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Shaun Horlock, Artist & Designer

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Artist and Designer Shaun Horlock

This story is a true jewel in the Humans of Bournemouth crown, as it concerns a very naturally-talented artist and designer. We have the honour to introduce Shaun Horlock…

When you’re running a publication like this, it helps to keep a list of people you want to interview. On that list, there are a few names belonging to people who we would LOVE to get talking to, but they’re so busy or so good at what they do that the interview is unlikely. Apart from actual, living celebs from Bournemouth, of course. Poole-born artist and designer Shaun Horlock is one of those names.

Having followed his career since its beginnings, it was clear from the start that this guy was going places in terms of art, graphics and fashion design. From the clothing brand that put him on the map – Openmind – to his tattooing career at Westbourne’s Black Lodge. He’s always been so busy, pinning him down for an interview has never seemed possible. But a chance in-person encounter is all it took. We were able to get him alone for a while to tell his story…

YOU HAD A TALENT FOR DRAWING AND DESIGN QUITE EARLY ON. HOW OLD WERE YOU WHEN YOU REALISED THIS TALENT AND THAT THERE MIGHT BE A FUTURE IN IT?

The first memory I have isn’t one from my own brain. It was a home video of me when I was three. I used to draw with a hooked hand and I would turn the paper upside-down, tongue sticking out. And I would be doing that, instead of what my brothers were doing, playing around in the garden and stuff like that.

It was good to see that when I was around 12 or 13, but I guess I found out I had a talent for it when I was in Year 10 in Graphics class. So, I was 15 when I realised I could cash in on it. My brothers were getting jobs at 16 and I didn’t like the idea of that. I was in bands at around that time, and a couple of my band friends needed logos designed. So I spent that summer as a designer of T-shirts and album covers.

DO ANY ARTISTS INSPIRE YOUR DRAWING STYLE?

At the moment, I try not to focus too heavily on who inspires but more on what inspires me. I think, back in the day, when I was starting out on the venture as a graphic designer, there were an artist that was my major inspiration. Absolutely love this guy called Dan Mumford, who is a T-shirt designer. I loved his work rate and how much focus he put on his work being set apart and completely different from other people’s. Ten years down the line, you see loads with a similar art style to his. But he pioneered it, which was really inspiring.

As for what inspires me; I used to be obsessed with Pokémon. The style of it, the tale that was told. And other than that, I am inspired by historical figures that have made an impact. People like Tesla, Graham Hancock and Alan Watts.

TAKE ME THROUGH YOUR CAREER AS A DESIGNER, FROM THE BEGINNING OF OPENMIND…

Openmind started around a year after college finished when I was 19. In between that and the band logos, I tried my hand at a few YouTube videos. That was in setting up a design business called SHDesign. It was a vinyl cutting company. Making stickers for cars and stuff like that.

There’s a long and personal reason as to why I called the brand Openmind. Essentially, I had a really rough time one summer. Came out of it feeling like I needed quite a few changes in my life. I still had some good experiences and it led me to the point where I was thinking, ‘There’s more out there than what I’m getting.’ It was a point where I was depressed and couldn’t face the outside world. Openmind saved me in a weird, roundabout way.

I took all the lessons, what I was good at, what I wasn’t good at, and decided to make something creative. Worked on the project in the dark; didn’t tell anyone for a few months. And it all started from there, really.

AFTER RUNNING OPENMIND FOR A LITTLE WHILE, WHAT SPARKED THE MOVE INTO DOING TATTOOS?

When I was 13 or 14, I used to love Miami Ink. And a few years ago, my friend Abbie was getting into tattooing. She was an artist who had just finished uni. And then after about a year of doing Openmind, she messaged me quite out of the blue saying, “We have a space at the shop. They’re looking for an apprentice. I remember you saying you liked my stuff. Are you interested in this position?” That was in 2014.

So, I did the apprenticeship. It was a great apprenticeship but I was running my business on the side. And really, for the next couple of years, I flitted from being full-time in the clothing, full-time in the tattooing. Working the weekdays, working the evenings, the lot. And it got to a point where the business was doing really well, but I was doing less of what I enjoyed, which was the designing side of it and the drawing. I was doing everything else: liaising with manufacturers, running the social media, marketing campaigns, the groundwork, the promotion. And so I sat down and thought, ‘What am I doing?’ when all I wanted to do was draw, really.

The clothing slowed down after that. I think it was quite a natural process where the drawing took over and I just fell back into the tattooing. And I haven’t looked back since.

YOU DRAW INSPIRATION FROM ANIMALS AND SPIRITUAL AND MYTHOLOGICAL IMAGERY. WHY DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DRAWN TO SUCH IMAGERY AS A DESIGNER AND WHY DO THEY APPEAL TO PEOPLE?

The reason I find them appealing is I think there’s a lot about ancient history that isn’t brought to the forefront. We have to look at our society pragmatically and think that we’ve all come from somewhere. And, in my opinion, to better understand where we are and what we’re doing to this planet – even how there are similarities between cultures that aren’t geographically near each other – I think it’s all tied in with ancient history.

I think a lot of people are fascinated by what they could achieve back in the day. You think of the size of the pyramids, the scale of them, why they’re there. And I feel like people naturally gravitate towards those things.

Not only that; there are so many belief systems in the world that it’s quite interesting to look into all of them. Pick what good parts there are about them and use them for your inspiration.

WHAT IS THE DEFINITIVE FAVOURITE THING YOU HAVE CREATED AS A DESIGNER?

Two years ago, I did a wolf illustration. It was part of a series of animals I was doing, inspired by Native America. I spent a lot of hours on that drawing and a lot of sleepless nights! It turned out really nice and I think it’s one of my proudest pieces to date.

In terms of clothing, my favourite is probably the Flower of Life T-shirt I did. It’s an all-over patterned T-shirt and, for some reason, it hit off. Not just over here but in the U.S. as well!

As for tattooing, I think I’m still a long way from being fully satisfied with what I’m doing. That’s the curse of an artist.

IF YOU HAD NO BUDGET OR EQUIPMENT LIMITATIONS, WHAT IS THE DREAM, AMBITIOUS DESIGN YOU WOULD CREATE?

I think, in terms of tattoos – at least with creative direction – I would love to be able to draw endless, freehand illustration and use the entire body as the canvas. That’s quite an ambitious goal; can’t see myself doing that in the next ten years. And with art itself, I had this vision a few years ago to create a massive art studio and draw on every single square inch. Every surface that is plastered.

AS A DESIGNER, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ANY LIKE-MINDED CREATIVES?

Creatively, don’t compare anything you do to someone else. I’m talking specifically for people who are just starting out, doing art. They’ve just set up their Instagram account, they’re on 100 followers and they’re posting their first ten pieces of work. It’s very easy to find your way on the homepage, and find someone who’s 38 to 45, who has hundreds of thousands of followers; their work is esteemed, it’s worldwide, everyone knows them. It’s very easy to cut out the process of actually doing the work and then thinking, ‘I’ve failed’ before actually trying it.

The other big one for me would be that failure isn’t a bad thing. I think this is what’s helped me get over hurdles. If your post isn’t doing too well or a product that’s failed – don’t take it so emotionally that it debilitates you. Look at it from a more logical perspective and think, ‘What is there that I could do to change this?’ And usually there are very concrete reasons as to why something didn’t work out.

At least from my point-of-view, success has been a repeat succession of failures in the right direction.

WHAT IS THE DREAM OR END GOAL FOR YOU?

For once, right now, I’m at a stage where I don’t need to worry about where I’m going. A year ago, that was all I could focus on, because I had to! As I mentioned earlier, way back when, I tried YouTube. I feel like that’s a good platform to branch out on. I’d also like to teach art in the future. Maybe not in the most conventional ways, but it’s a very important thing — if you’ve cultivated mastery of a subject — to eventually pass it on to someone. And I think that’s something I missed out on when I was starting out. Seeking advice from someone who had already made it.

And obviously, I’ll say again about the massive art studio. If I were to have a house or a dwelling, more than 50% would be a space that I could just create in.

If you want to know more about Shaun, his art and tattoos, check out Openmind on their Facebook and Instagram pages. Or just head on over to his website here.

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Hannah Elkins, Musician

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Musician Hannah Elkins
Photo courtesy of Hannah Elkins

Ahead of releasing her first single, we had a chat with musician Hannah Elkins. Where did her journey in music begin and what are her hopes for the future?

Dividing her time between the hustle-and-bustle of London and the Bournemouth music scene, we were lucky to have a few words with musician and singer Hannah Elkins. As she goes to release her first single, it seemed like a good time to hear about her beginnings in music…

ARE YOU FROM THE BOURNEMOUTH AREA?

Yeah – I grew up in Bournemouth. I studied at Leeds University, and then came back to Bournemouth, before moving to London last summer. But most of my life has been spent in the area.

WHEN DID YOU FIRST DECIDE THAT MUSIC WAS WHAT YOU WANTED TO DO?

My mum is a singer herself. She’s very musical and runs a choir in Bournemouth. So, in a way, I had no choice. I grew up singing and it was just what I knew to do. But it was really at secondary school that I realised that it was what I wanted to do for a career, and what I went to study at university.

DO YOU MODEL YOUR STYLE ON ANY ARTISTS IN PARTICULAR?

