Chris Thornley, also known professionally as Raid 71, was kind enough to take time out of his hectic schedule to answer some questions for us! He has had many publications in Shortlist magazine and let us use his awesome Gravity poster late last year for our review of the film. Check out what he had to say below and marvel at his artwork throughout.
Hello, Chris! Please briefly describe who you are and what you do.
Hi, my name is Chris Thornley aka Raid71. I’m an Illustrator mostly but I have been known to step into other fields such as Animation, Typography and Web Design.
I’m also working on a few comics.
What made you decide to become a professional graphic designer? And when did you decide that this was what you wanted to do?
I didn’t know I wanted to be a designer until I went to enrol at Art college, my portfolio was full of comic work; I was really guided by the lecturer at the time, doing a bit of everything sounded fun.
How exactly did you start out as a designer?
I’d finished 3 years at Art College, 2 years on a Graphic Design course and 1 year studying print;
I was all set to go to University when I landed my first job as an animator, totally unexpected, I worked on numerous presentations mainly for architects.
After 3 years of working I decide to go to University to study Typography.
What are your key influences/inspirations in your work?
Everything really, bit of a cop-out answer, but films, music, comics other artists; David Hockney was the first big influence, not so much his work but his approach – the way he explored technology and his work ethic really inspired me.
When did you get your first major break as a designer?
I was asked to join a new company working in IT (I did a bit of programming)
I negotiated a deal that let me set up a design department, that quickly grew faster than the rest of the business, I was very lucky to be mentored by a few of the other directors.
After 2 years I left and setup my own business
You do a lot of film poster art, how do you go about creating your own in the first place?
Feet up watching the film, then scribble a couple of ideas and see if anything works!
What makes an alternate film poster, such as the ones you create, so appealing?
I wish I knew the perfect formula, I guess with older films you tap into something that makes an emotional connection; it’s much harder with films you haven’t seen – sometimes the studios will give you a few clips or promotional images.
Finally, what advice would you give to potential designers out there trying to make it big?
Don’t worry about making it big, just do work you enjoy and put as much passion in there as you can.
Also don’t be worried if you lose the odd pitch, just keep pushing.
Short and sweet but wise words indeed from Chris there. If you’re interested in furthering your skills in graphic design, then why not join The GKBC Creative Academy? It’s free to join, completely flexible and will expand your creative limits to the full!
And why not show your appreciation for Chris’ work by checking out his Behance portfolio too!