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Creative Lancashire at Cloudspotting Festival

Creative Lancashire are proud partners of Cloudspotting Festival. This years colloaboration includes films screening and a pop-up exhibit by Preston based Switchopen.

Cloudspotting is almost upon us with a kind looking weather forecast and a fabulous weekend programme bursting with live music, arts and recreational fun - get ready for the best Cloudspotting yet!

More information & tickets

Creative Lancashiire have teamed up with the festival to present a pogramme of talks, screnings and pop exhibits including another opportunity to see 'Made You Look' a film about creativity in the digital age, and a collaboration with Switchopen.

Switchopen is the freelance Illustration and Graphic Design Company of Nick Rhodes. Established in Manchester 2004.

Switchopen is a fully functioning art studio now based in Lancashire, creating sleeve and poster art for recording artists including John Grant, Richard Hawley, Queens of the Stoneage, Flaming Lips, Belle
& Sebastian and Explosions in the Sky.

Ahead of Cloudspotting we interviewed Nick for our next Conversation in Creativity publication.

Conversation in Creativity: Nick Rhodes - Switchopen

Tell us about the history of Switchopen and your early career or projects?
I used to play bass in a few bands in Manchester whilst I was at college. I made all of the artwork (essentially flyers) for our gigs and EP’s, and used to visit the Richard Goodall Gallery in Manchester. I was a regular to the gallery as it houses and sells a myriad of gig poster artists from across the world. The gallery mentioned that they represented US artists and didn’t have any UK artists. I saw this as my opportunity to step in! At the time of all of this I was graduating university having studied Fine Art at Manchester Metropolitan, and I decided to set up a screen printing business with my best friend at the time. In the daytime we would print t-shirts and in the evening I would screen print my own posters for bands. Switchopen was born!

What was your first memory of creativity?
My Dad would leave a drawing for me near enough every morning for me as a child, I would colour it in, and I can remember trying to work out how he illustrated the drawings. He used to draw Frankenstein a lot, and I remember trying to copy the drawing.

How do you establish your own style over a period and still stay relevant?
For me, I feel I have several different styles to bow. I often choose a style that fits the project, and don’t like duplicating the same style day in day out. I feel that I work like a Fine Artist would but in a Graphical and Illustrative setting!

What impact have big name clients had on your career?
A hell of a lot to be honest. I feel I have always rose to the occasion when a big name client commission has come to me. I work like its the last piece of art I am going to make. The music business is a fickle business, so I never take for granted the clients I work with.

What was your creative journey to get to where you are?
Drawing as child, often aircraft and airports! ,then school (hated it), then on to 3D design at college and a Fine Art at degree level. Setting up my own business called The Manchester Screen Printing Company. (A grand name for a tiny business - people often thought we was a huge company. Only two of us in reality) Then on to manage Castlefield Art Gallery (PT). Whilst at the gallery I studied for a PGCE and now teach Graphics at Southport College. All the while I still work on projects with Switchopen.

Does your work develop thematically or is it more distinctive and random?
It depends on the project, often on the music side, I start with the lyrics of the band that has commissioned me.

What has been the biggest influence on your work?
Wildlife, from colour to how its constructed and formed. I love nature.

What inspires you or provokes the motivation towards creativity within?
A burning desire to do good whilst on the planet!

What is it you love most about what you do?
To get my ideas out from my head to the page, there is nothing better than realising your own thoughts and feelings through your art.

Nick will be exhibiting and selling original print art at Cloudspotting Festival (29-31 July)

Later this year Nick is also curating a symposium in collaboration with Creative Lancashire and other artists working in various aspects of music industry - to be held in Preston later this year:

Made You Look - a film about creativity in the digital age

Made You Look is a rare and candid insight into the work of some of the UK’s top creative talent, including beautifully shot footage of artists at work and play in their own creative environments. The film will be shown in the Vintage Mobile Cinema at Cloudspotting Festival  - Saturday 30 July at 11am (Cert 12A)