Peter Hamlin Goes Hambot.com
By Adam Barraclough
I know you’ve been paying the bills with illustration for magazines like The New Yorker and Entertainment Weekly, as well as the illustration work you’ve done for Sony, Lego and The New York Times. Despite the fact that this is directed work, you manage to give it a flourish and really make it your own. I see this work significantly blurring the line between fine art and illustration- it definitely leaves an impression with the viewer and avoids the "disposable" quality of most commercial illustration. You’re also no stranger to the gallery, with shows in the states and (currently) at London’s day14. Where do you find yourself more comfortable, exposed to millions in a national publication or under the microscope for a select few in a major gallery?
I’d like to explore more gallery exposure, even though there’s a lot more work and discomfort involved. There is so much potential for a fuller, more immersed experience within a specialized space. On the other hand, the published work has a life of it’s own and can be seen by those who wouldn’t have access otherwise.
Do you feel that your commercial work transcends the expectations that is associated with commissioned illustration work?
I try to make the best work possible within the given time constraints and context. Illustration is great for working out visual communication. It’s liberating to think of the medium as fast, disposable and yet having a valuable function.
Conversely, your gallery work and your hambot.com often seem to be rather critical of "product" and "advertisement". How do you reconcile the conceptual product of an idea like Hambot with the actual product that Peter Hamlin has become?
Product and advertising isn’t necessarily bad, it’s how it’s used and what it’s used for. Advertisements and products are part of my experience and environment. It’s embedded into my psyche. I use these familiar methods to relate and reflect my impressions.
The website is damn funny, and all the Hambot material seems to crackle with the energy created by the conflict of mechanical vs. organic. I really love the fact that you’ve been working in silk-screen because it seems to embody the struggle of a mechanical process against inevitable organic error. Are you savoring the struggle, or are you ready to go strictly digital?
Silkscreen printing helps burn some off some of those carbs… Both digital and traditional ways of working have their places and uses. Digital animation projects, silkscreen posters and booklets are in the works…
Speaking of the mechanical/organic clash, how did Hambot arise?
It spontaneously came to me after finishing a drawing and stuck.
Peter’s professional portfolio can be seen online at peterhamlin.net and his non-commissioned work can be seen at hambot.com and at day14 gallery’s website- day14.com