Your browser currently is not set to accept Cookies. Please turn it on or check if you have another program set to block cookies.
Please click here for more information
Already registered at LN-CC? Sign in here
If you are new to LN-CC, you can register for an account below and:
To kickstart the positive change that 2021 needs, LN-CC is broadening its Conscious initiative with a series of community-centred, sustainably-minded launches that support the creatives, campaigns and causes that are changing the world for the better. Today sees the unveiling of T, a project that invites a selection of multidisciplinary artists to harness the everyday power of a ubiquitous wardrobe staple, while we donate all profits to a charity of their choosing.
For T 01, LN-CC asks illustrator and animation director Kyle Platts to apply his signature comic abstraction on a capsule of environment-inspired warning label T-shirts. While encapsulating the Sheffield-born, London-based creative’s humour, all proceeds from this item will be donated to the Environmental Paper Network, helping in its push for transformational change in the pulp and paper industry and wider society. As T 01 launches, step inside the doodled daydreams of Kyle and explore the reality of just paper production and use can better contribute to a clean, healthy, just and sustainable future for life on earth.
Firstly where are you, how are you and what has this interview interrupted you from?
My body is currently located on a farm in Derbyshire, our landlord kindly requested their flat back with short notice last year, so me and my girlfriend took the opportunity to get out of London for a bit. I generally feel well, I’ve been going for long walks around here. This interview has momentarily interrupted me from online gaming with my friends, I’m mostly online gaming these days in lockdown. There’s nothing that comes closer to simulating being in the pub than hanging out online and drinking beers.
How do you like to be introduced? If you can summarise yourself and creative output into a few lines, how do you like to do so?
I’m telling people that I’m an illustrator and animation director, just those two things really as I don’t want to be one of these polymath people. I haven’t got time to do more than those two things and do them well, and try to fit in online gaming too. My work has evolved over the years but I think the sentiment remains the same. I make character based work that is influenced by comic abstraction, trying to communicate by using humour to find common ground with strangers.
Researching for this chat, I came across an old interview that revealed your childhood fascination with violence, while you were otherwise shy and mild-mannered. It also includes arguably one of my favourite ever interview quotes; “As I watched that anal probe come out of Eric Cartman’s arse, and as I watched Kenny die for the first time, I knew my life had changed forever. From that point on all I wanted to do was emulate South Park and one day make a cartoon of my own.” Does this still true today?
Yeah that’s so true haha, and it’s more true than ever because South Park is still going and somehow doesn’t suck like The Simpsons.
Where do you think you’d be if it was not for that experience?
Well I probably would have just seen some other irreverent cartoon later down the line, but let’s say they didn’t exist at all, I would probably end up working at a garage. That’s what my biological dad does (who I don’t know), now as an adult I find myself wanting to work on old cars so there’s something hereditary going on there.
While mid-to-late 90s South Park changed you, it wasn’t until you were studying for a fashion BTEC that you realised illustration could be a career option, which led you to FdA Illustration, Camberwell, your first commissions and beyond. Was there an epiphany moment or work that affirmed your choice?
It’s such a strange thing to try and cast my mind back to a time when I didn’t even know illustration was a profession, but I really didn’t at that point. It was a few things rather than one moment, my tutors on the fashion course were starting to say ‘you’re shit at pattern cutting and you’re just drawing all the time, why don’t you do illustration’ and I was like ‘what’s that’? They also used to have some magazines in the college library where I first saw work from Camberwell students like Kate Moross and Paddy Jones. They were only a year or two above me but they seemed like they had got it all figured out, so I honed in on illustration at Camberwell.
Despite moving away from fashion design, you still work in and around it. How has your relationship with fashion evolved since studying that BTEC and specifically, your relationship with T-shirt design?
There are parts of the fashion industry that I look at from the outside and really admire. The way editorial photography can walk the line between something commercial and fine art is inspiring to me, and that’s the same with collections too I suppose. For me the opportunity (and challenge) is to try and create something that finds a place in that world. Something that works well as an image on a page or on screen won’t necessarily translate in fashion. To create a wearable design that isn’t shit is incredibly difficult. But honestly that’s why I keep designing shirts, because it’s a constantly evolving challenge.
What attracted you to take part in our T project?
The thing is I was a bit cautious at first as I am aware of brands using ‘sustainability’ as the new must have marketing term, and I wanted to be sure that this kind of project would be done well. I’ve been to the LN-CC store for various events and I just got the sense that this would be done the right way, and getting to choose the cause to receive the profits was a first for me too.
Could you introduce the why, what and how of your T? What was the catalyst for the designs – where were you and what were you doing when the idea for the designs first evolved?
Infographics and signage always draw my attention, so my mind wandered to that kind of aesthetic when I was tasked to create something on the subject of the environment. I like warning labels, and unintentionally funny illustrations of people getting hurt by heavy machinery
etc. So I set out to create these environmental warning labels but with a bit of humour to them.
And your relationship with the chosen cause – why EPN specifically?
There is a connection between myself and the Environmental Paper Network because I worked with them on an animated project. The animation was created to help promote their cause through the campaign unwrapthetruth.org. The site aims to inform people about the increase in consumption of paper globally despite brands claiming that they are environmentally conscious. They were great people to work with, and we all need air to breathe, so I consider protecting rainforests to be an important cause.
Beyond T-shirts, what do you hope our community takes away from the project?
Taking action and donating to the cause is a great thing, but ultimately the biggest impact will come from people changing their own habits. The power that we wield collectively is where we spend our money, so by not giving money to irresponsible brands they will
be forced to take action.
Where do you hope to see your T 01 designs being worn in February and beyond?
It’s been snowing and raining here for so long I would just be happy to see some T-shirt weather to be honest. But yeah in a perfect world I’d see someone wearing one at my favourite pub back in Camberwell, full of friends and feeling at home.
Finally, 2020 was some year. What excites you most about 2021?
2021 is all about getting back to nature, I’m out here in Derbyshire and I’ve been going on long walks around the Peak District. It’s good to feel knackered at the end of the day rather than restless. When warmer weather comes and lockdown ends I’m going to explore
up around the lake district too. I grew up around here and I can’t believe how much I took it for granted, coming back now as an adult has given me a whole new appreciation for it.