My favourite artist is Lianne La Havas. She has very delicate, beautiful vocals, with quite hard guitar sounds. For me, it was the first time I had heard that kind of contrast in music, which I fell in love with. Another one is Jessie Ware. I just found out that she was classically trained, and I studied classical singing at university. I think that’s why I love her stuff so much – you can hear she’s just got this amazing voice in there. She’s a huge inspiration to me.

TELL ME ABOUT YOUR FIRST GIG…

I started writing my own music probably quite late in comparison to others. A lot of them, you hear they started writing when they were 12. For me, that didn’t happen until I went to university. Because I studied classical singing, and then I went for a year abroad in the Netherlands to learn to play piano. And it really changed my perspective of music and how I wanted to approach it.

So I started sitting at the piano and writing my own stuff. And then when I went back for my final year at Leeds, I just thought, “I’ve got to do this!” Took a lot of courage, but I booked my first gig at Hyde Park Book Club. Lovely little intimate venue – it was actually quite terrifying because it was so intimate. We had about 70 people in this room. I just rocked up with my notepad (with my lyrics on it) in one hand and my little keyboard and sat in front of these people, who were the most attentive audience I’ve ever had. And that was it – I was hooked.

NOW LET’S TALK ABOUT YOUR UPCOMING FIRST SINGLE…

It’s called After the Midnight. I don’t have a set writing method with any of my music. Normally, I’ll find this idea, work around it and build the song, but with this one, I had just a chorus – two lines and two chords that I knew I loved. Had no idea where I was going with it. Even when I stepped into the studio, I didn’t have the song in full! Bit risky, I know, but I like a challenge. I don’t know if I’d recommend it…

So, I worked with my friends Elliot Wenman, who plays guitar, and Niko Battistini, who is a Bournemouth-based producer. With those two, I created this song.

When I started writing this, I had started a different mind state of how I wanted to write. So, it was included in a couple of other songs I had written. There was the theme of this midnight, the stars, the universe; it just fit into this collection that I was working on at the time.

WHY HAVE YOU DECIDED TO LAUNCH YOUR SINGLE SPECIFICALLY IN BOURNEMOUTH?

I am really excited to come back and do the launch here. That’s because After the Midnight has been a collaboration with a lot of Bournemouth musicians and artists. The artwork was done by a girl called Amy Leonard, who is studying at the Arts University. She’s done some brilliant artwork for me. Plus the photography has been done by Alice Parmenter, who’s also Bournemouth-based. And then, as I mentioned earlier, the production from Niko. There’s such talent in Bournemouth, and that’s where this single has come from.

WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE BEST THING ABOUT THE BOURNEMOUTH MUSIC SCENE?

In Bournemouth, there is this real market of music-lovers. There is something called Sofar Sounds, which is run in Bournemouth. I performed for them a couple of years ago, and then I volunteered for their team afterwards. It’s a brilliant event where they basically get three acts and take them to an intimate venue. Audiences can apply for tickets, and they don’t know where the venue will be or what the lineup is until they’re emailed a few days before. They tell you at the beginning of the gig that they want you to pay attention to the artists and give them that respect, which I think can be lost in some of the bigger venues. London, for example, can be slightly saturated.

WHAT IS THE DREAM OR END GOAL FOR YOU AS A MUSICIAN

Ultimately, it’s to write music that people can relate to and want to listen to. As long as there’s someone there who is listening and says that they like it — that’s the dream, really.

Read more amazing and inspiring stories from the talent of Bournemouth in our Humans section. And find out more about Hannah on her Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

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Stephanie Wyatt, Miss Earth 2019

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Learn more about Stephanie Wyatt, 19, from Dorset, as she has been crowned the new Miss Earth 2019…

At the end of last month, Stephanie Wyatt was crowned Miss Earth England 2019 at the Arden Hotel in Birmingham, sponsored by Millennium Balti in Leamington Spa. She got in touch with Humans of Bournemouth with full details on her story and what it’s like to be “Miss Earth.”

WHAT ARE YOUR DUTIES AS MISS EARTH?

As Miss Earth, I will be representing England on an international platform of millions of people around the world. Since I have also been rewarded with the title of ‘Beauties of a Cause Eco-Ambassador’ for my accomplishments, my duties include working with environmental, eco-activities and other social causes.

WHAT’S YOUR ADVOCACY?

My main aim is to advocate the preservation and restoration of Mother Earth. From a young age, I remember being exposed to the harsh reality around me and knew I had to make a change. When I found out that I could make a difference, I knew I had to carry on doing what I was doing.

DO YOU BELIEVE THERE IS A STIGMA ON PAGEANTS?

Despite the stigmas, Miss Earth is different to your everyday beauty pageant. It is an environmentally-focused competition. A platform for change. For example, one of our challenges that was judged was to create an “eco-warrior” outfit. I decided to make mine completely out of real flowers. I believe that we are sending out a message here, showing the public that we all have a responsibility to preserve and attend to what the world we live in needs. Which fights against any stigmas.

