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Q&A with Ollie Munden

Illustrator aka MEGAMUNDEN - nature's creatures, tattoo design

I'm Ollie Munden and I work under the alias of MEGAMUNDEN. I was born and raised in Surrey, England.

6 years ago I moved to the Brighton on the South Coast of England.

During the week I work full time as Lead Designer at ILOVEDUST. A position I’m proud to hold down, we do design and illustration work for some of the worlds finest brands.

I’m also one of two creative directors at MONDAY MO.CO which we opened this year. It’s a motorcycle clothing and lifestyle goods store. I’ve been involved from the ground up especially in designing our own line of products.

What inspired you to become a designer?

For as long as I can remember I've drawn. The earliest memory of drawing I have was from about 6 years old, I think I still have a photocopy of the drawing I did laying around somewhere, it was a Ferrari and I had to get my Dad to help me draw the wheels, circles were hard back then!

I didn't really know until I'd graduated from university and worked in London for a while as a Graphic Designer that it was an illustrator that I wanted to be. I've just known for as long as I can remember that I wanted to make my living from Drawing or Designing - there's nothing I'd rather do.

What design software do you use?

I use Photoshop and Illustrator. For a long while I used both almost equally… but these days I work in photoshop a lot more. I find it lends itself to working much looser and faster…. although i still fire up illustrator when i need to.

What is your ideal work environment?

I like to have a lot of inspirational stuff around me. My studio has ornaments, masks, skateboards, skulls, pictures and all sorts hanging on the walls. I like the room to be light and airy. I like to have my books around me, a big area to draw and get away from the computer. I also have a fish tank in my studio with two goldfish in, they are nice to watch and give a calm chilled vibe to the place. Even though one of them would take your hand off if he could when it comes to feeding time!

Where does your design inspiration come from?

I’m always on the look out. But i suppose some key areas are 80’s 90’s skate graphics, the tattoo scene, illustrators old and new, psychedelic artwork and nature, i like to draw animals when i can.

Who is the person you admire most?

I think overall it would be James Jean. I’ve been a fan of his for a long time. I love how he’s crossed borders from illustrator and comic book cover artist, to fine artist and recently I’ve seen him going back to some more illustrative style work which is making me very happy, as that is what i like from him most!

Beyond that there are probably too many to mention. But some important ones over the years would include. 'Dante Gabriel Rossetti' I loved his work when I was back at school in my final year, I based one of my final projects on him. I was really into painting in acrylics back in those days. Salvador Dali was another one of the classics I used to look at.

Moving on from that I'd say Plastic Kid, John McFaul, Phunk Studio, Hydro 74 where an influence when I was really beginning to understand the illustration industry and watching it grow… it was looking at what these guys were doing amongst many others that showed me you could carve a career in illustration. I always talk about James Jean when asked this question, I love his work and the way in which he's to move seamlessly between disciplines. He's a bloody talented guy. He's won awards for his comic book covers, done some commercial work for big clients and now seems to have made a clean transition into the 'art world' and does lots of painting from what I can tell these days.

Some tattoo artists i like would include - Shige of Yellow Blaze, incredible. Regino Gonzales of Invisible NYC, really nice traditional style tattoos with his own twist . Paul Dobleman, love the muted colours he uses in his flash sheets and the distinct style he puts on traditional tattooing. Phetrus who I already mentioned is another, I have a huge amount of respect for him he's been tattooing for years and does amazing japanese style work. Claudia De Sabe does great japanese but also does amazing old skool stuff, i love the girls she draws.

I went to a show of Kuniyoshi's old works at the V&A a few years ago and was inspired by some of the more unexpected pieces he did, funny frog characters! The way he played with scale using huge fish alongside tiny people was great. I bought the book and left there feeling hyped.

Moving on to a final illustrator that I'm liking right now - Yaia Gift - his work blows my mind, I love seeing his sketches and progress through to final art - I'm a big fan! An illustrator called Elzo is really cool to, he makes illustrated collage style piece with super bright colours. There are too many to list really but I love looking around at what artists new and old have done.