I had the great pleasure of finally meeting Mr Rob Lowe last week. Working under the pseudonym Supermundane, created to avoid the tedious references to the actor of the same name, Supermundane is as far removed from his working title as you will ever meet. The artist, graphic designer, art director, typographer and illustrator did not fail to impress with a superb portfolio spanning 15 years.
We started by chatted about his beginnings in the world of typography when he went to work, straight out of school, at a kettle factory designing their boxes. His first real job was at Mathmos, yes that’s right, the famous 90’s student lava lamp company, before being made redundant.. 'there are only so many lava lamps you can make before saturating the market'.
He then moved on to Ministry of Sound creating happy hard core album covers and designing for SleazeNation magazine before setting up his own practice. He worked as an art director with the likes of Anorak magazine, a happy working partnership that lasted six years, while also working as an illustrator and typographer for a growing number of excellent clients like Wallpaper, Penguin, Orange, The Guardian, Nokia, New York Times and Apple.
He has had several solo shows including Super Alpha at Lomography Gallery, Stupid Nature at Beach London and his lovely 2012 Details exhibition at Kemistry gallery, with his work recently on display as part of the brilliant 100 Years of Graphic Design exhibition by Kemistry at Protein gallery.
His murals are stand out brilliant and deserve a special mention here.
Pssst, a double sided mural created in 2012 in MOMA Frankfurt, took 70 hours to create, and had a very sweet concept to let children speak and interact with each other and the mural using tubes running from one side of the mural to the other. The holes didn’t match up so it was hard to know where the voices where coming from. And my personal favourite, painted over 4 days, the mural at Moo headquarters is something I could look at all day. Lucky Moo.
While Lowe works in many different ways everything in his portfolio is clearly defined. Whether it is prints populated by tiny figures or more diagrammatical drawings there is always a distinctive use of block colour, mesmerising patterns, line, optical effects, graphicness with a fair amount of humour thrown into the mix. His typographical work shows a refreshing kindness and honesty with statements such as ‘You are the most spectacular thing I have ever seen’ ‘My head is full of stuff I do not understand’ and my favourite ‘It could be such a simple world’.
Rob has also organised a brilliant print swap project between lots of illustrators around the world. It's called the +1 Co-Op. Each artist makes an edition of 64 prints and sends them to Lowe. The prints, some people have done original drawings, will be on sale for only £12, which is a total bargain. Check out the link below to see the people involved. It's a pretty amazing list. Excellent stuff. Rob is represented by Skinny Dip in the UK.