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT GOING TO THE MISS EARTH FINAL?

I am extremely honoured to be put in the position to attend the final. Which is the third-most prestigious platform in the world to represent England. I’m also privileged to meet so many like-minded women. I’d like to thank the Miss Earth England organisation and I hope that I will do my country proud. This really is a dream come true for me.

DO YOU HAVE ANY OTHER PROJECTS BESIDES FROM MISS EARTH?

I want to be socially and environmentally responsible for our earth. That’s why I created my own project in 2017. I investigated how I could tackle the world’s second-largest polluting industry, which is clothing. I thought of several ways to reduce this problem and also need those in need at the same time. That’s why I decided to aid those whom are struggle with period poverty. My first steps to making a difference were deciding to set up workshops at my local library, where the public could donate their unwanted clothes. Once generous individuals had donated, I was then able to up-cycle them into re-usable sanitary wear for girls in Kenya. This can make a big transformation on a girl’s life in Kenya since they can go to school now in comfort and not have to worry about their period getting in the way of their education.

WHAT DO YOU PLAN TO DO DURING YOUR REIGN AS MISS EARTH?

I hope to set up a lot more like-minded projects, similar to what I have done before. I’m particularly interested in helping Third World countries; they are one of the main reasons why I put my heart and soul into the work I do.

Find out more about the Miss Earth pageant on their Facebook page. And for more inspiring stories about the locals of Bournemouth, Poole and surrounding areas, check out our Humans section.

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Jack Lenton, Personal Trainer

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Personal Trainer Jack Lenton

Meet Jack Lenton. His lifestyle is his career. As a personal trainer, he owns his own business and is able to train clients worldwide.

Learn more about how he decided to become a personal trainer and how his passion for fitness began. Jack also desires to help others develop their own career in the fitness industry…

ARE YOU ORIGINALLY FROM BOURNEMOUTH?

No, I grew up in the south of Somerset. Then I decided to go to Exeter University, so I lived there for a while. After that I lived in America for 18 months. I’ve lived in Bournemouth for the past year. My girlfriend lived here, so it made sense for me to move here with her.

WHAT DOES YOUR PROFESSION INVOLVE?

My day-to-day job is mainly online coaching and training. I also employ people to help with my business and coaching — I love being able to give people the chance to do what they love as a job. We mainly coach one-to-one sessions, giving the clients personal advice on themselves and how their body works and what suits them. Nevertheless, we also coach in groups as well; they don’t tend to be any more than 40 people. An individual’s ability determines what group they are put in. As a group, they will be supported as much as possibly needed.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO GET INTO FITNESS?

Fitness was the only thing that kept my attention; I didn’t really enjoy school. All my efforts went into fitness and sports instead of education. Therefore, when choosing a university course, exercising science caught my eye. It was the only course that for fulfilled my desires at the time.

WERE YOU INTO SPORTS AT SCHOOL?

Of course! It wasn’t weightlifting or strength training — I was too young for any of that. I tended to play more standard sports such as football, basketball and I tried a bit of trampolining. As a kid, just being active was my priority. Fitness has always been a key aspect of my life.

WOULD YOU SAY YOU LIVE A STRICT LIFESTYLE IN TERMS OF FITNESS?

I have made my fitness lifestyle strict because that is the how I prefer it. My mental and physical health has improved by working out daily. Although it never limits me in terms of my lifestyle, since I enjoy it so much, it’s more of a hobby than a chore.

HOW LONG DID IT TAKE FOR YOU TO START SEEING RESULTS ON YOUR OWN BODY?

I was looking at photos of myself the other day. From when I was about a year into my training and my body was so different. It took me about two years to see a massive progress. For a long while, I wasn’t very sure on what worked on my body type in terms on fitness wise. I found that, I noticed what I was doing wrong before finding what I was doing right. Over the years, I’ve increased how much I train. Before fitness and training was part of my daily routine, I was working out about five times a week. My personality is quite addictive, so that certainly helped keep myself on track.

IS SOCIAL MEDIA IMPORTANT TOWARDS YOUR CAREER AS A PERSONAL TRAINER?

Social media makes a significant impact on my career since it allows me to coach worldwide. My personal trainer career is no longer restricted to local people; because of social media, anyone can reach out to me. It also benefits me in terms of meeting like-minded individuals from anywhere and everywhere. Those who share the same passions as me and are part of the fitness community.

WHAT IS YOUR END GOAL?

Right now, I hope to carry on what I’m doing and making money from it. I also hope to keep employing more and more people for my business. This means I can help them gain experience and earn money from doing something they love as a career, just like me.

Don’t forget to check out Jack’s Instagram and website to learn more about his coaching!

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