Designer and printmaker Anthony Burrill tells us the five people who have influenced him most.
“When Harry, my grandfather, retired, he wanted to go travelling. My grandmother had a fear of flying and a general suspicion of anything ‘foreign’, so I happily became my granddad’s travelling companion and partner in crime. Our first trip was to Italy when I was 9. We travelled extensively, visiting North Africa, Greece, Turkey, Russia, Hong Kong and China. I would come back to school and give little illustrated talks to my classmates. Our final trip was a short flight on Concorde; I was 16. I hope my grandfather’s influence can be seen in the way I live my life – being positive and eager to have new experiences.”
“John was the leader of the Graphic Design course at Leeds Polytechnic where I did my first degree. He would stride around the college like a Victorian mill owner in hobnail boots and a fantastic corduroy suit. He was proud that I subsequently gained a place at the Royal College of Art, and at the Leeds degree show, he told me to ‘go down to London and fuck them, fuck the lot of them!’ ”
“I met Emma while we were both at the Royal College of Art. For me it was love at first sight. It took me a while to convince her of my charms, but she came round in the end. Emma studied photography, and her work at the college was amazing – dreamlike and beautiful. After we got married and had children, she decided to step away from her career. We now work together; she runs the business side of things and comes up with all my best ideas. Without her I would not be who I am today.”
“When I graduated in 1991 from the Royal College of Art, my final show included a presentation telling the life story of Anna Sewell, the author of Black Beauty. All my friends loved it because it was so weird, but the teaching staff were less sure of its merits. Peter came up to me afterwards and gave me his business card. A couple of weeks later he gave me my first commission – to design idents for the recently launched MTV Europe, of which he was creative director. Peter loved the fact that I was slightly odd. He gave me the confidence to set up my own studio in the kitchen of Emma’s house.”
“I met Erik through Emma, who was shooting a campaign with him. He needed a typographer to add some headlines to the ads, and gave me the job. Soon after Erik returned to Amsterdam to set up his advertising agency, KesselsKramer. We worked together again on the first campaign for the Hans Brinker Budget Hotel (below). Its anti-advertising concept got lots of attention, and the campaign really put me on the map. I’ve since worked with Erik on many different projects, with lots of adventures along the way. He has always encouraged me to push my work further and take risks.”
Anthony as a child with his sister Fiona and horse Misty.