Meet the Waterford designer with a fan in Lil Nas X.
It goes without saying that the internet is at the core of a lot of the creative industry right now. Whether it’s rappers sending verses online, photographers using Instagram as a defacto portfolio or aspiring writers maintaining their own blogs to get a foot on the career ladder, interests are often born, bred and turned into professions online.
It’s in this space where you could stumble across an act inadvertently, then find yourself looking for more information and before you know it you’re in the depths of Reddit, and Twitter hungry to know everything about them. Alternatively, you can find yourself digging through the mountains of online tutorials after finding a totally legitimate means of downloading software to help pursue your new passion.
For Waterford designer Aaron Fahy it was a mix of all of that and since taking a serious interest in graphic design he has gone on to work with numerous artists based in Ireland and abroad as well as creating his own bespoke pieces around his favourite artists that regularly do the rounds on music Twitter.
For Aaron he took what almost felt like an essential route into design. Anyone in their early to mid-twenties will have distinct memories of the pre-Spotify era. Music playing on your brick of an iPod Classic with greyed-out cover art was a painful reminder of your digital crime that was probably enacted on Limewire or some dodgy youtube converter. It was here that the Waterford artist fixed up a miserable looking display with his own vibrant work.
“Essentially my interest in design stemmed from when I was 12/13 we got a lot of downloaded music from one of my dad’s friends on iTunes and none of them had artworks so I used to make my own in paint”, he said.
“So really, without illegally downloaded music, I probably wouldn’t be doing what I am today.”
From then it was his passion for music during a golden era of mixtapes that drew him into taking his work more seriously.
“My passion towards design with music really kicked off after I saw the album artwork for Acid Rap by Chance The Rapper. It’s made by a guy called Brandon Breaux,” he explained.
“At the time I remember being amazed by the album cover and I had to find out who made it. The more I learned about Brandon, the more I wanted to do the same thing as him. I downloaded photoshop there and then, I’m not going to say whether it was a cracked version or not, but it’s all legit now.”
Going forward Aaron took the traditional path of studying at university, but for the most part, his knowledge and expertise were self-taught and came from Youtube tutorials.
“I studied Multimedia in CIT, Cork. I’ll be perfectly honest it was a very hit and miss course. I gained a lot of useful knowledge but I felt a lot of time was wasted also.”
“One thing I will say is that I’ve made some lifelong friends from it and also I’ve made a lot of contacts, that type of stuff is invaluable to me. A lot of the content from that course could easily be condensed down to a Youtube playlist. I honestly credit a lot of my design skills and knowledge to Youtube. Honestly, it’s such a useful site, bursting with insanely talented people and amazing tutorials”, he asserted.
Since completing his course he’s gone on to work with some huge names within the music industry whilst getting co-signs from the internet’s favourite cowboy.
“With Lil Nas X, I haven’t exactly worked for him but I would love to someday. I made a concept design for him and he saw it and now he follows me. He drops the odd comment here and there which I still find really weird but cool. The internet is a fascinating place in terms of things like that.”
Aaron has also worked with Irish artists Pat Lagoon and Awkward Z who both hail from his native Waterford as well as the likes of Orla Gartland who he created a motion graphic video for.
More recently he worked on Ty Dolla $ign’s latest music video for ‘Ego Death’ featuring Kanye & FKA Twigs. On this project, he collaborated with Emonee LaRussa, a grammy-winning motion artist from California. He also worked with her on visuals for Tory Lanez’ track ‘The Cry‘ with Emonee.
As for now Aaron is keeping busy, but still trying to hone his skills.
“Currently, I’m trying to branch out my design skills a bit so I’ve really gotten into making collages. It’s refreshing to step back from the computer and work with paper, sellotape and scissors. People seem to be really liking them which is a huge relief, I always find it daunting trying something new but when it pays off it can be so rewarding!”