Meet a Maker: Tasha Willcocks 27 Feb

Designer, photographer, illustrator, Programme Manager at Hyper Island and all round creative superstar Tasha Willcocks caught our attention this week when she shared her amazing illustration of Fred Aldous. The illustration alongside a growing number of others feature as part of her new project #hypertipsmap. So far she has featured over 13 businesses, cultural centers, cafes and bars in Manchester. We caught up with Tasha over email to find out a bit more about the ideas behind the map.


Tell us about the idea behind the #hypertipsmap?

We get students on the Masters programme at Hyper Island from all over the world. This year we have people from Peru, Russia, Malaysia, Sweden, Brazil, Leeds… its goes on. Over all the crews we have had students from 39 different countries and growing… SO we wanted to give them a welcome pack to introduce them to this great city. I do an on going project called #mundaneaday which is an illustrated piece of typography each day and the comms team asked if I could do a doodle or two for the students – and it grew from there.

I started asking people to nominate their favourite places in Manchester and why so I could add to the welcome pack- it was directed at creatives at first but as I post them daily other people started to join in and I just kept going. Its been a great way of connecting with people and I love the odd conversations I have on Instagram with people – I have had space nominated by a space related group, a bar in Brooklyn and people in several other cities have asked where I’m doing next… but I aim to get Manchester done first. I love the fact its adding to the students understanding of the city through multiple eyes… and also hopefully in the future when I get it online as a site any Manchester Map grazers…


What is Hyper Island?

Hyper Island – How to sum up all the wonderfulness that lies on our shores…

Hyper Island designs learning experiences that challenge companies and individuals to grow and stay competitive in an increasingly digitized world. Our range of immersive programs and courses seeks to equip you with the necessary knowledge and skills to lead change and begin a journey of lifelong learning.”

I am the Programme Manager on the Digital Media Management Masters in Manchester, I have the pleasure of guiding a global creative mix of students through the initial 6 months based learning in the Manchester studio with a bevvy of live briefs, industry led talks, creative workshops, group tasks, Industry Leaders and then I help supervise the 4 months in industry working on their final project. Its intense and amazing.

Hyper Island was founded by multimedia (yes that was the buzzword then) pioneers Lars Lundh, Jonathan Briggs, and David Erixon in 1994- they met up for meat and potatoe pasties and to chat CDRoms ( I may have made up the pasty part… Cornish roots showing) So the name – Hyper Island was started in an old a former military prison on the island of Stumholmen, just off the idyllic coast of Karlskrona in Sweden this is where the “Island” part comes from and the Hyper? welllll – its often mistook for us being hyperactive and in to all things amazing-but actually “Hyper” was a popular coding term…..remember it was 1994. Thats our history in a very small snap shot – you can read more about Hyper Island here.

Where has been featured so far?

Ohhh so far – Central Library, The Chop Houses, The Castle (though I aim to redo those as they are images of Manchester Egg and chops) the Mighty Fred Aldous, Koffee Pot (old – I’m doing the new one soon) Takk, Oipolloi, Strawberry Studios, Salford Lads Club, Hatters, The Marble Arch, Afflecks, John Rylands…. theres more, but that gives you a taster – it grows daily.


What materials have you used to draw each building?

I have a massive block of printer paper, I’ve moved from Tombow brush pens to Copic… I’ve recently bought a new type of brush pen – but not had a play yet. Other than that a pencil and a well worn rubber…. and tea… a lot of tea.

What are your top 3 tips?

ARGHHHHHH – haha I change my mind a lot…. OK – today….

#1 – Night and Day Cafe: I worked there for a long time so I kind of grew up and found my Manchester feet between those wise walls, I heard a million bands, made a tonne of amazing friends and I think it may own my soul due to a contract obligation haha…

#2 – Fred Aldous: Not creeping – but I love this place…. read my reasons here

#3 – 24 Lever St:  Hyper Island is here, we have wood floors, pink support poles and a bundle of talented folk, BUT more than that the building is rammed to the rafters with amazing companies – The Neighbourhood, Reason Digital, SpacePortX, Music… I love this place – is that sad as I work there?!… OH AND we are getting the first of the roof top project gardens, we have a cinema screen and outside sound systems- This summer will be awesome. (Also its near Soup Kitchen who keep me alive with tasty treats and end the week with friends & cider on a Friday)


What else are you working on at the moment?

Setting up the course for the new crew at Hyper, lots and lots of planning. A new exhibition with Wonderhaus in April involving the Northern Quarter cafes and skateboards- called Meals on Wheels and Generic Greetings 4th Birthday at Takk. Generic Greeting are an art collective who create illustration, music, film, design and photography. I’m proud to be a part of this collective, I may be the gran of the bunch but they are a talented gang who get involved with all manner of crazy antics. COME invite your friends… I think I’m doing a few other things but those are the closest on the horizon…. Oh and de-fleaing my cat… any tips welcome…

What is next for the map?

I want to start doing more prints of the map, I have been asked for quite a few. I want to use lovely GF Smith stock and to play on the Riso with colours – that’s my immediate plan. THEN I have spoken to the amazing Empire Digital – I have grand plans and I’m hoping they will help – I want a website with all the drawings mapped out, that will link to the people who nominated it and to Google maps… and their sites… and and anddddd… I hope its possible!

Then maybe a new city? BUT I have lots left in Manchester to keep me occupied….

And finally… how can people recommend a tip?

Just @tashwillcocks or tag me on Instagram. Don’t give me a long list when I have had a few ciders- I’m afraid I may not remember- Twitter is the best so I can go back over to check.

You can see all of the #hypertipsmap illustrations and more of Tasha’s work over on her Tumblr: tashatime.tumblr.com


Images courtesy of Tasha Willcocks

Post a comment or ask a question