Getting Closer -a conversation with Luke Ritchie
Welcome to Getting Closer- the Closer&Closer blog. We are here not only here for the bloggerati status and random brand sponsorships that come with internet fame (that is a joke... by the way), but for quality conversations. Not to mention the excuse to drink copious amounts of coffee (or wine) and give you the opportunity to get to know us a little better; after all, we want to get just a little bit 'closer' in everything we do.
Today we want to introduce you to Luke Ritchie. He is a designer based in South Africa (we know... we think this is cool also). He loves mountain biking, cooking and drinking wine- ladies, get in line. He is passionate about design and looks to create high quality visuals through thoughtfulness and exceptional craft. He has worked with- The Wall Street Journal, Mcdonald's, Jack Daniel’s, GQ Magazine, Entertainment Weekly magazine, WWD Magazine ( NY), Men's Journal Magazine, just to name a few. Obviously Luke is talented, however, there is a chance we are a wee bit bias in our feelings, so to keep things fair, we will give you the opportunity to get to know the guy you may well work alongside one day and come to your own conclusions.
Tell us a little about yourself and your work-
I love my job, it’s also my hobby, so I am very privileged to be doing something I really enjoy, truly a God given gift and joy in my life. I live in Stellenbosch, a small town in South Africa, which produces a lot of excellent wine. I love the outdoors, I mountain bike often and enjoy cooking.
Over the years ( 7 now to be exact) I have cultivated a passion for typography/lettering , and recently became very excited about illustration, more specifically; etching and scraperboard style work. I love trying new things, and experimenting, and that is what keeps me excited about my chosen career.
Describe a typical work day for you-
There is not really a typical day for me. As many freelancers know, there is nothing typical about our lifestyles. Sometimes there are days that are more intense than others, working long hours into the night. Other days there’s time to sleep in late and enjoy a cup of coffee with a late breakfast. It’s part of what makes being independent exciting!
Which part of the creative process do you enjoy most?
Exploring. The thought that you are crossing into new territory is exciting and keeps your mind fluid as you engage the many obstacles on the path to resolving a piece of design.
I also love the feeling of completion. The moment when you step back and look at the final piece and feeling really happy with it, knowing all the small decisions and struggles that went into making it.
But I also like finishing something and then having that feeling that it could be better, and staying hungry to see better and better work. That is what motivates me to jump straight into the next piece.
Was there a striking moment in your life where you knew you had to become a designer/Illustrator?
My love of drawing and shading with pencils during my high school years really captivated my mind, there is something so satisfying and frustrating at the same time, it’s an addictive feeling using both sides of your brain to solve visual solutions.
What mediums do you enjoy working with most?
All my work is now done on the PC, but the pencil is still the best medium for me, and my go-to for quick sketches.
If you had unlimited resources, what would your dream project look like?
Probably something like a series of high end products, like a range of whiskey’s or a range of premium tea’s - something like that .It would be a perfect project for me to use my typographic/lettering and etching skills all in one.
I think designing packaging for premium products. Anything that needs a premium, expensive kind of appearance.
Outside of your work, what other hobbies do you enjoy?
As mentioned above. Mountain biking, being out in nature, gardening ( I love succulents! ) cooking, walking in forests and exploring new wine farms.
What is your favorite show you’re watching right now?
I don’t watch a lot of TV, but very happy to have stumbled across Stranger Things. It’s so good.
What was the last book you read that you really enjoyed?
I’m not much of a book reader to be honest, but the best book I have ever read and read daily is The Bible.
What is a common creative block for you and how do you get unstuck?
When I am feeling slow and a little uninspired I always go for a ride on my bike in the mountains. The endorphins and fresh air always sort me out, and when I come back, I come back refreshed with new ideas and fresh approaches to problems that seemed difficult. It is such a good way to take my mind off work for a while and let my brain re organize itself.
Exercise and fresh air are key.
Outside of design, what do you do that inspires your creative pursuit?
As a Christ follower, I am constantly in awe of my father in heaven, the ultimate designer and creator that ever was and ever will be! I am so privileged to have grown up in an area of South Africa that is rich in natural beauty, and to see God’s creation all around me. It’s such an inspiration to me and motivates me in what I do, to know that I was created in his image, to create. To know that He loves me, and has a plan for my life, and has given me a passion for what I do is such a comfort in my life.
Are you an early bird or a night owl?
Definitely more of a night owl. I like the quietness and stillness of nighttime, it helps me focus.
Good dude, right?
Check back soon, we will be updating the 'blog' with interviews form our artists and updates on some of the latest project coming out of Closer&Closer (and there are good things coming, we tell you what!)
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