Leigh Bagley’s calendars are different to the the mostly photography-based work that the majority of Calvendo authors create: He works with colorful abstract graphic print designs that are timeless, classic and cool – at least, that’s what we think. Time to have a chat with him to learn more about his background as an artist and designer, his inspiration and the importance of colour for his work.
Leigh, you studied textile design at the Royal College of Art in London and are now lecturing at the Glasgow School of Art as well as running your own company, producing abstract graphic prints. Can you tell us as a bit about your career and how you came to do what you’re doing?
Born and raised just outside Birmingham, I developed an eye for colour and interest in design from an early age. My design career began shortly after graduating from the Royal College of Art in London in 2000 when I worked as a freelance knitted textile designer selling to Calvin Klein, Levi, Nicole Fahri, Eddie Bauer, Milk, Woolmark, to name just a few, for the next ten years.
Following my textile design career working in both fashion and interiors, in 2012, I decided to launch my print company because I was eager to develop my interests in rich abstract graphic print design and I produced my first collection of limited edition prints. Luckily, my work was instantly coveted by leading architecture and interior design companies which helped promote my design work. As my name got around, my editioned prints became sought after by private clients, so I started to expand and investigate the potential of my design work on other products.
How would you describe your style and main interest as an artist?
My work is hugely inspired by modernism, the Bauhaus, minimal ceramics, architecture and interiors. Colour is paramount in my ideas and inspires everything I do. I’m interested in how people perceive and interpret colour and also fascinated by the digital drawing medium because in many ways it is more challenging than drawing by hand as it opens up limitless opportunities. I would love to work on a design project or to collaborate with Alessi or Marc Newson, whilst my design heroes are Charley Harper, Arne Jacobsen and Tapio Wirkkala.
Making a living in any kind of creative profession is not easy. Any tips, tricks and important pieces of advice to give?
As a design academic and practitioner I maintain the importance of always researching and referencing primary sources as the foundation of all design work. It’s fine to be inspired by someone else’s work, but originality and integrity will always produce successful results. As a business person, marketing is everything. You can have the best product in the world but if nobody knows about it, you won’t succeed.
Looking at the year ahead, what’s on your artistic and creative agenda? Any interesting projects you’re working on?
I have a few projects in the pipeline for 2016. My work is very popular with the male design- led gift market and I feel there’s still a massive gap in the sector for men who have an interest in design and accessories.
Among the calendars you’ve created with Calvendo is one called ‘Ionian Doorways and Patterns’. Can you talk a bit about the inspiration for the prints featured in this calendar?
Inspired by the colours of the Greek Mediterranean, I produced a series of architectural studies and complimentary abstract patterns that echo the vibrancy and beauty of my favourite islands. I tried to capture the warmth and intense colours of Greece and dynamically rendered each print in beautifully considered hues to suit all tastes and contemporary interior spaces. As a calendar you can experience a new image each month, hopefully bringing a little Mediterranean feel in particular to the dark winter months.
Why did you decide to give the Calvendo publishing platform a go and how do you go about the process of choosing themes and images?
It was quite straight forward: I already had lots of design work which was perfectly suited to the Calvendo format.
Do you have any specific tips for first timers using Calvendo?
Image sizing and quality are vitally important.
Last but not least, what are your general comments on Calvendo as a self-publishing platform: Anything you particularly like? Or things that need improving?
Making sure that customers know it’s print on demand: Quite a lot of the time products are marked “out of stock” by the retailers which is misleading.
Thanks, Leigh, for talking to us and we look forward to seeing more of your work in our product gallery!
See Leigh’s calendars in the Calvendo product gallery.
Leigh’s website: www.leighbagley.co.uk