsciously mixed together and then reimagined later. These influences could be from anywhere too; books, films, trips away or more frequently very everyday things transposed into a different setting.
The drawing style itself probably comes from a mix of things as well, such as clear line European comics, early isometric PC strategy games and illustrated children’s books explaining how things work with cutaway drawings.
Could you guide us through your creative process, from the initial idea to the final result?
It’s a very simple process, so it really won’t take long, but basically it start with a loose pencil sketch.
Then, when everything is in the right place, I ink it up, scan it in, and do all the colour work digitally.
The three stages are quite clearly seen in this concept piece I did the Game of Thrones game ‘Tale of Crows‘.
What are your references in sci-fi (books, movies, comics,..)
I think my references are probably similar to a lot of peoples’, as it’s hard not to be influenced by things like Blade Runner and Alien; they’re classics for a reason. But I really like the shear bombast and colour palette of The Fifth Element, and I recently saw Prospect, which is such a great, small budget sci-fi/western. I think sci-fi is best when it’s at its most human, so any little clues that make you genuinely believe people live in these worlds, are always a winner with me.
What do you like to do when you not drawing?
Drawing is quite intense and focussed, so generally I like to do the opposite as often as possible. Getting outdoors and hiking, going climbing or cycling, all help with getting some fresh air and exercise, as well as hopefully finding some inspiration for whatever I end up drawing next. I’ve been enjoying getting back into analogue photography again recently, also playing petanque and finding more time to read and research has been keeping me busy too.
What are you going to do just having answered to this final question?
I’ve just finished a job and I have a much-needed window of free time, so I’m heading out for a quick walk along the river and a coffee at my favourite kiosk.