Michael Brunt is a good friend of mine, and even though I had already heard most of what was talked about in this interview, it's always interesting to hear his perspective on design, and being creative in an industry where a lot of bullshit is present. If you're starting a brand or a business, and need a solid brand with an Instagram that's better than everyone else's – I'd definitely flick him an email.
How has travel and exploration inspired your work and why do you choose to focus on this style in your work?
I feel like the photography side is a given. You travel somewhere cool and you try to bring your favourite memories back with you. I really like telling stories and I think it's the perfect way to evoke emotion in people to get out and do something a little different. But I'm not sure if I "choose" to focus on this in my photography work... It just sort of happens because I like to travel, as I tend to get restless in one place. I'd love to try different styles but I haven't quite had the right opportunities yet. As for design it's great. There's so much to take in. So much culture, and design is everywhere! In the landscape, cities, literally everything. I'm not quite sure what it is, but every time I come back from a trip I always feel like I'm more motivated and put out better or more refined work.
Apart from a brief stint at design school you’re completely self taught. How has this affected your work, and how do you think it separates yourself from other creatives who may have studied at a creative school?
Well to be completely honest. Most of the people I personally met at design school were little rich kids who didn't know what they wanted to do when they left school, so Mum and Dad gave them something to keep busy... So there's that! I guess I use the digital tools quite differently. Sometimes that is a plus and as I dived into freelancing a bit more I found myself getting stuck every now and again. But I feel like what I'm putting out is pretty organic and not as "boxed in" as some creatives. In the end, if you're a good designer it doesn't matter. I know lots of great creatives who have studied and thankfully a lot that haven't. I might still have some hope!
What inspires you to keep doing what you’re doing?
There's so much that inspires me to keep going! One of the biggest things is proving people wrong (as lame as that sounds) – I come from a pretty small minded place so long story short I wouldn't mind giving a big "fuck you" to those guys... Other inspiration can come from Music, antique packaging (antique anything really), sign painting, renaissance artists and I'm actually lucky that photography and design can inspire me to try different things in each area.
What advice would you give to your 15 year old self if you could travel back in time?
I'd probably tell myself to stop slacking off creatively. I never saw it as something I could ever do as a job so after I learnt how to use photoshop at the age of 15 I just stopped and didn't pick it back up for years. Also just to keep creating for fun and not give in to what all the other 15 year old idiots think . Probably give me a heads up about not drawing a dick on that girls shoe either...
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing now – what else would you like to be doing?
I've always liked the idea of coding. I've recently persued it a little more and still love how annoyingly complex it is. Other then that probably trying to become a Geography teacher or something...
Apart from other art and design, what directly inspires your work and your design style?
I always get really inspired when I wake up at sunrise. Everything is so still and the landforms seem to be resting as well. It's really cool to just sit and watch the ocean rise as the sun is coming up. It sounds cheesy, but I think that's helped with having a minimal style. The way the land interacts before the sun is up is a great starting point. Music and various other creative outlets help a whole bunch too. Not to mention just getting really bored helps.
No matter how small or insignificant, what is one thing you’ve done this week that has made you happy?
I've wrapped up a bunch of work for a client I've always wanted to work with and also booked flights to the US which I'm real hyped about. Still breathing as well which is sick!
Whenever I show people your work, their first comments are always on how clean and curated your Instagram feed is. How has Instagram affected your work and what tips would you have for people looking to improve their Instagram game?
Without instagram I don't know if I would really have "work". All the opportunities I've been given have come from Instagram. I think I started off a little shakey in regards to the quality of work and curation. But as I got more of a grasp on how images and design can relate together in tiny squares, I feel like it got more visually pleasing. I still hate everything I do but it's getting there...
As for improving your insta game. I'd suggest collecting your images together before you post them. I have a photo album on my iPhone called "Insta Grid”. Essentially I have three white squares in there on the right side (because the photo album is 4 squares across) and then my previous posts. When I want to post something new I put the image I think will work the best in and have a look. If I'm not feeling it I wont post it. I've started snatching colours from my last few photos and then adding them to my design work too so the grid flows no matter what it is. I don't even know if any of that made sense.
What are your plans for the next few years?
Well I'd like to keep freelancing, that's the dream at least. I'm also picking up more coding stuff, so I'd like to apply that along with everything else to my work/portfolio. It'd be pretty rad to start up a little agency (or get amongst an agency that I'm into) with some cool dudes/dudettes, I think that'd really help me creatively. But... I think I'm shooting myself in the foot a bit living where I am at the moment. So I guess a move is on the cards at some point.