Print Room Creator Series - Meet the Creator with Hayden Burgess from Grimoire Studios

Print Room Creator Series - Meet the Creator with Hayden Burgess from Grimoire Studios

In a nutshell, what is Grimoire Studios and how did it come to be? 

Grimoire Studios or Grimmy is my creative output and just a place for me to express myself and my addictive and obsessive tendencies. I’ve been an artist, painter and a designer for about 12 years now, mainly doing illustration and design with the some toy making, animation and mural design here and there.

I started making art when I was young but rediscovered it when Ii was living in Berlin in 2010. Many nights while my ex-partner was at work, were spent making art, drinking, and smoking cigarettes, all for the fun and pure expression of it.

These days I mainly paint and sell my work in galleries and online, but I make for the creative satisfaction and addiction of creating something that I’m stoked on, more so than making money from what I do.

For me, creating is important as a human, it's the pursuit of excellence and pursuit of improvement that keeps me going and gives me a reason to get excited.

What does a “day in the life” look like for you at the moment? 

I’m a full-time business coach and run my own business ( so my days are mainly spent teaching, mentoring and coaching other creatives from all over the world all from the comfort of my little garage in Hastings - So a lot of Zoom, a lot of lesson planning, content creation, and marketing.

When I’m not doing that I’m at home with my wife and two amazing girls, having coffee or op shopping.

I guess the cool thing about running my own business is I can set my own schedule so I usually take Mondays off to paint in the Studio where I’ll spend the day painting and listening to horror novels on audible or watching a Fringe marathon (occasionally some old horror movies too).

One of my clients asked me how I crank out so much stuff, and tbh when I’m not working or hanging with my kids and my wife, all I do is make art in some form. I don’t drink anymore, or go out so it’s surprising how much time I can find in the week to make art.

How would you describe your style, and were there any heavy influences from your past that have shaped your practice today?

I think my style is quite innocent, joyous, melancholic at times, bright, and bold and simple. 

I did a tattoo apprenticeship in 2017 that taught me a lot about composition, simplicity, contrast and the importance of creating bold and readable designs. I got really into American traditional and Japanese tattooing so those two styles of art had a big effect on me.

I’m also a big fan of Japanese culture, kawaii just for the simplicity of design, bold colours, flat palettes and easily recognisable characters.

My old stuff was a lot darker, with lots of magic, paganism, and satanic stuff, I think I was a lot more angsty back in those days! I still love that kind of horror/dark/pulpy art, but since quitting drinking and having kids I want to make art and design that makes people feel happy, or contemplative or good *rather than bad*.

Some artists I love are Fernando Botero, Christian Rex Van Minnen, Ryan Heshka, and Magritte.

Can you give us a peek into your creative process, from the first idea to the finished design?

Usually, it starts with rough thumbnail sketches. I like to get a form going or a shape that is pleasing to the eye, once I’ve got the shape down and an idea that fits within it, it’s fleshing out the idea a bit more in a larger pencil sketch.

After I have a rough draft, I’ll get that into Procreate to create 1-3 digital drafts, working in coloured line work from red-blue-black. 

Once I’m happy I’ll do a final version with black line work and colour the design in Procreate - if it's for print I’ll take the design into Illustrator and vector the linework and recolour - adding text and playing with the composition.

Honestly, the iPad and Procreate have changed my life, I used to draw each part of an illustration by hand, trace everything on a lightbox, scan each piece in, then assemble the whole thing like a collage in a bootleg Photoshop *shh don’t tell adobe*.

Big fan of the iPad as a productivity device for artists, you get so much done.

Print Room has had the pleasure of printing your artwork for the creator series… What inspired the design you sent us and what's the story behind it?

When I started my online business I had a lot of mental challenges to get through, the stress of starting a business is a huge head game so I got into personal development and reading and learning different ideas to help frame the challenges Ii was facing in the right way so I could get through them.

