Phil Ramskill is a local designer and illustrator primarily known for his work with Gold Coast larrikins The Mad Hueys. Recently, local clothing brand The Undercurrent recruited Phil aka Philustrations to design a cap representing our sunny city.
We sat down for a chat with Phil about his cruisy style and the local good vibes that influenced his design.
How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I’ve been on the Gold Coast for 14 years, moving here at the age of 14 from New Zealand. I was born in England and moved to New Zealand when I was five.
How does our city influence your art?
I’m influenced by the vibes and feelings I absorb subconsciously. As my style develops, the feel good sunshine beach vibes of the Gold Coast make their way into my art more and more.
You recently designed a cap for local brand The Undercurrent, why did you include the elements you did?
I got tasked with creating a design representing the entire Gold Coast. I decided to develop a graphic to display the general feeling and vibe of the Coast and included a smooth go with the flow style font that just says “GOLD COAST”. The ‘C’ in the word COAST is a dolphin which I included for a couple of reasons, the obvious one being we see dolphins along our shores all year round. The second is because dolphins are often displayed as symbols of paradise and I wanted this design to feel very much like a depiction of paradise. We are a Coastal town famous for our beaches, and I’m sure most of us have hobbies that include our beaches, so this was a must for this design. I did it in a way to give off the feel good holiday/paradise vibe.
I’ve included a cool smiling sun beaming out over the whole design too. Our town is known well for our usually fantastic weather, and we flourish on a sunny day. They bring everyone out to the beach and setting the town alive.
People’s artistic creations are always so unique to them and their experiences, how would you describe your style?
I’m a fairly ‘fun’, driven person, always just doing what I think will be enjoyable and looking for the next fun thing to do. I like to have fun with my work, not take it too seriously and I just let that flow into my art. I have worked almost exclusively as a men’s apparel designer through my career so I have developed a very bold, easy to view kind of style with a masculine edge to appeal to guys.
Has your style evolved over time and have there been any particular times in your life that have influenced the art you create?
Definitely, my style began as almost a straight up artist. I had no composition or design integrity. I just used to want to draw pictures and slap them on t-shirts. I have been able to see the sales results to each design I have created and then used that information to develop my style into what you see today. I am by no means perfect and still learn new things everyday! The journey of an artist never ends. I think as time goes by different periods in our life do influence our art. I feel like as I progress as an artist, I am chasing new challenges which pushes me to develop and change my art.
You’ve done quite a lot of work with The Mad Hueys, how did that come about?
I managed to get my foot in the door fairly early with The Mad Hueys, doing freelance designs for a couple of years before they were ready to take on a full-time tee designer. I had a friend on the inside who had seen the work I had previously done for other men’s apparel brands, so he got me onboard! Nearly three years ago now I became a full-time Huey and have been loving designing for them ever since.
Is there a piece of art you’ve created that you particularly love?
Yes, there is one in particular. When I first began at The Mad Hueys, they did a collaboration with a surfboard company called Catch Surf. They told me to do the most colourful craziest design I could come up with. I got a couple of weeks to just work on this, so I loaded up on surf graphic inspiration and then developed an electric neon Skeleton captain doing a shoey with a octopus in his pocket and steering a ship haha.
What’s the journey you’ve taken to get to where you are now?
I started my journey doing a two year diploma of graphic design at Ashmore Tafe when I was 21. I had an absolute blast and realised I had made the best decision ever and I would be a graphic designer forever. It took me a while to get a job but my illustration skills is what launched me into my first job. I was taken on by a company that developed Tapout Australia and Dickies Australia, so straight off the bat I had some cool companies on my resume. I then joined the team at Jetpilot where I learnt tons and feel like I developed a lot as a designer. I was only there for a year but it was a turning point. I went straight from Jetpilot to The Mad Hueys, which is where I am now. I just enjoy what I do, so I do it day and night!
What’s the best piece of life advice you’ve ever received?
My Mum has always guided me with the best life advice “Just do what makes you happy”. She never pressured me to get a high paying job or pursuing things that I wasn’t interested in. She only ever encouraged me to do what makes me happy and thats exactly what I do! And in doing so, I’ve been able to create a career based on what I love doing. Which I think is the key foundation of being successful.
Being a Gold Coast local, we have to ask your favourites…
Beach: Burleigh, its my home beach!
Café: Social Espresso. They provide me with my much-needed coffee every morning.
Restaurant: Ze Pickle goes down a treat every-time.
How does your weekend usually look? My weekends can vary from busy doing work to being outdoors and enjoying nature in and out of the ocean or at some event getting wild. One thing that is consistent is that I’ll always be enjoying a cafe breakfast and a nice restaurant meal at some point on the weekend!