Cornish Creatives: Nick Radford & Tomorrow Is
Tomorrow is another day. Tomorrow is a brighter future. Tomorrow is hope. Tomorrow is our new beer and the first in line for our Cornish Creatives series. Cornish creatives is a new label series that we will be running for the foreseeable future - you can read more about that and how to get involved over here.
First off the line is a new 5.2% Pale Ale hopped with Cashmere and Loral.
We’ve taken one of our base pale recipes and hopped it up with something a little different. We’ve used and enjoyed Loral hops before, but the current batches we’re getting through are smelling especially great - so we were keen to start to showcase the variety. Look out for a single hop loral pale in the coming weeks. For this beer however we paired it with a variety that we rarely use, namely, Cashmere. It’s a straight 50/50 split between the two, and by all accounts, it has resulted in a floral and citrus focussed beer that serves up a refreshing departure from the commonly used varieties.
The artist for this particular label is the one and only Nick Radford. Nick’s been a friend of Verdant’s for well over a decade, or two, and an artist admired massively by us all. Not only for his visual art, but also his musical abilities. Nick’s been a member in a selection of amazing soul jazz fusions such as The Ambassadors of Sorrow and The Mighty Spectres alongside his solo outings as Frootful. We simply sent Nick the beer name and he instantly understood where we were coming from - in these current times it made perfect sense.
We caught up with Nick after the label was created and asked ten questions that will accompany all of our Cornish Collective collaborations.
Explain what you do in one short sentence?
I’m an illustrator, musician, dad(ford), and throwback chump - now living on The Lizard in deepest Cornwall.
Did you study your trade and if so where?
Yes, Illustration at Falmouth College of Arts.
How did you get into your groove?
It took a while... After a brief fling with animation, things slowly built up with the illustration. I’ve always found if you approach people who are doing something you like, chances are they might like your work too. Stranger magazine brought together a little creative hub of individuals, many of whom I’ve worked on some interesting stuff with since (including the editor, who’s now my wife!) I approached a lot of illustration agents, and eventually got picked up by Folio on the strength of some typographic tee designs I’d done. Twelve years later and I’m still with them, working for a number of clients both large and small. As for my long not very illustrious career as a struggling musician, that’s another story – although I’ve managed a few releases on Freestyle & Ubiquity Records (as Frootful and one half of The Mighty Sceptres respectively), with some tracks appearing in films and TV too.
How long have you been creating?
Since my days as a felt-tip wielding grom. I remember my mum correcting me once on how to spell fuck properly after reading one of my early comics (I think I was ten and had missed out the c).
If you weren't creating what would you be doing?
As a career? I might’ve put more effort into the music, but that’s creating too. I’m quite liking gardening at the moment!
What’s beyond your wildest dreams?
Breakfast, preceded by awakening from my wildest dreams due to a little person entering the bedroom. Otherwise, quite a few totally unaffordable rare records, playing a set at Glastonbury, having a classic car, surfing really big or heavy waves. A bit of general empathy from the majority of world leaders. Better still, certain world leaders being replaced by someone who actually knows what they’re doing.
Who do you take the most inspiration from and why?
People who have something to say with their artform. Such as the posters of Sister Corita Kent, or the music of Curtis Mayfield. These these are some crazy times we’re living in and activism has never been so important.
Why did you create / choose this piece for the can art?
I had the title, 'Tomorrow Is' to work with, which I took to be a message of uncertainty but hope. Environmentally, politically and socially. The city skyline represents society, the trees the environment, while the sun, giver of life itself, sets on the horizon, kneeling with the fist in the air salute in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, red sky at night, shepherd’s delight. Tomorrow is a brighter day. It was inspired by that line from Gil Scott-Heron: because Black people will be in the street searching for a brighter day. Here’s to the activists, to those fighting the good fight and making a positive difference – you know who you are.
What does Cornwall mean to you?
Since we moved from Falmouth to The Lizard, and being here during lockdown, everything! The sea, the coast, the community and land itself. Our kids don’t know how lucky they are. I watched something about Eric Burdon recently, where he said of the Nevada desert, you learn to love the desert and it loves you back, and that’s how I feel about our little corner of Kernow right now.
What’s your best piece of work and how did it come about?
Why, the Verdant can of course. Or maybe the We Are Music children’s book I did, which was shortlisted for a World Illustration Award last year. I used a lot of collage in the rendering of the illustrations, including different geometric forms to represent each genre of music, which took flippin' ages! The publisher (Simon & Schuster NY) approached me having seen some work I’d done for NYJO (the National Youth Jazz Orchestra), a long time client. I love producing music-related work, posters, album designs etc. Musically, I’m really proud of The Mighty Sceptres album we did. That one came about after I’d done some tee designs for Ubiquity – I sent a couple of Frootful releases over, and they were really interested in a collaboration between myself and singer/songwriter Angeline Morrison. We blew the entire advance on the recording and analog production, but it was worth it!
Tomorrow is will be available to purchase from the Verdant webshop from 10:30AM on Wednesday July 22nd.