Gavin Strange is a multi-disciplinary designer, illustrator and photographer with an awesome name and over 15 years experience. His renaissance career includes everything from branding to web design, animation, film, photography, product design, illustration, sculpture, and anything else that catches his fancy.
He is the senior designer at award-winning UK-based animation studio, Aardman Animations, which created Wallace and Gromit, Shaun the Sheep, Chicken Run, and many many many more. In 2001, Gavin established his funky side-project studio, JamFactory, designing everything from toys to skateboard graphics, posters to short films.
His book, Do Fly, about doing work you love, was released on May 5, 2016. Recently, he and his wife, Jane (and their beloved pet greyhound, Arnie) started Strange, a creative online shop specializing in homeware products, jewelry, stationery and other whimsical things made by them, as well as other artists and designers. From across the pond, these are his fun answers to our Dumb Questions.
Q. How much did you have to dream last night?
I’ve been having weird dreams lately actually! The other night I dreamt my big dog had turned into a cat, but didn’t know he had, so continued to chase other cats. I spent the entire dream chasing him, and bumping into random people from my life along the way. At one point Steven Spielberg was sitting at a big table with some of my workmates. We stopped for a casual chat, but then I explained I couldn’t stay as I had to find my cat/dog. What’s that all about then!?
Q. If you could live in a videogame, which would it be?
Good question! Well, Final Fantasy 7 is my favourite game of all time, so I’d be pretty tempted to live in that world as I could ride a Chocobo or summon a massive monster to fight, but there’s also the issue of the Shinra corporation controlling everything.
So, I’d have to say I’d love to live in the Nintendo world. Playing Mario Kart always makes me smile – I love how bright and fun and soft that world is; I’d be very happy there I think.
Q. What does the smell of clay remind you of?
Being a kid and being a grown up! Just the very nature of playing with modelling clay makes me feel like a little boy, making stuff. But then it’s also the thing when I walk into the model making department at Aardman. I’m very lucky to have a job that keeps me in that positive, optimistic, youthful frame of mind!
Q. Have you ever put Wallace & Gromit in compromising positions?
Haha! Of course not, I would never dream of doing such a thing – they’re national treasures, I think it’d be treason if I did that!
Q. What’s the last gross thing you stepped in?
A snail (sad face). We let our dog out into the garden every night before bed, and there’s usually a good few hundred snails hanging around, which means sometimes I step on one if I’m not careful. But I’m more upset I’ve hurt a snail than the fact it doesn’t feel very nice.
Q. Black and Tan or Black and Blue?
Black and Tan, every time! It’s casual, it’s classic, it’s classy.
Q. What was more painful, taking a bad skate slam or designing your website?
Definitely taking a slam. I seemed to roll my ankles all the time whilst skating and I hate that. The only painful thing about website designing is the domain name and hosting side of things. I have forgotten to re-register domain names far too many times to count! Trying to get something that’s disappeared back into the digital ether is painful, but I’d definitely take that over whipping out on concrete!
I once ‘hung up’ at the top of a metal ramp and fell from the top, onto my face, splitting my chin open and losing a tooth. I had to be injected into the wound on my chin, and that was not fun at all.
Q. Least favourite country in the EU?
I love all the EU! I’m pretty sure right now everyone in the EU hates us, Great Britain. I just want everyone to get along, it’s just geography!
Q. Who would you rather have tea with, Mr. Bean or the Queen?
The Queen most definitely! I hate Mr Bean, I really do. I don’t know why, he just winds me up. Pete, David & Nick, the three directors of Aardman have met the queen quite a few times and I’m fascinated. It must be so surreal to have a cuppa with the lady who’s on your money!