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Under Cover Artist: Stuart Jones

5 August 20 interview: LeftLion

We’re back in print with a bang, and Stuart Jones’ cover – a love-letter to all things print – is the cherry on top of this 48-page cake. We chat with this month’s cover artist to find out more about his work...

Tell us a bit about yourself…
I’m a freelance graphic designer, originally from Llanelli in South Wales. I studied Visual Communication Design at Middlesex University, and then stayed to work in London for about the next 20 years. I moved to Nottingham just over four years ago.

What was the inspiration behind the cover? 
As August’s LeftLion is the first printed issue for a while, I wanted to do something that referenced the joy of print media. I’ve heard so much over the years about print being ‘dead’, that I just wanted to do a cover that was bright, positive and celebratory. I also thought that “it’s good to be back” is probably something that’s crossed the minds of a lot of business owners in Nottingham, as they’ve gradually begun to open their doors again. 

How does it compare with some other projects you’ve worked on?
It’s been lovely to contribute some work to LeftLion. Every month, I look forward to seeing their covers. I love that, aside from the logo, there’s no restrictive template, and I think it’s resulted in an incredibly diverse collection of artwork. 

What was the biggest challenge in creating the piece?
That open brief! Most graphic design work is done in response to a client’s brief, so it can be a bit scary when there isn’t one. But when Ashley [Editor] said that this issue was a return to print, I thought the cover needed to be about that.

Tell us about some projects you’ve worked on in the past…
After graduating, I worked for a small agency down in London. That was great; really varied work. Among other things, we did book and CD covers for various clients, and also a magazine about feng shui. After that, I worked for various magazine publishers on titles such as J17, Sky, Look and Marie Claire. Lately, I’ve been doing lots of work for Sonic Cathedral, which is a mate’s “boutique record label” – helping out with artwork and social media things, and I recently helped out with a load of signage for the post-lockdown reopening of my boyfriend’s pub, The King Billy in Sneinton.

What have you got planned for the future?
It’s sometimes scary being freelance – not knowing when you’re going to get work, then getting stressed if a couple of jobs happen at the same time… And then everything went a bit quiet at the start of lockdown. Work is starting to pick up a bit again now though. I’m probably too anxious as a person to be freelance, really!

Is there anything else you’d like to tell the LeftLion readers?
Support print media, if you can. Keep picking up LeftLion. Check out the Notts Zine Library at the Nottingham Contemporary. Get involved. Make your own zines. Print things. Oh, and wash your hands and wear a mask.

Stuart Jones website

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