On the up · 13 August 2018

Skilled Bristol illustrator takes his inspiration from Gorillaz’s iconic animations

Harry Sussams graduated from University of the West of England

Harry Sussams is a freelance illustrator based in Bristol. With an interest in fantasy worlds, character design and tales of adventure, this young freelancer focuses on creating immersive stories and illustrations.

24-year-old Harry Sussams is an illustrator and animator who graduated from University of the West of England, Bristol, last summer with a first class degree in illustration.

Sussams has had his work displayed in Bristol and London, including; D&AD New Blood Festival, Hoxton Arches Gallery, The Bargehouse, OXO Tower Wharf.

This young entrepreneur feels drawn to themes which revolve around nature, travel and adventure and adopts a similar style to the infamous Gorillaz-styled imagery.

As part of our Young Entrepreneurs series, Business Advice caught up with Sussams to find out why he chose to become self-employed and his disappointment in the current government.

What inspired you to start your own business?

Even before starting my degree in illustration I always knew I wanted to go freelance when I graduated and to work for myself on things that are important to me.

I like the freedom it allows me to work with a variety of people and to be a part of many different projects, whilst also giving me time to practice my art and develop my own personal ideas.

What are the barriers to starting your own business as a young person?

In my final year at university we were given a steer on how to freelance which went some way to preparing us, but the practicalities are quite daunting, registering with HMRC and being confident with the admin involved can be a huge learning curve.

Coming out of university with huge financial debts is also another barrier, especially taking into account the unbelievable lack of help from the current Tory government.

What app do you use the most?

As an Illustrator, my work covers a broad range of mediums, both traditional and digital. I feel confident in my abilities with Photoshop and Illustrator, but there’s always more to learn when it comes to digital art applications.

When posting my work online, my favourite app to use is Instagram, which I like to think of as a digital portfolio.

How did you fund your business?

I am currently working part time in an art shop in Bristol called Cass Art but I have worked on a number of freelance projects already with people from the UK and around the world.

What do you think the younger generation can bring to the business world?

Like with everything, it’s always good to keep growing, changing and to look at things with a new perspective. I don’t like the word ‘business’ – fundamentally it’s about enjoying what you’re working on and who you are working with and getting paid for something that is your passion will lead to success in my opinion.

Will you ever work a 9-5 job?

The only 9-5 job I can see myself considering is one which fully encapsulates my ideas and interests as an illustrator and creative, other than that, I don’t see it happening.

Is a degree a necessity?

I grew as an artist and as a person during my years at University but no I wouldn’t say a degree is a necessity for success in life.

What tips do you have for other young people wanting to start their own business?

Don’t stress about how long it might take for you to get where you want to be. If you’re doing what you love then you should enjoy the journey to where you want to be.

There’s plenty of time to make contacts and organise meetings. Some more practical advice that I’ve personally found to be true is that being prolific online greatly helps people find me and my work.

Who is your celebrity icon?

If I’m completely honest the idea of celebrities isn’t really my jam. However, I’m a big fan of the artist Basquiat, the philosopher Alan Watts and the lead guitarist of Gorillaz; Noodle.

Where do you see yourself at 50?

My dream is to become a prolific storyteller. I have big goals of creating my own stories and publishing books, making cartoons, and designing video games. Hopefully by the time I’m 50, I’ll have turned my hand to all of these.

What song should be your life anthem?

I don’t know about “life anthem”, but one song that gets me pumped up is Harder Than You Think by Public Enemy.

Netflix or night out?

Netflix, 100%.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Carly Hacon is a reporter for Business Advice. She has a BA in journalism from Kingston University, and has previously worked as a features editor for a local newspaper.

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