Steve Larder (with Rum Lad) at Broadway Cafe bar, January 2012
So what motivated you to become an artist?
For as long as I can remember it’s something I’ve always done. I’ve always scribbled and drawn on stuff. I can remember my gran tearing up cereal boxes when there was no more paper and I’d draw on the inside of the card. When I realised you could call drawing your living, I thought I’d give it a proper go.
What's an average work day for you?
Wake up, check emails, reply to emails, then work on whatever I’m doing. There’s not usually a typical day in the studio - if I’ve got a project it might mean I have to go to the library to get some research and make copies, or if I’m doing zine stuff, it’ll be folding and stapling. It just depends what’s on the cards. Basically a lot of drawing and very little else.
Pigeon badge designs,
How did illustrating Lee Rosy’s wall come about?
I had an exhibition lined up somewhere else, which fell through, so I was thinking of other places to look into. I've always liked Lee Rosy’s because it’s a nice little café. I just emailed the owner Andrew and said ‘Hey I’ve got this, are you up for it?’ and he replied back, ‘Yeah, come in, we’ll talk’. Then one thing led to another. It was pretty intimidating because I’ve never done anything of that scale. I spent many evenings pretty much locked in there, just on my own whim, drawing on the walls.
What elements did you keep in mind whilst drawing in such a public space?
Because I’m used to working on such a small scale it was definitely a challenge to have this massive blank canvas. I suppose they wanted something to look nice to attract people into the café, so I had to think are they going to see this when they pass by the window or are they going to get up close. It was quite scary when people would be drinking coffee and trying to talk to me. I’d be like ‘Hi’, all shy...
What are you up to at the moment? Any current projects?
I’ve got a couple of records I’m designing the labels for. One's for a chap in France who wants a 7-inch done and another are for a band in Holland. I hope to get another zine out by the summer, which is hopefully going to be a split zine with someone else. I’ve usually got 2 or 3 things on the go just to keep me occupied. If I get bored doing one thing, I can just jump onto the next.
You write and draw your own zine, Rum Lad. What were your inspirations when you first started it?
When I first started getting into zines, comics always felt quite intimidating to me because they looked so polished. I realised zines didn’t have to be really over-produced and glossy. It’s inspiring to see something with a more simple approach but still with a lot more substance. I like how anyone can make one, cobble a few pages together and tell a story.
Goose Fair, Steve Larder,
for LeftLion #43
There’s a definite element of cartoonist style in your illustrations. Do you like to inject humour into your work?
I find it really hard to keep a straight face sometimes. I like poking fun at myself - just like to break it up a bit.
What do you think of Nottingham's art scene?
Nottingham’s great! The main reasons I moved here was because of its music and art scene. There are tons of little networks and places where people can just meet up and chat. I’ve volunteered in galleries and made friends there, and through that has come projects. It’s a nice little supportive group of people that like to make art for the sake of it.
You play guitar in a band as well. What influence does music have on your work?
With the band we find ourselves touring a lot - and with that comes the inevitable tour diary and anecdotes. I’ve basically combined touring experiences and tried to make it into a story. I’ve got tons of material as a result of playing in a band and playing in places I would never have been to otherwise. The material keeps me going, it’s an incentive to work.
What’s next for you? What’s on the horizon for Steve Larder?
Carry on making best of what I’ve got. Eventually I’d like to be able to call illustration my main source of income and employment. That’s my main goal, being able to call myself a full time illustrator .
From the How To Make A Zine book, Steve Larder
Steve has organised a special zine/band night at the Chameleon on Saturday 15 September. On one floor, zine readings from Chella Quint (Adventures In Menstruating), Marv Gadgie (Gadgie) and Sarah Thomasin (Chick Thing Poems). On another, Hexis (from Denmark), This Thing Is A Curse (from Sweden) and Nacht Und Nebel (from Notts). Marching Stars and others will be running stalls. Kick-off 8pm, £6 on the door. More info here.