Leigh Pearce is an illustrator who has produced a variety of posters, record sleeves, an endless amount of characters and more as well as more dynamic works such as animations and the design of apps, working for companies like Vodafone, Virgin Media and more. As with a lot of the artists I’ve researched for this project I first found Pearce in an issue of Computer Arts, for which he supplied an “army of brightly coloured chirpy retards”, by which he means characters. I loved these characters as soon as I saw them, they’re all interesting and have character, they all slightly vary in style, but are still recognisable as Pearce’s work and they look like they could each have a story of their own. Pearce often gives his characters a back-story, such as ‘Bacon Ears’ who was featured in the CA article, he is a Vietnam vet whose ears were lost in combat, which were then replaced with streaky bacon by a short-sited surgeon. I find this level of storytelling within one character really intriguing and relative to my own work and I think that this depth in Pearce’s work makes it more valuable by giving it meaning and potential — I bet — if not Pearce himself — someone, somewhere could easily produce a short animation depicting Bacon Ear’s misfortune and other stories.
Another piece which show’s Pearce’s ability to portray narrative and relevance is the poster produced for hip-hop trio De La Soul, Pearce gives specification of and relevance to the elements in the image, linking to parts of/songs of De La Soul’s. The piece itself gives a characterised and somewhat humorous portrayal of the three men in Pearce’s naive and charming style. Like many of his others, this poster uses a very limited colour palette to aid in its use to portray certain feelings, these dark reds and maroons give the impression of a tough and hardened group, which is contrasted by Pearce’s style, not to mention the group themselves, whose lyrics are often quirky and less tough than some ex-gang-banging peers. I think the poster works well by combining these elements and I feel that most people who find this poster will have heard of De La Soul, meaning that they will probably relate the charming style to the group more than the ‘meaner’ colours.
I couldn’t miss this opportunity to tie in one of my favourite bands, so here’s Gorillaz with one of their latest collaborations with De La Soul: