Cover and process imagery for ‘The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat,’ commissioned by the Folio Society. All images courtesy of Martin O’Neill

'Gifted Fidget' Personal anagram collage project

'Flower Girls' Illustration and process imagery for M Magazine.

'Keeping up with the Germans by Philip Oltermann' book jacket project and process

 

O'Neill's studio desk

O'Neill's studio, on the South East Coast of England

O'Neill, age 21, at a rubbish dump in Germany, 1993

Cut and Paste

Monday, February 13th, 2012

When college student Martin O’Neill stumbled upon some trash on the outskirts of the Black Forest, he picked it up – but instead of throwing away it away, he became inspired.

“This was the first time I saw type as image, type as texture. And the first time I viewed a whole natural scene as a collage,” O’Neill recalls of the mass of paper debris, feathers, and steel cogs that he encountered eighteen years ago. “It was like accidentally finding treasure, but a treasure I’d not really valued before.”

Today, the United Kingdom-based graphic artist and illustrator behind Cut It Out makes collages by hand for magazines, vinyl labels, prints, and more. His latest commissioned project is for Oliver Sacks’ The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat. The best-selling book features O’Neill’s scalpel-wielding work on the front cover and in ten full-page illustrations.

While other artists embrace their Creative Suites and threaten to never let go, O’Neill prefers an old-fashioned exacto. “I use my Mac like a colour copier, really. Just for enlarging/reducing and tweaking bits of scanned material,” the designer says. “And until Apple unveils that 10-foot tabletop touchscreen Mac,” he adds, “I’m gonna still be changing scalpel blades every week.” 

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