Surf Style - Newquay-based Kevin Cooper talks about his new T-shirt designs for Fat Face
PUBLISHED: 01:16 21 April 2011 | UPDATED: 19:14 20 February 2013
An interview with Newquay-based surf dude Kevin Cooper, a designer of Fat Face's latest line in men's T-shirts. Also a look at some of his designs . . .
Newquay-based surf dude Kevin Cooper tells us about his latest lineof men's T-shirts for Fat Face and talks about his love of cornwall . . .
After his artwork was spotted by the CEO and Brand Director of Fat Face, Newquay-based Kevin Cooper, a designer by day and surfer for every other waking minute, has designed four T-shirts for the outdoor lifestyle label.
Kevin moved to Newquay in 1985, fresh from school in London and with a plan no more concrete than to chase the surf, after falling in love with the sport when he was 12. His regular camping trips to Crantock Bay had given him the bug, and while his London friends were not convinced, Kevin was hooked and came to rent a room in the town, spending his days in the water.
Kevin began travelling to sunnier climes in the winter and returning to Cornwall at the end of spring. When his Australian visa expired in 1989, he moved on to New Zealand, travelling back and forth for the next four years living the dream. He talked his way into a position at a surfboard factory in New Zealand, claiming previous experience of spraying boards.
Within about half a day, it was obvious that I hadnt got any! The owner of the factory, Ian Ratso Buchanan (five times NZ surfing champion) was in a tight space, so Kevin learnt the skill quickly! I never intended it to be a career move, but it turned out that way! Kevin now works for three Cornish factories: Ocean Magic in Newquay, Laminations in St Agnes and Phoenix Surfboards in Wadebridge. I divide my time between them like a juggler! The surfboard industry is run by surfers, so organisation isnt their forte!
At the end of a 20-year chapter of travelling and surf chasing, Kevin completed a graphic design course at the Media Design School in Aukland. The course rewired me to some extent, and it gave me a sense of deadline and problem solving. He later returned to Newquay and worked as a graphic designer but found the amount of time sending emails and dealing with customers frustrating, so he began making pieces of work purely to be creative. His posters (below) and photography were soon displayed in the Kahuna caf in Newquay. Things took off when then the Brand Director and CEO of Fat Face saw his work and bought some.
Due to the informality of Fat Faces approach, it was not until Kevin received an email with the companys logo on it that he realised the significance of the request! It was fantastic, they were really helpful, realising I hadnt done it before, or to that sort of deadline. It was my first big, professional job, but they helped me through it. Kevin created two original designs and modified two of his existing graphics for the brand.
I like any designs with movement. I love the moment when an idea comes and I just start drawing, he enthuses. Apart from a brief foray into making his own T-shirts a few years ago, Kevins work with Fat Face is his first in the fashion industry. To add to his success, Kevin is exhibiting his artwork at the Caf Irie in Newquay during July and August. I sleep and eat this right now and I think if you put a lot of energy into something, somehow it will come back to you!
Kevins four designs are available in most Fat Face UK stores and online, priced at 20 each.
One of my favourite pubs in Cornwall is The Red Lion in Newquay. Its got a great atmosphere, with live music on Fridays.
For eating the last place I ate was the Kahuna. The food is amazing!
I love anywhere on Bodmin Moor. Ive been going up there with my camera for years I like getting lost there! The clearness of my mind while Im there gives me inspiration for new designs.
For a break I would recommend Fistral, or anywhere around the north coast between St Ives and Morganporth. The whole of Penhale, as its a lovely long coast.