ANIMATING THE EUROS: JOE MUNRO
Every major tournament brings about its own iconic moments. The teams, the goals, the players... it's what fans for years after reflect on. So for an artist to be asked to capture these moments by simply listening to first hand accounts and watching footage is no easy task.
We caught up with the artist Joe Munro, the man behind the historical game illustrations, for ITV's Road to Euro Preview programme to find out how he got involved with the show, and what it meant to him to be involved.
CK: So, Joe – how did your involvement with ITV and the project come about?
JM: The UEFA Productions team had been following my work on Instagram. They contacted me saying how much they liked my illustration projects and asked whether I’d like to be involved on the Road to Euro Preview programme that is looking ahead to this summer’s tournament. After talking through the project idea, I agreed to collaborate and create some illustrations for the show.
CK: Were you nervous at all about taking on the project?
JM: A little bit to begin with as I just had to trust my instincts and vision for how the final piece would look. Once I got going, I was in the zone and my experience in curating different moments and images together in a visually appealing way came to the forefront. There was also an added pressure of camera operators filming me as I worked, a feeling unfamiliar to me but the team were great and made me feel at ease.
CK: Your work, (in our opinion) is really quite stunning – but how would you best describe it?
JM: My work was born out of reportage principles of illustration. I look to capture a subject, experience or event for which I’ve studied over a period, my aim is to condense this into a visual interpretation that captures all the movement, senses and atmosphere I’ve been exposed to. I often choose to draw in mediums that allow me the flexibility to capture different weights, levels of looseness and layers of the environments I’m looking to bring to life. Some of my favourite projects are those that have an underlying message or social matter that I’m looking to shed light on – my project capturing the work of the charity Food Cycle is a good example of this. As well as this, some of my more recent work has focused on being immersed into different cultures that I’ve travelled to – which I hope my work puts a spotlight on.
CK: I guess a love of football helps with being creative? Do you come from a football loving household and how has this affected your work?
JM: Born and raised on the south coast of England – which has seen sunnier days in recent times. I probably break many people’s stereotypes of what an artist might be like – my first day at Art school I was asked whether I was lost…It turns out people are always quite surprised when I reveal my passion lies in creativity. But I tend not to take it personally. The truth is: I’ve always loved sports, but I never saw the enjoyment for sport and creativity as mutually exclusive. In fact, many of my creative projects over the years have had an underlying theme of sport and activity running through them - from drawing children’s boxing gyms in Cuba to salsa dancers across London nightclubs.
I'm a Pompey fan for my sins - the struggle is real in League 1, especially without fans. I can’t wait to get back in the fortress Fratton Park and cheer on the boys in blue.
CK: What did you like most about doing the project?
JM: When the UEFA team described the project to me and how they needed me to visualise the content of the interviews from the Danish players Thomas Delaney and Zanka, I was just excited and driven by the challenge of telling the stories of these high-profile athletes that I know of and admire. The day shooting was great too, in my element creating. I would love to do more of this kind of thing, hopefully working in person, capturing the energy of the athletes in the flesh and the buzz of the environment. Drawing live at the Euros this summer would be a dream project for me.
CK: In all, how long did it take to draw the different elements?
JM: I think in total around 10 hours of solid drawing. When I saw how close-up some of the camera shots were going to be, I had to make sure the smaller details in the illustrations were nailed. This meant spending time on refining the overall piece once I was able to take a step back and asses how everything was coming together.
CK: Are you making parts of the work available to purchase?
JM: Sadly, there isn’t any parts of this project that are for sale yet, however, there is a good possibility of working in partnership with UEFA in the future – watch this space. I am buzzing for the Euro’s and would love to create some more pieces for it. Any new works for sale are posted on my website shop, where I have originals and prints for sale.
CK: Where can people view more of your work?
JM: Go check out my website www.joemunro.com to have a more in-depth look into my projects and follow me at @joe_mun on the gram to keep up to date with what I am working on.
CK: Do you have another person or organisation that you would love to work with?
JM: As you can probably begin to tell, I’m a fan of the unexpected. I like the idea of collaborating with people, brands, organisations and even platforms that people wouldn’t first associate my work with. Grime music is always playing in the background of my studio whilst I get to work on my projects – who knows, maybe I’ll help Giggs with his next album cover (Giggs if you’re reading this, I’ll do you a good rate)?
CK: What other projects can we expect from you in the future?
JM: Without giving all my secrets away… there’s a lot I’ve got cooking right now. To give you a flavour, there will be a sporting element to one of my next projects. I’m also working on animating my illustrations for a pending documentary covering a musician – well known in the industry. Follow me on Instagram to keep updated on my movements and to be first to hear about new work dropping.