Theo Cordner

Meet 19-year-old graphic designer and illustrator Theo Cordner.

‘I’m in love with amazing imagery, music, video games, cooking and geek culture,’ says Theo. ‘I play Dungeon and Dragons with my girlfriend and our friends!’

Theo is also obsessed with snapbacks and, even more intriguingly, geometry: ‘I’m still exploring ways of integrating its elements and aesthetics within my own work.’

Tell us a bit about yourself…

I’m a full-time student currently studying my BA Hons Graphic Design degree at Havering College and full-time Non-Stereotypical Black Man!

I first got into working with digital art after picking up the brilliant Computer Arts magazine before going on a trip to China with my school. I read through the whole entire magazine at least 5 times. I was fascinated with the ability to be able to create all these brilliant pieces of artwork with a mouse or tablet! I started working with Photoshop at school, and then at home, teaching myself the basics of manipulation and the various tools within the program. Fast forward a few more years and I’m introduced to Vector Art and Illustrator. From then on I was hooked on using that Pen Tool!

I was initially quite active on the creative platform DeviantArt, I later moved over to the Behance Network to find a melange of brilliant talent featured every day on the main page. A friend of mine also put me onto twitter, after me wanting nothing to do with it. What a fool I was!

Within the past year and a half, I’ve been followed and I have followed a number of creatives who have helped me so much with my creativity and motivation, and not to mention getting a vinyl skin of mine up for sale on Banana Skins and being featured in Ampersand magazine! The journey I feel is still just starting for me, and I enjoy working to improve myself constantly, I hope to develop a style which is versatile and yet memorable very soon, as well as adding a few more skills to my repotoire such as an added confidence with photography, basic web design skills and learning a bit of motion design!

What are your inspirations?

I particularly love things of the future (films such as Akira, Ghost In The Shell, Tron and Blade Runner are some brilliant looks into the fictional future), traditional cultural art (particularly Mesoamerica and Oriental art) and urban street art, with the latter being something I’ve taken with me throughout my work.

Also, I’m somewhat of a music addict! So I take the time to listen to everything for inspiration from hip hop to breakcore and jazz to thrash metal! Most of all, it’s the people out there that make brilliant artwork that keep me motivated, if not to create artwork in general, but to create artwork that is equally memorable and enjoyable.

What is your favourite piece of work you have produced?

Very possibly You’re So Wise (which was initially a present) or my Key of the Mind series of mandala-inspired pieces, primarily due to the fact I had tasked myself to create a new piece every day, for 5 days, and I saw every single improvement in the later pieces I had created, increasing in intricacy, styling and conceptual ideas. Every single new piece I create becomes my favourite it seems however!

Who is your favourite ‘creative’ in your chosen field?

In particular, I would say the Vector artist Jared Nickerson (aka J3Concepts) has to be my main key source of inspiration in the industry right now, his works mix popular culture, designer trends, humility and amazing characters that have become instantly associated with his style.

Another I would have to give a honorable mention to would be Kate Moross. She’s an inspiration for me as a student to say, no matter what age or academic progression you’re at, you can create amazing pieces, that will be seen and talked about. Her style and work ethos are incredibly motivational, mixing things from pure graphic design, photography and typography styles, not letting one branch of creativity hold her down and branching out into various others.

See Theo’s portfolio and his blog; say hello on Twitter, too: @mind5tate.

All images © Theo Cordner. To view the images in clearer detail, click on them.


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