Hobart based Sam Lyne tells us about leaving grunt design work behind to pursue a career in freelancing as a illustrator & hand lettering, to working on solo/ group shows in Melbourne & Hobart, and how the Hobart art & design scene has been starting to thrive.
Where did you study and what were some of your first jobs?
I did a Bachelor of Visual Communication at the School or Art at the University of Tasmania down on the waterfront here in Hobart. At that time, I think I was envisioning my future self as some sort of streamlined, clean-cut designer. As I progressed through my degree, I came to realise that wasn’t really for me. I did grunt design work in a studio, making brochures and the like, for about a year before making it on my own as a freelancer, predominantly focusing on illustration & hand-lettering in my practice.
What was your plan for graduating and what actually happened? The plan was to move up to Melbourne I think. Then it became apparent that wasn’t really necessary for my career. For my work, I do a mix of personal projects, illustrative works etc, that I do prints of and stock in shops, a market or two, along with the occasional solo/group show. The shows have been predominately in Melbourne at this stage, would love to get a few more on the cards in Hobart though. In amongst all that, there’s a steady stream of commissions and design work coming in to fill in any free time I might’ve had.
Any passion projects you would like to share? A lot of my passion projects come through in my illustration pieces, usually due to current obsessions. One project revolved around my great love of old scientific specimen illustrations, and so, in a desire to have some of my own, I simply decided create them. So far, my first series has been of cetaceans (whales & dolphins), hopefully I’ll have time in the near future for some more self indulgent series in the same field. Maybe some Tassie critters.
How did you develop your style as an illustrator and what tips would you have for others? I think influences from art school, peers and various children’s books growing up have definitely shaped my direction as an illustrator. I’ve always been fascinated with detail and navigating through them to discover hidden things. I had a number of children’s books back in the day that featured a lot of that. Art school was fantastic in exposing me to different ways of thinking about projects, how I might go about developing them and being surrounded by peers who work with different mediums & techniques. I can safely say I wouldn’t be where I am without my time there.
What is the design landscape like on your city and where do you fit in? The Hobart art & design scene has been thriving these last few years. It’s exciting to be around and apart of. There are a plenty of illustrators, artists, designers, drawers & doodlers around to hang out with, talk out ideas and collaborate with. Like most designers around the city, I incorporate several different skill sets, which helps create a little niche for myself. While my work is predominately illustration based, I’m able to use the common design suite programs as well. During university I was brought on to help out with the student magazine, which introduced me to InDesign and publication design. Another little pie I have my fingers in every now and again.
What career advice would you give your 16yr old self? You aren’t going to be a scientist, stop that. You’re also terrible at maths, stop that too. You don’t even need points for your impending bachelor. Do all the art subjects, just keep drawing, put together a portfolio and you’re in.
What’s on the cards professionally and personally in the next 12 months? I’ve been working on a pretty big project these last few months which I’m keen to see the end product of. It’s been exhausting at times, but I’m really happy with how it’s turned out. Aside from that, I’d love to get a solo show together for Hobart & Melbourne. Along with a big collaboration show in Hobart featuring all the talented folk I know. I should probably play less video games… I suppose that’s more of a New Year’s Resolution type thing though.