1. Who or what are your greatest inspirations?
Mr Robin Hidden. He was my sixth form Art teacher at King’s School Macclesfield. He was a truly great illustrator himself, so god knows why he was teaching. Anyway, he gave me the belief that I didn’t have to have a normal mundane job after I left school. He gave me the knowing confidence that if I worked hard enough, I’ll be an illustrator when/if I grew up.
2. Describe the process you go through when producing an illustration, do you start with the good old pencil and then move on to the computer?
Depends on the job… sometimes you need to sketch it out if it’s a complex idea… but usually I work directly on the computer.
3. Out of all the illustrations you have done, can you pick out any personal favourites?
I tend to hate most of my illustrations the minute I’ve sent them to the client… but wading back through my back catalogue for the sake of answering this question I’d say ‘Listening at Home’… (attached) It was for an exhibition at Cornerhouse in Manchester a few years ago.
4. Your print shop at http://www.thestanleychowprintshop.com has some great iconic people and landmarks in there, who is there you still want to draw?
I’ve been recently reading about a lady called Gloria Steinem, she was political activist in the US during the 60′s and 70′s, and I guess she still is.. she intrigues me.
5. Is it a challenge to balance the commission work that you get with drawing for pure enjoyment – or is it all pure enjoyment??
It’s an absolute challenge… There are some clients that are absolute pain in the arse; there are some jobs that pay well, but are as boring as fuck and you wished you said no to the second you agreed to doing them… To balance this out, I usually do something for myself for the sake of my own self-indulgence and enjoyment in between commissions, and sometimes during commissions just to remind me that I illustrate for the love of it.
6. Little Woody was really good, do you plan animate more of your illustrations?
I’ve recently added an extra member of staff… his main interests is animation, so we’ve been exploring in this area… plus we’ve recently just finished our first full animated infomercial for Transport for Greater Manchester, which will be aired in the coming weeks.
7. What are you working on at the moment, what’s next for you?
At the moment I’m working on a pretty big project for a rather large company that sell hamburgers (apologies for the ambiguity!!). Also I’m doing some branding for the soon to be launched ‘Get me There’ Manchester Travel Card scheme, the animation we’ve just finished is part of this. I’ve been commissioned by the New Yorker magazine to illustrate all their writing staff, whilst working for them on quite a regular basis anyway. In April next year, I also have an exhibition at the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (fka The Chinese Art Centre) in Manchester… so yeah, I have my hands full for the next few months.