Artist in Residence: Darryll Jones

Born in South Africa in 1974, Darryll decided in 2009 to bring his little family over the sea to the sunny and tropical shores of… England. Looks like he must have got the brochures mixed up, because sunny and tropical it is not.

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Having worked as a graphic designer in South Africa, he found similar work was harder to come by in England and began building his photographic portfolio. Based off of loose themes like “yellow”, “lines” or “silhouettes”, his collection of work grew, as did his portfolio. Unfortunately, the cold, wet winters the UK is known for settled in, all but eliminating his favorite subject: the outdoors.

Stuck inside for yet another day, inspiration struck. He took a little Stormtrooper off of his shelf and starting setting up little scenes to shoot. Making his own little studio out of desk lamps, polystyrene boards, clips, and anything else on hand, he set the scenes with the figurine as the centerpiece. It was around this time that Instagram became popular, and Darryll became addicted to the creativity and instant feedback the platform provides and used this to fuel his career.

After going through many different generations, phases, and sizes of Stormtroopers, he settled on the Black Series 6 Inch we have all come to know as Eric. As Darryll’s career as a studio lifestyle and food photographer evolved, so too did Eric’s adventures with friends, and this keen interest in the food photography is what helped Eric blossom.

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Darryll says the thing that has really driven this the most is the Instagram community. The opportunity to hear someone say “You made me smile!” has always been his only goal. If an idea for a shoot comes into his head that makes him laugh, it’s time to set it up and snap some shots. With a head full of ideas for Eric and his pals, he intends on doing a lot more with it in the coming year, including a cookbook, some exhibitions, and a day-to-day blog.

When asked about tips for aspiring toy photographers, he says “get obsessed with it, talk to your toys, listen to them, give them their own personalities and don’t labour too much on your images being perfect. Just take a lot, and in time, it will all come together. Get onto Instagram if you are not already, instant feedback will inspire you. Keep a sketchbook on you at all times, and make notes of ideas and do little doodles of setups. The bottom line is, have fun! If you are enjoying it, others will too.”

With a new year of Star Wars ahead, we can only assume Darryll and Eric will be some busy buggers.

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