Awhile ago, Scottish artist Bruce Mackintosh caught my eye with his zine Return of the Girl Gangs, gathered black and white illustrations reminiscent of Raymond Pettibon and Charles Burns. I caught up with his to discuss work-hobbies balance, publicising his work and furthering his capabilities...
Hi Bruce! Could you introduce yourself and a brief background into your career?
Hi there, my name is Bruce and I've been doing freelance illustration for the last few years. That's alongside my main job as a youth worker, through that I get to work in media, issue-based work and travel a lot. There's a lot of aspects that keep it fresh and intricate, while allowing me a lot of freedom to do my own work and keep hobby projects on the go.
You've been running Girl Gangs for awhile; how did that project come about and how do you see it progressing
The project started out as a way of collecting several international artists I'd wanted to work with when I got my first exhibition and collecting it all in one place. I felt it was a better way of getting a mixture of mediums and styles while connecting with a much wider audience. The plan is to release a few solo zines with the aim of having a small distro for small run zines, prints and clothing. The zine is on a break until I decide what the direction it is going in, but likely to be put out under BOTANICS.
How do you find Irvine as a location to work in?
My work is split between Irvine and Stevenston for the youth work element, but also takes me to Edinburgh and Glasgow semi-regularly with various art projects that have been going on. Irvine, alongside my hometown of Kilwinning, has so many interesting nooks and crannies that are interweaved with a lot of social history as well as industrial history surrounding it. I find attitudes and a lot of the darker elements in society to be driving force in some of the illustration work and sense of the dark humour. Hugh Loney is an inspiring local resident who makes really interesting and constantly evolving work and bases a lot of it on the beach. He's always working on sculpture, photography and projects using a lot of natural resources, so that's really inspiring although it's a completely contrasting style and medium to my work. He is probably a strong driving force in my work rate and output.
How do you think your style has progressed over time? How do you challenge yourself?
I feel my technical ability is getting better, but I still feel my work can be a bit naive and lacking elements I'd love to master. Shadow, texture and proportion are always the devil to me but I suppose that's a challenge in itself. I'd love to work a lot bigger and have time to experiment, but because I'm currently working on a lot there's no time, but the positive is the materials are all there waiting. So it's just a matter of time, but I'm content with where I'm at.
Have you much lined up for this year, exhibitions, collaborations and the such?
Lots of projects in production and/or at the planning stages at the moment. Looking to put out some new zines under a new project, which will be focussed on one collective or a person's artwork in a series of zines. Also began working on a skate vid with some local friends and we'll be looking to film that over the next year. The long term plan will be to do an exhibition for the film launch or just continue it as a hobby at our leisure. The Pinact album I designed the cover for was just released on vinyl and they played in my local record shop, Rare Trade, so that was really exciting to see and be a part of. Also been designing posters for Nice n' Sleazy in Glasgow which is great fun too, as I've seen some of my favourite bands play the venue. The plan should be to have an exhibition later on in the year.
Anyone you'd like to shout out?
Too many to mention, so I'd like to thank anyone I've ever worked with in the zines, exhibitions and anybody that's attended our events or supported my work in anyway. Thanks very much for the interview and keep up the good work. Thanks.