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Fresh & hungry: Kyle Bean

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January 23 2012


Kicking off our Fresh & Hungry series, Chris Rubino speaks with ADC Young Gun recipient Kyle Bean.

CHRIS RUBINO: I’m going to assume you have the most exciting studio of any of this year’s Young Guns. I’m very impressed with your appropriation of materials and impeccable craftsmanship. Can you talk a bit about your various approaches to each individual project and how materials are chosen? Do you have a pile of materials on reserve for the future?

KYLE BEAN: It may come as a surprise but my studio is actually pretty small, and as such I have to try and keep it fairly clutter free! I have a cutting desk, a plan chest to store all of my sheet material, a book case and a few storage boxes full of other materials. I go through phases of hoarding materials, and I have often kept things for years thinking that one day they might be useful, but eventually I have to let them go!  I like using everyday materials the most, as they are obviously easily accessible but also have an immediacy or familiarity to them - So that when people look at the images/objects that I create I hope that they can understand what the material is that I have used to create them. I get a lot of pleasure from constructing objects and images from humdrum things. There is something very satisfying about reforming a cardboard box, or even pencil shavings (as in my Pencil Shaving Portraits for Wallpaper* magazine) into something new and unexpected.


Definitely, I think that is what gives your work such a unique voice. Saying that, your work is quite removed from anything constituting traditional design work. I’m curious if you even think of yourself specifically as a designer and how you realized there was a place to express yourself in that field?

I recognize that my work doesn't always fit easily into a category of design, but I think that is one reason to keep pushing it further. I enjoy being in that ‘grey area.’

Throughout my education I had always been torn between pursuing product design or a communication-based design course such as illustration. I decided to study Illustration at Brighton as I was inspired by the concept-driven approach of the course and the diversity of the work that I saw on an open day. I spent much of the course developing my drawing skills, but I felt much more at home making physical models and generally communicating my ideas in a more tactile way, using everyday materials and objects to construct images. Its interesting looking back because I realize now that those interests I had in product design are still very much a part of my work now, despite the fact that the majority of my current work tends to be commissioned in an illustration or set design context.

Yes, Its exciting to see how our unconscious plays into our works that way. It will be interesting to see how your current work influences your future. Speaking of, What are you currently focusing on and where do you hope to push your work in the next few years?

I am actually working on a stop-frame TV commercial at the moment. My role on the job is 'Designer and Art Director. It feels like a huge step up from my previous attempts at stop-frame animation, and I am thrilled to have been given the responsibility to work on it. I am working with a director and experienced animators who have worked on Tim Burton feature films and so I am learning so much at the moment. Working on this job has certainly given me a taste to work more on moving image pieces. I have also recently been working more with Wallpaper* Magazine and now I regularly am asked to make my work 'move' so that they can include a short animation piece on their IPad magazine. Its a lovely challenge and one that Is becoming much more of a regular occurrence in this industry. I have a long term goal now to actually develop some of my projects into sellable products. I often get asked if certain pieces, such as my 'Mobile Evolution' Russian Doll are available to buy in shops. It seems like a massive challenge though, but one that I am keen to pursue. I think it would be a good idea to team up with someone who has more experience in this field.

I'd also love exhibit my work soon, either as solo exhibition or a joint exhibition. I would use this as an opportunity to make some more personal work and show a mixture of physical 3D pieces and prints.


Very Exciting, I look forward to seeing all of that. Thank you Kyle!

To see more of Kyle’s work, visit

Explore the Fresh & Hungry series:

Chris Rubino is a New York City-based artist/designer whose work has been exhibited in Europe, Japan, Hong Kong and the U.S. He likes to spend his vacations in the desert and has been in a number of motorcycle accidents. He is currently a board member of AIGA/NY. Visit his work at

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