- September 11th 2017
This Autumn/Winter 17 we’ll be introducing you to the three artists behind our Barbour International T-shirt capsule collection, finding out what influences their graphic style and the ideas behind the final designs.
We caught up with Tom Selwyn-Davis to chat about how his passion for motorbikes inspires his work and the design process behind his Barbour International T-Shirts. Find out what Tom had to say…
You have been riding motorbikes since the age of 16, how has that passion resonated into your work as a graphic designer?
I have always been keen on understanding how things work, normally by taking them apart and trying to put them back together again. A motorcycle has an internal combustion engine that is easily accessible to tinker with, so from a young age I would always try to figure out how I could fix my bike if it broke down. This eagerness to understand how things work has always run in parallel to my work; If I’m creating an illustration I like to make sure that all of the bike is included, not just the pretty bits.
In particular, how did your love of biking manifest itself into the graphics on the t-shirts for the AW17 Barbour International collection?
I love the fact that within biking you have various sub cultures. For this collection I wanted to explore these sub cultures, from the correlation between type of helmet and bike ownership to the niche racing categories, such as side car racing, that exist within the biking world.
What motorbike do you currently ride and what bikes have you had in the past as your father and grandfather were keen bikers?
Both my Grandfather and Father were keen riders of British bikes; between them they have owned various Triumphs, BSA’s and Matchless’. I guess the love of British designed bikes trickled down the family tree as I ride a Royal Enfield everyday come rain or shine! My first bike was a French 1974 50cc Mobylette which you had to pedal to get going, from there I moved onto a more reliable scooter and then a little 125cc Suzuki. After travelling in India on an Enfield I fell in love with its single cylinder thump and decided I had to have one upon my return to London.
You recently motorcycled across the Himalayas, and plan to travel across Vietnam. How different is it motorcycling in such locations to the busy streets of London where you live?
You always have to get used to the riding culture of different places and although it can be quite hairy at first, once you get acclimatised it becomes like second nature. However, in London you don’t tend to have lorries overtaking other lorries on hairpin bends like you do in the Himalayas. That being said you always have to be on the ball regardless of location!
Are you working on any personal design projects at the moment that our readers would find exciting?
I have been travelling around the UK quite a bit on my bike recently. From the Highlands of Scotland, to the south coast and everywhere in between. I plan on producing a series of illustrations that highlight some of the best scenery I’ve seen whilst riding. They may just end up on my wall but it will be a nice reminder of the places my two wheels have taken me.
What is your design process when working on a brief such as the one from Barbour International?
I draw a lot of inspiration from the past; I love looking through old photos of my grandad partaking in trials events and hearing stories of how he used to stuff newspaper down his jacket to keep warm whilst riding in the winter months. Using this as a resource fuels my intrigue into researching more about the different aspects and cultures that have surrounded the motorcycle scene, both past and present. From there I begin to doodle until I’m happy with a drawing. It then gets digitised and polished up on the computer!
Tom wore his design B.Intl Trucker T-Shirt.
As you know we are giving our social followers the chance to design the graphics for a t-shirt that will be available exclusively in House of Fraser – what are your top tips for designing a motorcycle inspired t-shirt print?
Never stop looking, take lots of photos, draw doodles and make notes. You never know what, when or where you will find something interesting. If you keep doing this you will soon build up a fantastic source that you can use for inspiration. Good luck!