An Interview with Stephen Millership

Stephen Millership is a freelance Illustrator who specialises in artwork influenced by the golden age of the travel poster with a modern twist.

“Art for me is all about making a connection with people, with the kind of art I do that is relatively easy as people usually respond well to illustrations of their locality.” – Stephen Millership

You may have seen Stephens work on mainline stations, on the London Underground and in exhibitions dedicated to the golden age of the travel poster.

His work has been used by an impressive array of retailers and clients such as The National Trust and many other Museums and Galleries including the London Transport Museum and the National Museum of Scotland. He has also illustrated books for publishers such as Ladybird Books and Thames and Hudson. Other clients include Bespoke Hotels, The Royal Exchange Theatre Manchester and the National Museum of Football.

 

When did you first become interested in art and why?

As long as I can remember, my Mother said I always had a pencil in my hand, I probably caught the bug from her as she used to paint in oils.

 

How would you describe your style?

A retro style with a modern twist, combining my love of the nostalgic and the future.

 

What Inspires you?

I started off drawing illustrations of my home town of Ilkeston, then many views of the Isle of Jura, both locations have inspired me. I can get inspiration from many places, looking out of a window at the way the sky changes to looking at plans of train marshalling yards.

 

What journey do you take to produce your work?

I always do a lot of research, I draw and take photographs. I always say if I can come away from a piece of work knowing more than I did when I started then that is my perfect job.

 

How do you set yourself up on a morning before working?

Make myself a large mug of coffee and stick Vaughan Williams on.

 

Is there any object, place or theme that is integral to your work?

I have to say my home town of Ilkeston although I moved away over 30 years ago. Like many market towns it has suffered over recent years with the decline of traditional industries such as mining, steel manufacturing and the textile industry. I wanted to show the town in a positive light and was thrilled when the local museum commissioned me to do a dozen views of local landmarks., it was a real celebration of the town. The Isle of Jura is also very special as we go there most years, it has a remote, wild character which I have tried to capture in my work.

 

How has your work developed?

I think it has developed into two distinctive styles, the more traditional Railway Poster style and also a more abstract, limited colour palette, exaggerated perspective style, used in my “Lost Destination” series for the design house Dorothy.

 

How would you describe the artist’s role within society?

To make you think, take time to see things in a different light, question your perceptions.

 

What are your plans for 2017?

I have recently started on transport themed illustrations, collectively known as “Speed”, which I am looking to expand. I am currently working closely with an important client in heritage rail, which I am very excited about. It has been a very busy year so far with collating my work for Athena Art and I also have other projects to finish so I am looking forward to a rest at the end of a very busy 2017.