AW/16 Box Design | John D Kilburn

AW/16 box design by John D Kilburn
portrait of john kilburn

50 Screenprinted T-Shirt Deal – Sent in his screenprinted illustrated box.


Which animal / character is your favourite on the box? & why?

I like the prawnmobiles (1, 13,24) and the dolphin men in a fair isle jumper (44). Actually, the dolphin man was inspired by a recent trip to the beach near where we live in ST Germans. We found a dead dolphin and my girlfriend said it reminded her of me..

John Kilburn's Boxes on the dryer

If we look closely at your box design, we can see the creatures being controlled / driven. Can you explain this?

No, not really. I have no idea what is going on. The design is meant to be a kind of scientific attempt to make sense of these strange animalistic vehicles using a classification system that fails to do anything of the sort. A bit like one of those displays in a museum where they have lots of badly stuffed animals in unnatural poses with useless out-of-date information. Maybe these animals represent life-forms from a newly discovered ecosystem or civilisation– perhaps somewhere very, very small and hidden. I have tried to add some useful scientific annotations, but really, they are all nonsense and completely useless too.

close up of john kilburn's boxes
John kilburn's boxes stacked up

– What effect has living in Cornwall/ Devon had on you as an artist? How do you feel about Cornwall’s/ Devon’s creative community?

It can be hard being a creative person in Devon and Cornwall. There are so many talented people here and most of us would like to stick around because we fall in love with the beautiful beaches, countryside and community. Unfortunately, there are not always the jobs to support us so some people do end up moving away to look for more regular work elsewhere. Those who stay often develop an authorial or entrepreneurial approach and this results in some beautiful projects and dedicated practices that are absorbing, wonderful and sometimes delightfully strange. I think increasingly a lot of established illustrators are moving out of London and reaping the benefits of cheaper rent and a healthier lifestyle. A lot of my work is inspired by the animals I find on the beach or the fungi I find in the woods, this is because I also grew up in Devon and I spent a lot of my free time exploring and foraging.

Printing john kilburn's box design
T Shirt Design by John D Kilburn

– Which traditional techniques do you use those most? & why?

I like drawing with pens and pencils and I enjoy using things like graph paper or isometric paper. When I get the chance, I will do some silkscreen printing and recently I have been using a risograph although I am not sure you would call that traditional – the one we have is about 20 years old so it is a bit of a relic. I do make things out of paper such as pop-up books and traditionally bound booklets, comics and zine type things.

T Shirts printed for John D Kilburn as part of the 50 Screen Printed T Shirt Deal – Find this deal HERE.

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