Graphic designs and good times: Exploring Harrison Edwards’ latest works
You may have noticed that some of Manchester’s best food and drink venues go above and beyond when it comes to their aesthetics. Whether you’re grabbing a slice of pizza at Crazy Pedro’s or taking a shot at Southside Tequila, the venue’s visuals never fail to match the vibes. But have you ever considered who’s responsible for the designs behind these good times?
Meet Harrison Edwards, a Manchester-based illustrator working behind the scenes on your favourite venues. His projects bridge a gap between commerce and art, setting a great example for aspiring graphic designers. Edwards’ designs can be seen all across Manchester, and typically incorporate bold lettering, bright colours, and iconic images.
His studio ‘Happy Go Lucky‘ heads the official art department for The Liars Group (think Cane & Grain and Crazy Pedro’s) and has designed for first-date favourites Junkyard Golf Club and Southside Tequila bar. An impressive line-up to say the least. His Crazy Pedro’s pizza box was even shortlisted for the World Illustration Awards!
Outside of the studio, Edwards’ put on an exciting pop-up show from 17-18th September. We headed over to Ancoats to check it out and had a great time. Titled ‘Hello Old Friend’, the pop-up displayed contemporary graphic artwork in a comfortable party setting. Similar in style to his previous work, but with more experimentation using paint, Edwards’ art did not disappoint.
It was clear that local hospitality venues were keen to support Edwards’ work, as the event collaborated with The Jayne Eyre cocktail bar and Neon Tiger. Further local support from music groups Left, Right & Centre and Community ensured great tunes from 12 – 11pm. The space gave visitors an opportunity to view the work, drink, dance, chat, and enjoy!
We caught up with Edwards following the event to ask him a few questions. We started out by asking him where he finds inspiration, and what advice he has for students interested in illustration:
“I’ve lived in Manchester for 10 years now, and I feel very lucky to call it my home. It has been very good to me. It has changed a lot in 10 years – it keeps getting better. With that comes new buildings, new shops, and new people, all of which enhance the tapestry of the city. You’ve only got to look around the Northern Quarter to see a bunch of people doing things their way. This is inspiration enough for me – do things the way you want to and hope that other people connect with it on some level. My main advice is that you have to do it for yourself first of all. I’m very fortunate that I get to do this full time, but I do it because I love it. I’m obsessed with it. If I’m not doing it for a client, I’m doing it for myself.”
We then asked about the artistic process behind ‘Hello Old Friend’:
“Before this exhibition, I’d never really been a painter. I’m primarily a digital illustrator and designer, so it was a lot of trial and error and fun, figuring it out as I went along. In that regard, it was arbitrary to start with. But somewhere along the way, some things start to click. I felt more confident and began to experiment more and more, trying to find a balance between my professional and personal work. I’m looking forward to expanding my process further, and seeing what else I can make.”
Like what you see? Click here to check out the prints available from his studio.