I got really into stoicism; a collection of ideas and philosophies collected and expressed most famously by Marcus Aurelius and most recently Ryan Holiday.

One stoic idea that stuck with me was the idea of Memento Mori, my interpretation of that idea was the concept of reflecting on death every day.

’remember you must die’ - was the Latin phrase it comes from.

If you reflect that each day could be your last you realise that each experience you have is special and you take better care of those experiences and can in turn develop a stronger sense of gratitude.

Since having kids and getting older I’ve realised that life is short, and every day is special - so appreciate each moment you have on earth because you never know when it could be your last day.

The design itself is pretty straightforward - a human sharing a flower with death, connecting with the figure of death or the Grim Reaper and realising that death walks with us every day.

Live For Today, enjoy your life, enjoy every day even the shit ones when life is hard.

I’ve realised that it's the frames through which we see life that dictate how we experience our time here, so that frame of Memento Mori is an important one to remember.

What kinds of industries do you usually design for, and how does creating merchandise differ from your other projects?

Traditionally it has always been tee shirt design for bands that was my bread and butter for a long time, I do more personal work now but I’m always excited to get the opportunity to design graphics for anything be it a tee shirt, a label or a record.

The difference for me is creating design work it must be functional and fit for purpose, it's not about freedom of expression it's about fitting a design to the brief so it achieves an outcome.

I love the process of working with the client on ideas, building mood boards and the back and forth that goes with that, the most satisfying part is when I get to design for a band I love or a product or cause I’m into.

I think a good t-shirt design is simple - one print on the back or one print on the front - right in the centre, easy to read from a distance, fits the figure and is timeless.

What challenges do you face when designing for merch, and how do you tackle them?

Matching the ideas I have to the client's desires, and also the challenge of knowing what works on a garment and marrying that up with what the client wants and thinks they need.

Also when a client tells me I love your style, but then sends me a bunch of reference that is definitely not my style in the slightest! lol.

How do you feel about seeing your artwork on printed garments, and what has been the response from your fans?

I haven’t actually ever made t-shirts for myself before. I’ve done tonnes for bands and labels but this is the first time I’m printing a design I’ve made specifically for a tee.

My challenge has always been the big decision of - which design should I print!!? It’s an eternal struggle.

I sell a lot of paintings and prints so I’m excited to offer something different to people who have been supporting me for a long time.

I’m also excited to start to build a bit more of a narrative into my characters and output so this design will fit into the world-building for future projects.

In your opinion, what makes a piece of merch stand out and catch people's attention?

BOLD, big designs (not tiny little logos ala 1990), easy to read from across the room, identifiable immediately and timeless.

What I don’t think works is slapping a piece of art onto merch that isn’t designed for merch, it always looked tacked on.

Think of bands like Misfits, Dead Kennedys, Bauhaus, Ghost, and Metallica, those bands are known for bold designs and memorable merch.

Good merch should make the wearer feel stoked to be connected to, or a supporter of whatever brand it represents and feel good about themselves.

What advice would you give to other artists or designers who are considering participating in a project like the Creator Series?

Go for it, it's a super cool project and a nice chance to test your design skills and make something amazing.

The print quality and garments are absolutely amazing and I’m so over the moon to take part.

When you’re not creating away, what else gets you going?

Haha, I don’t have time for much else.

Sci-fi, Horror Novels, Caving Videos, Making art with my kids, op shopping and I’m also a big book nerd/collector. 

Also meditation, personal development stuff and good coffee.

And lastly, you also create the coolest 3D models and toys, If you could design a 3D model inspired by any famous artwork or artist, what or who would it be?

I’ve been getting into surrealism a lot this year and experimenting with that style, I’d love to create a toy/model based on a Salvador Dali character or a character by Fernando Botero. My favourite movie is The Labyrinth so if I got a third choice maybe Ludo? He’s a big softie.


Thanks Hayden!

You can check out more of Hayden's art, his awesome style and model creations on Instagram


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