In With the New: Oscar Torrans

In With the New

6th March 2017
by Oscar Torrans

Cover image: In With the New: Oscar Torrans

'The most important thing I've learned so far? Being open and abandoning the word "should". After leaving college I had a more modernist approach and felt things "should" look a certain way or boxes need to ticked in order for it to be "good",but if it's effective it’s effective, it doesn’t matter what form the outcome takes. If you keep that closed-minded approach you’ll end up like one of those freaks in the comments section of Brand New...' After studying in DIT, Oscar Torrans set up on his own for a while, working a lot with music promoters in Dublin. But he soon felt it was time to go to work and live abroad for a while, and so he headed first for Sagmeister & Walsh in New York and then Studio Moross in London, where he landed a little while ago.

Materials for Higher Vision, a new music festival in Dublin, designed by Oscar Torrans

'I looked abroad for work as I love to travel and graduating when I did most of my friends already had left Dublin. I managed to get work with Sagmeister & Walsh which was a great opportunity to work on high profile projects and in ways I hadn’t before. The studio has a mix of really talented people from different design backgrounds; on a project I could be working with set designers, photographers and animators which opens up so many possibilities. Of course, the studio has its peculiarities. Being filmed all day got pretty trippy... and no, I didn’t get naked.' Now he's working with Studio Moross, where work with a wide range of music clients is a real draw: 'I love working with music as it’s not so defined as other clients. I love translating music from an audio landscape to a visual one, crafting a mood and atmosphere around it. Music can immerse you and creating a visual response to that immersion is what I enjoy most.'

Music posters designed by Oscar Torrans

There is plenty to learn and be exposed to in Studio Moross, though on a smaller scale than in SW: 'The studio is small, only about 8 people and 2 dogs. Half is motion design and have graphic design/illustration. I haven't worked in video before so it’s been great to think about art direction for a musician and how that will translate in their music videos.' And how about those clients, who are they? 'The studio's client list can be a bit surreal to work for as they range from new young musicians to The Stone Roses and Skepta.' Oscar tells us more about the draw to design for music: 'I was designing mostly for house/techno clubs the past few years. They are very special places where the constraints of the outside world disappear and this bizarre tribal transcendent experience takes over very different to any other type of music show so designing for that mind-space has always excited me. The capacity of many of the Dublin clubs I worked for were around 600-900 so the community you are communicating to is very niche. It allows you to use a visual language that would be lost on those outside of that subculture.'

Music posters designed by Oscar Torrans

While back in Ireland in between New York and London Oscar did a lot of work for his friend's organisation Pussys. 'They put produce talks, exhibitions and articles focusing on youth culture, gender, sexuality and lgbtq issues among other things. The logo itself is subverting the notion of the weak from the word “pussy” and making it aggressive and proud like it’s saying, “Yeah I’m a pussy so what I’ll still kick the shit out of you”. The direction throughout was subverting symbols of machismo and presenting alternative lifestyles with the same bravado as lads mags.' Recently Pussys put on an exhibition of Underground Gay Rave flyers from the 70’s-00’s in Ireland called Pilly Willy. As well the identity for the show, they asked Oscar to create a line of clothing inspired by the flyers and the Pussys' ethos. 'I really enjoyed doing something where my work was the product, rather than just helping communicate the product. In that role there is far more room for self expression and authorship as opposed to regular client work where you are expressing someone else's message.' His work for Pussys has not just been positive for Oscar, it's quite literally left a mark on others too: 'People have identified with Pussys so much that there are already four tattoos of the logo. Work that connects with people in a positive way like that I’d definitely like to do more of.'

Identity and materials for Pussys designed by Oscar Torrans

Take a look at Oscar's work on his website, while you can see his 100 submissions here, including his work with Simon Sweeney for District Magazine, selected for the 2014 Archive.

Past Archives
View All