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July 02, 2019

Sweat for your Art – Pierre Hadlow on his illos & influences

Pierre Hadlow aka Sweaty Palms Pies is an illustrator/creative who works from his beachside Lyall Bay studio and shop 'Big Love'. He has worked on a number of illustrations for Empire Skate, including recently Wizard Stix,Lee Ralph x Vallet collection and the Wack Wheels deck series with Radder Things.

His work is often influenced by his childhood interests growing up.

"The stuff I was into in my early wonder years are still a big influence on my style and what I create at my studio today - I grew up with action figures, spacies, monsters, punk, comics, hip hop, sci-fi, heavy metal, skating, robots, rebels, trading cards, BMX, forts, drawing and tinkering in the garage - the visuals, ethos, and concepts from all of these things have stayed with me."

He is also inspired by different eras of art, design, music, and pop culture, learning and practicing the style characteristics from them all. 

"I walk and travel with my design senses open, absorb it all so I can draw from it when needed. I guess I’ve developed a sort of bold graphic style over the years and from tattooing it’s also crossed over and added to that too."

Illustrative custom lettering is something he enjoys, playing with the relationships with letterforms and "how to make em work together". A broad range of influences helps with his design process.

"A big pool of influences helps me keep inspired and if I’m in a creative funk I just go do something else I’m into, catch a wave, jam a riff, until the juice is flowing again, it’s all connected anyways. Recently with my illustration, I’ve been trying to strip it down, minimalise linework, limited colour palettes, I’ve been getting into more folk art kind of stuff which is fun, the forms I’m making are looser, more primitive, raw, and a bit weirder."

Pierre likes to use a varied mix of materials for his illustration such as pencil, paper, brush, markers, paint, ink, computer, lightbox, lino, wood, camera, and a photocopier.

As well as recent projects for Empire Skate apparel and decks, he has worked on projects for StrangeLove Music; a fit out for his Big Love’s studio/shop; a letterpress edition Street Fighter 2 print; designs for Green Wire, Palms, The Armarie Room, Kustom Burgers Melbourne, Touche Hombre Bangkok, K1 Johor Karting, Meat Buns Gold Coast, Earth Protocol, Street Dogz, Boom Boxing; and a handful of new studio prints too.

"Me and Anton (Becic) of Radder Things have a couple of exhibitions and a zine in the pipeline as well. Man, I gotta put some of these newer projects online, I’m a bit shit at posting and showcasing new work, I get distracted with the next thing I’m doing."

Working with a strong concept followed with research is where Pierre starts his design process.

"A strong concept first, I think about it, research it, marinate on it, I got a vivid imagination so I can usually nut out what I wanna do in my head 70% of the time, then I allow for whatever organic changes happen in the process."

While it depends on the project, Pierre often starts with hitting the pencil and paper first, then refining it with maybe markers, brush, ink, the lightbox. After that hit the computer to develop the form, composition, vectoring, colours, layout, and tweaking.

"Sometimes I go to the screen earlier, sometimes it's just a finishing tool. I get bored with doing just one thing so I pull from a ton of art and design processes, get hands-on and tactile whenever I can and keep it fun, I’ve sussed a sort of balance with analog/digital in how I like to do things."

"Also, time is a factor these days, I’ve naturally sped up my process a lot and new styles have developed from a result of that, when creating I’m thinking fast, I like to edit fast, and keep moving forward."

He has a wide eclectic mix of favourite illustrators that inspire him, including early toy packaging illustrators like Earl Norem and John Pound. Many other illustrators pop to his mind too when asked about his favourite illustrators.

"Robert Williams caught my eye as soon as I opened that Appetite For Destruction inlay. House Industries, how they present and execute their typography ideas are next level. Love the colours and halftones of Rockin Jelly Beans work. The bold outline and stipple shading of Jim Phillips, and I think dudes like Tallboy from Night Watch Studios are carrying that torch on doing rad shit. David the Robot illustrations crack me up. Dig me some sci-fi and fantasy stuff, Skinner, Arik Roper, Boris Vallejo, comic Atomahawk blows my mind. Morning Breath, Broken Fingaz Crew, James Jean, Cody Hudson, Yeaaah Studio, Branca Studio, Timba Smits, Sean Morris, McBess, Yeye Weller, Luke Pelletier, Tara McPherson, Frank Kozik, Lamour Supreme, Ruff Mercy, Keith Haring, Richie Fahey, Marc Mckee… think I’ll stop there or the list will just keep rollin. Oh and most of all, my two girls Rudy and Juno who draw me the dopest stuff on a weekly basis."

Check out his studio and shop Big Love on 68 Kingsford Smith St, Lyall Bay on the beachfront, unit 13 next to Real Surf. Also, check out his website and Instagram.


Pierre Hadlow Big Love

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