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George Addy on “Illustrating the meditative state”

George Addy is a young illustrator in Leeds painting murals (and even bathrooms) across the city. The mind behind the artwork of Nice People Magazine’s Compilation I vinyl, George is an artist with a brilliant imagination and a unique flair.

“I’ve always loved to draw and paint” explains illustrator George Addy, the artist behind the cover of Nice People’s upcoming compilation vinyl. Evolving from this early love of art making, George admits that it was the animated sci-fi film Fantastic Planet (1973) that made him take his work more seriously. After this nudge towards experimenting with new techniques, George was motivated to apply for the Illustration course at Leeds Arts University. Indeed, while scrolling through George’s Instagram you can see the resemblance some of his work bears to the contorted creatures and surreal landscapes of the 1973 film.

With Fantastic Planet providing this early source of inspiration, George explains how the ideas behind his work are constantly changing; feeling most inspired when “I’m on my own, my working space is clean and I’ve got nothing else to do”. Alongside changing inspirations, George admits that his way of working is also something that is constantly developing as he continues to play with new methods of art making: “It’s a weird one. I don’t really have a signature style or process, but I have a way I draw things and capture moods and I hope that gets reflected through the work I make.” George elaborates that whilst his creative process follows a logical progression - beginning with research that he then translates into sketches before devising a final composition - he rarely has an end image in mind: “It depends on if there’s a brief or not. If someone wants something quite particular then I usually know how it’s going to go. But if the brief is well open like this album cover has been, then I don’t know what it’s going to be like. That’s the best way to work for me.”

Discussing the research and inspirations behind his artwork for Nice People Compilation I, George explains how he has recently been looking at Buddhist paintings. Inspired not only by their colour palettes and compositional attributes, George appreciates how they are often “Illustrating the meditative state”. Looking at the compilation album cover, this influence becomes instantly clear. The artwork is a serene, but nevertheless intricate, puzzle of islands connected by bridges and flowing pathways, temple-like structures, winding bonsai trees and dusty pink and purple clouds, scattered with charming illustrations of fish, birds, monkeys and even a flying pig. This focus on nature was what stood out for George in Buddhist paintings,and is something he has obviously tried to replicate within the dreamy world he has created for Nice People Magazine.

Whilst working on commissions such as the Compilation I cover, George has also painted a number of murals (and even a bathroom!) around Leeds: “I really love painting large scale.” George reveals. “I like sloshing it all about and loosening my grip on design and layout. It’s hard to get everything onto a piece of paper sometimes, so working bigger gives me freedom and creativity to always try new techniques. It’s ace to work outside too!”. Continuing to work in paint, George divulges that he is working on a series of canvases for an exhibition he would like to organise in the future. When asked more about his future aspirations, George simply explains: “At the minute my practice is just on the side. I’d like one day to just do creative stuff and get by too; what a dream that would be.”. As well as this series of paintings, George is also working on another album cover (for his brother’s album, entitled Adlab-1995) and has also been commissioned to paint another large-scale mural, this time in Armley. Be sure to look out for this if you’re in the area in the coming months.

If you’re in the mood for escapism without leaving your room, look no further than George’s hypnotic cover for the Nice People Compilation I, available from October 5th at Hyde Park Book Club, Come Play With Me, Jumbo Records, Eiger Studios and the Nice People online shop.

Hannah Stokes

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