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
Sign Up
scroll to top arrow-up
share

Sign up now for full access

For a wealth of behind-the-scenes advice and insight into the creative industries and exclusive benefits, become a Lecture in Progress member.

Student

Free

Lecture in Progress is currently available to current full-time and part-time students free of charge.


  • Unlimited access to editorial content and archive
  • An ever-expanding directory of essential resources
  • Student offers and promotions
  • Two weekly newsletters

Professional

£35/per year

Professional membership is currently £35 per year, sign up for a 14 day free trial below and get 25% off your first year with the discount code LAUNCH25


  • Unlimited access to editorial content and archive
  • An ever-expanding directory of essential resources
  • Professional offers and promotions
  • Two weekly newsletters
  • The biannual Lecture in Progress newspaper, delivered to your door
  • Insight reports into creative education and industry

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