Art / Interviews / style

The Miles Davis Online Interview: Tobias Hall


(Artist Series II, Volume 1)

We begin the second collection of the Artist Series with the wonderfully talented Tobias Hall, an illustrator/designer/muralist based in London.

Among his exciting collection of artwork is a fantastic Miles Davis illustration (above). You can also view an absolutely gorgeous mural here featuring Miles Davis, Oscar Peterson and Max Roach. Other murals created by Hall include a superb Nina Simone located in a South London bedroom, and an outstanding Winston Churchill created for a Zizzi restaurant in South Woodford.

Speaking of Zizzi Ristorante, Hall has been working closely with the popular eatery as part of the design team, lending a creative hand with everything from photography to graphic design and art direction.

Besides the Miles Davis, other personal favorites in Hall’s collection includes the Roger Federer, the Lionel Messi, and his David Bowie-inspired murals and painted tables completed for Zizzi in David Bowie’s home town of Beckenham. Hall’s art prints are also available for purchase. Click here to have a look.

As a new fan of Hall’s work, I was determined to track down the artist and ask him as few questions about Miles Davis, his creative process, and what’s next.

Miles Davis Online: You feature such a wonderful variety of designs and illustrations. And in the middle of it all – Miles Davis. What led you to creating the artwork Miles Davis – Kind of Blue?
Tobias Hall: I’ve got a pretty big passion for music of all sorts, and it’s a real ambition of mine to create art to go alongside it, be that in the form of gig posters, album art, whatever. I started getting into Jazz and Blues in a big way towards the end of university, so the first Miles Davis piece was really just a natural response to that.

Miles Davis Online: And what exactly is the creative process behind this type of illustration?
Tobias Hall: It all starts with the music itself really, it’s always playing whenever I work. Once I have a general idea of composition/concept it’s just a case of drawing out the separate elements by hand, then layering, colouring and texturing them in Photoshop.

Miles Davis Online: As for the wonderful Jazz Legends mural: was Miles Davis always in your vision to be part of the mural design? Also, how long did the process take to complete?
Tobias Hall: The mural was created for a restaurant in sunny Croydon, London. They often hold nights of live jazz music, so I thought it would be cool to depict some of Jazz’s most famous faces. A Jazz ‘super band’ if you like. Naturally, Miles had to be a part of it. The mural took around a day and a half to paint.

Miles Davis Online: Who are some artists of the past and present that have inspired you?
Tobias Hall: The two main artists to have influenced my work are Keith Haring and David Foldvari. It’s a funny one, because stylistically the two are very different, but both have inspired me in equal measure.

Miles Davis Online: Are you working on anything special at the moment?
Tobias Hall: I have just finished some album artwork for Canadian folk musician Del Barber, who’s album is released on the 1st May, and there is talk of a huge music-themed mural project for a hotel in the pipeline, but that hasn’t been confirmed as of yet. I spend most of my days as an in-house illustrator/designer for a restaurant chain here in the UK, working on everything from menus to photography or art direction. It’s good fun.

Miles Davis Online: Might you revisit Miles Davis in your work?
Tobias Hall: No doubt. Jazz music as a whole continues to influence my practice, and with Miles being such an enigmatic fellow, I’m sure I’m bound to explore him and his music a bit more in the future.

Miles Davis Online: Favorite Miles Davis album?
Tobias Hall: Round About Midnight.

© Tobias Hall. All artwork, and images of artwork are property of Tobias Hall. All rights reserved.

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