Driven by his studies in science and the worsening climate crisis, London-based illustrator and artist Sam Wilde explores the impact of humanity on nature in his colorful work, employing natural and unnatural colors, visual metaphors, and uneasy compositions to heighten both the danger and the beauty inherent in our changing world. “I do feel like my work has quite a signature look and feel to it,” he says before listing a few characteristics he finds distinctive: “Finding the middle place between natural and synthetic. Storytelling through symbolism. Synesthetic colorways that follow the rules of color theory to a T in places and break them entirely in other places. And being playfully pretentious.” Having loved to draw as a child and enjoyed making anatomical illustrations in university—but without any knowledge that creative careers existed—Wilde chose to explore illustration after feeling unfulfilled by his post-graduate job in finance, so he began teaching himself to draw in traditional and digital media. He then dove straight into a two-year masters program at the Royal College of Art London. Now, he creates everything from textile patterns and wallpapers for clients like Apple and Liberty to huge sculptural installations for institutions like the Zhuhai City Council in Zhuhai, China. “In my creative practice, I’m now imagining a worst-case scenario where nature has fully succumbed to eco-devastation caused by humanity—as an escapist thought experiment; I don’t ethically think we should do that,” Wilde explains. “But could that outcome be kind of freeing and be beautiful in its own sort of way? To misquote [animation director] Hayao Miyazaki, ‘the light in that which is dark, the dark in that which is light, pledge yourself to neither side but exist in the place in-between.’ That’s the genesis of all of my artistic philosophy.”
This member-owned, women-led design studio in Chicago creates transformational work with the desire to better our world.