While Stanley Chow is best known as an illustrator, he began his career as a DJ. Eventually moving into the art world, he has gained a large following for his signature style and subjects taken from the worlds of music, film, and sport. In the past, he has worked with everyone from The White Stripes and John Cooper Clarke to Manchester United and L’Equipe magazine.

Could you introduce yourself?

I'm Stanley Chow, I'm from Manchester and I am an artist and illustrator and sometimes DJ.

How has Manchester shaped you as an artist?

Well without Manchester I don't think I would have been an artist. I've always wanted to be an artist but Manchester and the people in Manchester allowed me to become who I am now really. I started out DJing in the centre of Manchester and I was designing flyers and posters. When I started, I didn't know where I was going to go but I just wanted to do things I enjoyed. I didn't expect to still be DJing 20 years later. From DJing I got to meet lots of people who worked in clubs and venues in Manchester, and they asked me to design more flyers and posters and then I was designing more music-based stuff.

Then I ended up working with the White Stripes and, once I worked with the White Stripes, that just took me international, but I wouldn't have been able to do that if it wasn't for designing flyers and posters for the bars and venues in Manchester. So that really helped my artistic growth.

How did the people around you help your artistic growth?

Well, the thing is the people I hung out with, we were all creative and we all wanted to be creative, but we didn't know if we were going to have careers in being creative. So, we all helped each other. Everyone would encourage each other to be better. We had other friends who became famous and then they would just take us along the ride, that became the encouragement we needed to persevere in doing our artistic stuff.

I think perseverance is the important thing and when you see your friends doing well it makes you have the belief to carry on doing what you believe in, whether it be DJing or being an artist. It would have been very easy to quit at any point in the first 10 years of my career. But when you see friends who have a book deal, or a record deal, or they've got exhibitions in New York, I thought, “right, if they can do that, I can do that.

Throughout your years as an artist can you picture the moment you saw the G9 for the first time?

My dad had one in the 1970s, when I was a young kid, but he was a massive Steve McQueen fan. When Steve McQueen died, he was heartbroken. He was also a big fan of Elvis and John Lennon, but Steve McQueen meant more to him for some bizarre reason. John Lennon and Elvis died at the same time, and I don't remember him being as sad about that, but I remember when Steve McQueen died, he was really upset.

How do you think the G9 jacket is related to the music industry?

Well for me it's all based around music. I feel like that's where the link is, style and music are so intertwined.

What do you think makes the G9’s design timeless?

Is it because it's very original or is it very classical? I think for me, my mantra for art is "simplicity is the key". When something becomes simple it can transcend time. It becomes timeless. I like to keep it simple, I like to strip it back, it's detail that doesn't need to be there. When you add too much detail in, it gives people opinions if you have too many things. When you have less detail, people have less opinions. And when you have less opinions, things can just go through time without being noticed, it just carries on.

I like the simplicity of the G9 jacket, because it fits with everything I do, because I want the work I do to look like it could have been done in the 1960s, not 2023. That's the work I try to create, and I feel like it's through the simplicity of it all that helps me to do that, which I think you can compare to the G9 jacket. It’s so simple and sleek, there's nothing that makes it stand out, and the fact that it doesn't stand out is what makes it impressive. It’s there all the time. If it’s too flash, people notice it too much and then that’s where opinions are formed. It’s when you have flashy things or extra detail that inform you of the time we're in, when you have less detail, nobody knows the era. And I feel that's the secret.

What does it mean to be British?

I'm Chinese, but I do feel British. Britishness is people who like structure and routine, it’s like Friday is fish and chip day. Britishness is always offering a cup of tea for everyone; everyone loves a cup of tea with everything they do. People love their Saturdays, all my friends like going to the pub on a Saturday, before the football, then we go to the football, and after the football we go back to the pub again. They like structure, that's something I've noticed about what I like as well, and I assume that's a British trait that’s instilled in me from living in this country.

But ultimately, I think the British are very welcoming and very kind and open to multiculturalism. That's the most important thing, which makes it easier for me to be here and to love Manchester and love Britain.