Sharm Murugiah is a gifted freelance Graphic Designer living and working in London, UK. He is also one of the newest members of the prestigious POSTER POSSE and that means I get a chance to talk to this fantastic artist and learn more about the man behind the images.
Blurppy – How long have you been creating art in the pop culture scene? How did you get started?
SM - I had been creating art in the pop culture scene for a little over a year now, after making the brave decision to quit my job as an architect and follow my dream job as a multidisciplinary artist – illustration, graphic design, publication design….
Blurppy - Bold move but you know what they say, “If you love what you are doing you will never work a day in your life.“ That being said, I do BLURPPY full time now and haven’t made ANY money so even though the saying is right, ya gotta earn a living. Good thing is, your art is wonderful so it’s almost like you can print money each time you make a print. Is art your full time job? If not, what else do you do?
SM - My main focus is freelancing as a graphic designer producing work for all types of clients, book covers for authors, Print campaigns for restaurants and other companies, and entering competitions. Although my goal is to get a more permanent working position at an independent magazine as a graphic designer where there is a lot more freedom to produce work every time an issue comes out that is not constrained to what has come before or any particular set style. The ultimate dream job is to do that and produce new works of art too…
Blurppy - We have briefly touched on this in past conversations. I have my fingers crossed for you. Whose work do you admire or collect?
SM - The work I admire the most is that of Little White Lies magazine, I have collected every issue for the last few years and am aiming to collect all of the back issues! The stellar work of Creative Director Paul Willoughby is fantastic, often illustrating the cover of Little White Lies since its birth, Paul has recently left the mag to start up a new company ‘Human After All’.
Paul Willoughby Covers for Little White Lies
Blurppy - What one print, by another artist, blows your mind?
SM - There is so much fantastic work out there but if I had to choose one print it would be Joao Ruas – Magnolia print for Mondo. Its so simple but effective and beautifully detailed.
Magnolia by Joao Ruas
Blurppy - This was a new artist for me but after you mentioned him I went to his site and was blown away. Haunting stuff. Love his work with Vertigo/ DC Comics. Thanks for turning me on to him. With so much art being produced these days, how do you keep things fresh?
SM - My goal is always to produce work with visual puns! For example a rejected book cover idea that I turned into a poster for my take on what authors call ‘Writers Block’. They may be quite subtle and on the occasions where I don’t it’s more about the particular style of illustration I’m working on, for example with the Blurppy Poster Posse Project of Pacific Rim I wanted to create a propaganda style poster
Blurppy - I loved your Pac Rim piece so much I made it the website’s background all last month! (FYI, I desperately need that print for my wall!) Besides working on BLURPPY’s Poster Posse Project, what is your dream project?
SM - The dream project for me would be to produce a cover design for ‘Little White Lies’ Magazine
Blurppy - (Note to Little White Lies…this guy is good…REALLY good, grab him whilst you can!) So, if you weren’t creating highly desirable works of art for adoring fans, what else would you do?
SM - Devote my life to learning the power of flight! Failing that! Independent magazine publishing.
Blurppy – Whoa, whoa, whoa…don’t give up on that flight thing too quickly. Who knows, what could happen, a freak gamma ray accident, a strange reaction to a #2 pencil, the sky is the limit…LITERALLY. Hold on to that dream! What movies are you excited to see this year/ next year?
SM - Every Marvel Movie being made right now!, The Wolf Of Wall Street but next year is but a small year for movies when compared to 2015! Avengers 2, Terminator 5, Independence Day 2, James bond 24, Man of Steel 2, Star Wars 7, Jurassic Park 4, I could go on….
Blurppy - It’s gonna be hard to top the year of movies we have had THIS year but that list is pretty damn impressive. Now that DC has announced the next Superman Movie is going to feature Batman potentially squaring off against Krypton’s favorite son, I’m literally drooling to see it. What is your favorite print from your portfolio and why?
SM - I do quite enjoy my portrait of Ryan Gosling all beaten up in my competition entry for an ‘Only God Forgives’ Poster Comp. I always imagined it being printed with a foil block under the illustration to amplify the beautiful blue and red lighting from the movie.
Blurppy - What’s your biggest pet peeve about the pop culture art scene?
SM - This may sound incredibly insensitive but the sheer amount of people doing it badly! I am all for everyone producing art work for movies but there are a fair few who really don’t get it! They produce very simple photoshop cut outs of single elements from a film and call it a poster. This overflows the sets of posters by artists who have clearly taken time to think about the film and produce intelligent pieces of art! My rule of thumb is always – “Would I hang that in my living room as a center piece on the wall?”
