Creative Lives Podcast — How artist and designer Brendan Dawes went from factory work to fine art

Posted 09 November 2017

This week’s guest is Manchester-based artist and designer Brendan Dawes. Rooted in universal themes, Brendan’s work often takes the form of interactive installations, exploring both digital and analogue worlds. His pieces have included everything from mini SMS-printing machines, to a bot that generates tangible creatures from live tweets. 

Interview by Indi Davies

Brendan Dawes

Job Title

Artist and Designer

Based

Manchester

Previous Employment

Director, Singleman (2012–2014) Founder and Creative Director, Beep Industries (2011–2012) Creative Director, magneticNorth (2000–2011) Art Director, Subnet (1995–1999)

Social Media
Website

Catching up earlier this year at Something Good design festival in Bristol, we hear how Brendan left school at 16, getting his first job as a photographer at a news agency. After working at a factory for eight years, he eventually joined a Burnley-based web design company in 1996. There, he became art director within a year, but went on to co-found his own digital design studio, Magnetic North, in 2000. Over the next 10 years, he helped grow his team from three people to over twenty, creating digital work for BBC, Diesel, Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s, Astra Zeneca, Channel 4, The Tate and Sony.

Brendan went his own way as an artist and designer five years ago, and has since collaborated with clients such as Airbnb, Google and Twitter, and even has artwork featured in the permanent collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art. He discusses his biggest learnings, and why pushing yourself to share your work with the world – constantly – reaps the greatest rewards.

An SMS printer, created as part of a collaboration with for Airbnb at Sundance, 2016

Commissioned by BRIGHT for Twitter France, Doris Le Bot creates unique digital creatures from real-time tweets, born from various properties of the users' Twitter profile

Posted 09 November 2017 Collection: Creative Lives Podcast
Disciplines: Art, Digital, Design
Mentions: Brendan Dawes
Learn More Sign In

Lecture in Progress relies on the support of partners and professional members to provide the ongoing insight and advice to the next generation. To help support sign up now or find out more. 

scroll to top arrow-up
share

Become a Member

Lecture in Progress is now free to access. Become a member and receive a number of additional benefits.

Student Member

Free

Alongside a wealth of behind-the-scenes advice and insight into the creative industries, join now to get exclusive access to offers and promotions. You’ll benefit from:


  • Student offers and promotions
  • Two weekly newsletters
  • Bookmark content
  • Shape the future of Lecture in Progress

Professional Member

£35/per year

By becoming a professional member, you’ll be helping us in our aim to support the next generation of creatives. You’ll also get the chance to shape the future of Lecture in Progress, and benefit from:


  • Professional offers and promotions
  • The biannual Lecture in Progress newspaper, delivered to your door
  • Insight reports into creative education and industry
  • Two weekly newsletters
  • Bookmark content
  • Shape the future of Lecture in Progress

Lecture in Progress is made possible with the support of the following brand partners