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Tigerlino by Kester Hackney

September 1, 2020

Tigerlino is the business from Web Designer and Graphic Artist Kester Hackney. Printing from a cabin in Deal on the Kent coast, he designs, lino cuts and prints a whole array of boyish delights from robots to mermaids, rock heros to crazy birds.  Kester creates some wonderfully midcentury-esque work that give a modern day nod to the likes of Cliff Roberts and Jim Flora.

I caught up with Kester to ask a few questions.

What attracted you to working with Lino cutting after working as a Graphic artist and Web designer ? 
When I started Tigerlino, I was working as a graphic and website designer and my creative output was largely influenced by creative directors and marketeers. I found it incredibly liberating to come home from the office and just do something to satisfy my curiosity and to expand my knowledge of artistic practices. I was lucky in the sense that I still had a full time job, so I wasn’t dependent on monetising my creative hobbies at that point. I realised as soon as I started linocutting just how satisfying it was and how much I enjoyed everything about printmaking. As much as I was having fun, I was getting increasingly frustrated by the printing part as I didn’t have a reliable way of printing my designs. I was losing about half of them through mistakes and smudges. Basically I needed a decent press. So I decided to do a kickstarter style project to raise the cash required. I promised that for a modest pledge, I would provide my backers with one copy of every edition that I printed with the press over the course of a year. That went really well and I ended up buying everything I needed to get up and running. Inks, drying rack and a really sturdy used press from eBay. I think the backers got about 18 different prints in the end so it all worked out quite well.

Your work has a great mid century feel to it and gives a nod to the likes of Cliff Roberts and Jim Flora. Who would you say are your main influencers or who’s work do you most admire from this era or modern day ? 
I’m a big fan of both Cliff Roberts and Jim Flora’s work, so thank you! I really like the wacky lines and distorted perspective. It reminds me of all the cartoons I watched as a kid. I am in absolute awe of so many artists. Contemporary artists like Vicky Lindo, Melvyn Evans, Grayson Perry, Peter Green, Hilke MacIntyre, littlefriendsof and Bryan Angus. I have to mention Robert Tavener and Charlie Harper also. I’m constantly blown away and feel very inadequate when I see some of the work displayed by the people I follow on Instagram.

Where does your subject matter originate from ?
Most of the time I have a couple of ideas knocking around in my brain that need to come out. I always find that it’s like scratching an itch until you manage to find the time to turn them in to something tangible. I don’t have a hard and fast method for turning an idea into a print. Sometimes I’ll know exactly what I want to achieve, or I’ll just take it as a it comes and start putting elements together straight onto the lino and adapt and add until I’m happy. In a way, I quite like to work like that, so it’s a bit of a surprise to see where the design ends up. I’m always on the look out for strange shapes and patterns in trees and curtains. (It’s called Pareidolia, I just looked that up). I get a few ideas that way.
I tend to see shapes iand get ideas from mottled bathroom tiles Kester ! Don’t worry you’re not alone lol

Do you find living on the coast another inspiration for your work ? 
When I first started learning about printmaking techniques, I drew quite a bit of inspiration from coastal and nautical themes. It served me well to help me understand printmaking processes and it gave me a path to follow. I’m a lot more confident in the process of creating linocuts now and with that, I feel like it’s opened up the door for a bit more experimentation, humour and free flowing ideas. I’ve always been much happier making things that I don’t necessarily think I have seen anywhere else, which is probably why much of my printmaking involves some weird subjects and characters. There are some incredible printmakers who do printmaking with nautical and coastal themes.
(Kat Flint being one of them.)

Is the Tigerlino work more of a hobby or contrast to staring at a screen all day ?
I’m acutely aware of the time spent looking at computer screens writing code for websites, so to get away from that is a welcome relief. I’ve always spent time relaxing by creating and making things since I was a kid. I joined instagram quite a while ago now and called myself ‘Tigerlino’, which initially was going to be a place I could post pictures of the projects I was involved in. Most of my time since then has been a printmaking journey. Since instagram has been used so widely by the creative community, we’ve all got quite a platform for keeping in touch with each other, being able to share what we are up to in our sheds, kitchens and living rooms, and getting support and encouragement from fellow creatives across loads of different disciplines. It’s enabled me to keep in touch and discover with so many people.

I’m liking these crazy characters.

Where do you see your work going, any plans for larger runs or perhaps greeting cards etc ? 
I’m really excited about the momentum I’ve built up creating prints. I generally do quite small editions of prints, as I like the intimacy of only a small number of prints being created so I’m not looking to increase that. I’m going to make an effort to enter some printmaking exhibitions and will see where that takes me over the next couple of years. I’ve recently bought a CNC routing machine. This machine can cut and carve sheet materials to really precise measurements based on computerised artwork. I’m really interested to see how I can use that in my printmaking process. I’m not looking at it as a way of replacing carving lino, which is one of my favourite aspects of linocutting, but I’d like to see how I can use it to make something more interesting and experimental textures alongside my characters. I’m also working on some ceramic projects which so far have been really good fun.

What ideas do you have for possible future prints ? 
I’ve been thinking recently about doing some large colourful reduction prints based on some mid century furniture designs alongside more strange little characters and weird people. I’d like to try some bold reduction prints that use many colours. The first ever lino cut I did was a 7 layer print of a boat about 8 years ago. It was ridiculously ambitious and really put me off multi layer printmaking. I think I’m ready to try again.

Loving these quirky birds (of course). Many thanks Kester for taking part today, If you would like to see what’s available on his website you can head over to his Ebay shop here , or catch up with his day to day musings on IG here.

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 1, 2020 11:20 am

    Love the warped perspectives and gorgeous colours. What a talent!

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