Blurppy - I would say that was more…”honest” than insensitive. That being said, the fans will decide who rises in the ranks of pop culture print stardom. Bad prints will get left to the wayside and good work will rise above. What has been your best experience to date, in the pop culture art scene?
SM - I guess being part of my first gallery show which was for a project called ‘Not For Rental’ a movie inspired exhibition with a twist. It was a great experience to be a part of, and there was no better feeling being part of an experience that I had spent my life attending… the viewing of art in a gallery! Bring On the Solo Show!
Blurppy - Blurppy covered that show and it WAS pretty unique. I enjoyed posting about it and the charities that it supported. What was your most embarrassing moment as an artist?
SM - Producing a piece of work without knowing that it was so strikingly similar to that of another artists that the piece itself polarized the public reaction to some nice comments and some pretty hateful ones! But that is exactly what good art will do!..
Blurppy - IIIIIIIII… remember that! We had a conversation about it and I think you made the right call on that one. (Even though the work WAS pretty damn cool.) What is the best interview question you’ve ever been asked and what was your answer?
‘Elysium’ (newest piece) – Sharm Murugiah
SM - A very condescending “WHY?” After explaining that I used to be an architect and quit…. And my answer to the WHY? was… “If you don’t understand the concept of change then there’s not much point continuing this interview…”
Blurppy - OUCH! (I’m SO glad that wasn’t me that asked “why”.) What do you have on tap for the rest of 2013 and don’t give us that line, “Lots of stuff , just can’t talk about it yet”
SM - I have a couple of book covers I have produced which should be in the shops in November for a UK Based Publisher ‘Old Castle books’. It’s fun as the books are about drugs and aimed at the very care free youth of today so those will be cool.
I’m working on my first officially licensed poster for a cracking TV series with the Hero Complex Gallery And hopefully an ongoing relationship with you and everyone involved with Blurppy and the Poster Posse. OH… and I am actually planning a movie Almanac (a monograph publication, designed by me) with the help of all of the Poster Posse members, if they are interested, and other artists too!, I have not approached anyone yet but if I get everyone I need on board it could combine my love of independent publishing with movie inspired art!
I can’t WAIT to see the Hero Complex Gallery piece! (Sorry folks, can’t tell you what it is but you WILL love it!) As far as the Poster Posse goes, be careful what you wish for my friend. Once you are in the Poster Posse, there’s no getting out! Ok, here are some quick questions, rapid fire, say the first thing that comes to your mind….there are no wrong answers…ok maybe a few but GO!
- DC or Marvel?
For comics? DC as they created my all time favorite superhero – Superman! For Movies? Cant choose! I love Marvel’s attitude towards the movies which they are bringing out which is: ‘Let’s have a bit of fun but let’s do some awesome work at the same time’ And its great to see DC doing something more serious and dark with their characters otherwise we would be overrun with the same type of comic book movies.
- Most Desired Super Power?
The power of flight
- Who is your favorite Star Wars Character and why?
Jar Jar of course! ONLY KIDDING no, it’s got to be the Fett man God I hope we get a solo movie about him and at the end we see him fly away from the Sarlacc Pit.
- Best movie snack?
NOT POPCORN!! too crunchy may be some jelly sweets
- Growing up, what was your favorite TV show?
A consistent TV show throughout my adolescence its definitely The Simpsons
- What’s the best way for fans to keep up with all you have going on?
I’m pretty active on most of the social media gizmos.. Twitter, Facebook ect… but I update my website and blog regularly.
- What’s your favorite pop culture event?
We don’t have that many over here in the UK and Comic Con is light years away for me to get to but for me its every time I go to the movies. Whether its on my own or with friends, I love movies so much that the whole day or events leading up to the screening are special….
- Who is your favorite fictional character of all time and why? (Can be comic books, movies, literature, etc)
As you may have guessed it’s Superman, as some may say he is a pretty boring character but his creation, his pivotal moments in literature and film are second to none and that idea of flight will sore through nearly everyone’s dreams at some point….
- Would you rather design the poster for an upcoming Star Wars movie or the upcoming Blade Runner sequel?
Most definitely Star Wars as every idea for a Star Wars poster has been done so it would be an awesome challenge.
Ok so he had me going for a SECOND with Jar Jar Binks and I ABSOLUTELY agree with him…POPCORN SUCKS! Smells like sweaty feet if you ask me. Huge thanks to Sharm for his time and enthusiasm with the Pacific Rim Poster Posse Project (Phase 1 & Phase 2). Here are some links to follow this talented bloke and be sure to stop by one of his sites and tell him “BLURPPY sent you.”