With him having over 30 years of experience in the industry, it was great to have a chat with Danny Pelavin about his work. Along with an in-depth portfolio as a typographical designer, he has a range of experience working in publishing and advertising as both an illustrator and designer. I was interested to see how his approached differed or remained constant when working to briefs within these different areas.
Have you always been particularly interested in typography or is it a part of your work that developed over time?
My interest in letterforms has always gone hand-in-hand with my involvement in art and may even have preceeded my committment to illustration.
Are there any elements of your work that you think best characterise your style?
Characterizing an artist’s “style” is best left to independent observers, however, in all my work, I try to achieve a clarity of intent rather than vague or imprecise nature.
What’s your favourite kind of commission to receive?
I love any kind of assignment where the client has enough confidence in themselves to trust me to do my best work.
What are the similarities and differences to how you approach your illustration and typographic work?
While both are preceeded by the development of a concept independent of formal requirements, a significant difference in typographic design is that it is never independent of the text. In other terms, the words to be rendered determine, to la large part, how the finished work will look.
Having already had a successful career for as long as you have, what changes in the industry have affected you along the way?
“Successful career” sounds a little overstated. My ‘career’ ends every time I am without an assignment and begins again with each new one. The type of work I get, whether it is design, illustration, typography, icons etc. varies with trends in publishing. The emergence of the computer as a tool has been to my benefit since I always worked with technical instruments that are analogous to the features that computer software offers. The ongoing backlash against digital technology in art has left me out of the mainstream of current ‘illustration’, but I’m having way too much fun to be concerned.
How do you see what you do changing over the next 10 years?
In order to maintain my interest and inspiration, I’m, hopefully, moving beyond the things I already “can” do towards those I’ve only wished I could. I’m hoping that will lead me into producing art that people wear, use and benefit from in more ways than by simply looking at it.
© Danny Pelavin, 2011.