10 questions with Joshua Phillips, Illustrator: Small Business Stories

Posted on 05 January 2015

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It seems fitting that our first Small Business Story (#SBS) would be about the person who helped this little blog get started. Joshua Phillips is one of our favorite illustrators and like many wonderful things, we found him through Instagram. I reached out to talk about getting a logo created for Mix Match Pop because, even though I'm a designer, I know full well I'm not skilled at hand lettering. I believe a jack of all trades is a master of none. If you're good at one thing, do that one thing well & support the people skilled in areas where you need help.

We're grateful to have had Joshua's talent in creating Mix Match Pop. If you're interested in seeing more of Joshua's work check him out at http://www.joshuaphillipsdesign.com/, his Instagram or on Facebook. You can also buy his artwork on Crated.

1) We’ll start with the norm: name, hometown & current city. My name is Joshua Phillips. I was born (and still live) in Jonesboro, Arkansas. It's the largest city in Northeast Arkansas, and it's about an hour away from Memphis, TN.

2) When you were 10, what did you want to be “when you grew up”? I wanted to draw. That's basically all I had figured out. I drew for years and years and while I wasn't sure what that meant for a career, I knew I never wanted to stop.

3) If a kid walked up to you asking for advice and you only had a few minutes to give one life tip, what would it be? If you really love something, to the point where it consumes you and it's the only thing you care about, don't give up on it. Find a way to work it into you life everyday. The more time you put in to whatever it is, the more you'll see it pay off. 

4) What’s your favorite project to date? (other than the obvious… Mix Match Pop ;-) Mix Match Pop was a great one! I've been blessed with countless amazing opportunities to work with all of these great people. Some of my favorites would have to be designing logos and lettering for surfboards and surf shirts or my "Volume" lyric-lettering & photography series with friend and photographer Matthew Walton. 

5) Have you ever royally screwed up a project & wished you could do it over? Every designer has war stories. There's been a project or two that didn't end like I would have preferred. I hate leaving things unresolved. The only thing you can do is try to learn from the experience so it doesn't happen again.

5) What made you want to illustrate? I finished my design degree at Arkansas State University in December of 2012, and I started practicing hand-lettered type the following month. I always joke that it was because I didn't have any homework for the first time in 15 years or so, and I needed to fill the time with something. In school I always loved type and letterpress, and I thought that lettering would be a nice way to make a connection to the pre-digital, pre-Adobe world.

6) Who do you admire most in your field? How much space do I get for this? The list is just never-ending. For design and vector greatness, some of my favorites are Bryan Patrick Todd, Jessica Hische, Aaron Draplin, the Heads of State, Hydro74. Lettering giants like Drew Melton and Zachary Smith are the reason I started sketching in the first place. Instagram has opened up a world of talented type-geniuses: Neil Secretario, Scott Biersack, Christopher Craig, Raul Alejandro. There's just an endless amount of inspiration out there.

7) What was your last concert? My last concert was Ray LaMontagne at the Orpheum in Memphis. I've been a fan of Ray's for about a decade now, so it was nice to finally get to see him in person. And the Orpheum is pretty incredible on its own.

8) Star Trek or Star Wars Star Wars! I recently committed a couple weeks to watching them in "machete order": 4, 5, 1, 2, 3, 6. Workmates told me it added a lot to the story, and they were definitely right. I'm ashamed to say I hadn't given them their due before, but I'm glad I finally dedicated some time to it. 

9) Bourbon or beer? If you don’t drink - donuts or cupcakes? I'm not much of a drinker, so I'll have to choose beer. Nothing fancy. As for the other question -- both.

10) What’s one thing no one would expect about you? I'm pretty obsessed with Lego. It's a dangerously expensive habit. Also I definitely love radio power pop a bit too much, but that shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who follows my countless Fall Out Boy letterings on Instagram.

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1 comment

  • Brenda Phillips: June 25, 2015

    To say that I am proud of this young man would be an understatement. I look at his work that he has done and it still amazes me. I can truly look at his work over and over again and find some little detail that I missed before, and its like I’m seeing it in a whole new light and looking at it for the first time. Pretty cool!!! This has been a long journey for him to get to where he is today and I am so proud that I got to take it with him. I am so blessed to call Joshua my son. Sincerely, Brenda Phillips

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