Meet the Artists: Rowan Oswald

Recently back from a huge overseas adventure, we caught up with full-time teacher and part-time typographic artist Rowan Oswald. From his letterforms to his outlook on life, we love this guy’s style…

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NZ artist and designer Rowan Oswald


You’ve just been overseas – where did you go? Tell us some highlights from the trip!
We were lucky enough to travel to LA, NY, London, Paris, Venice, Rome, Gallipoli, Cappadocia, Istanbul, Kusadasi, Samos, Athens, Amsterdam and Tokyo.  It was a whirlwind world tour as we have our first little one on the way.

It is so hard to decide on a highlight! Each place was amazing in its’ own right. I would have to say NY/London, Athens/Rome and Tokyo.

I always love going back to NY as the city has so much character! I hadn’t been to London before and I saw a lot of similarities between New York and London – in each you can hop on the subway, pop up somewhere new and it feels like you are in a whole new city. We also had the chance to catch up with old friends and family in both places. Cycling around Manhattan was definitely a highlight.

Athens/Rome were awe-inspiring. Walking amongst the ruins in the footsteps of giants, touching the marble and seeing everything I had read about blew me away. My wife often found it quite hard to drag me away from key areas like the Acropolis and the Roman Forum.

Tokyo and Japan are a home away from home for my wife and I. There is such a great mix of old and new, the future and the past. The people are so kind and helpful and all the little quirks fit perfectly with my personality. Japan is always a highlight!

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Checking out Rowan’s sketchbook…

What’s your ‘day job’?
I am a full time Teacher of Classics, History and Social Studies as well as an Assistant Dean. Being a Husky owner is part of the day job too, with the dog walks required!

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Rowan’s rad home studio and best fur-pal

We love your typographic art prints. Describe your style in 3 words?
Personal, dramatic and stylised.

When you’re not sketching/coming up with ideas, what else could we find you doing?
Something in the outdoors! I try to get outside as much as possible and explore. This could include dog walks, rugby (playing or coaching), going to the beach, hiking or even the odd farmer’s market! I take up any excuse to get outside.

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Getting a little inspo from nature…

What’s your favourite font at the moment? How about of all time?
My favourite font at the moment would have to be the original Times New Roman. While in Italy and Greece I was able to see the carvings of the font up close and I’m baffled by how they were able to get the lines so crisp and clean! They were perfect.

I don’t have a favourite font of all time but I do like the old school signwriting style that you see at the circuses and festivals.

I also love imagining walking down the streets 100 years ago and seeing all the names of the stores hand painted in different colours hanging above the entrances or in the windows. It must have been really beautiful.


Tell us about a couple of creatives/designers you are personally inspired by?
Casey Neistat: Film maker and daily vlogger. The guy just has the most positive outlook on life. He is so determined and makes me want to work harder.

Shepard Fairey: Street artist, designer and mastermind behind Obey. He has a strong image, made the transition from the streets to the galleries and is an outspoken cultural, political and rights activist.

Tadashi Yanai: Founder of UNIQLO in Japan. UNIQLO is easily my favourite store and I routinely spend all my money there while in Japan. The store has such a rad mix of retro and new clothes and a great brand mentality.

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Never not sketching!
What would be a dream collab/project you’d love to do?
Clothing wise: A collaboration with UNIQLO. Designing shirts that would be sold in their stores would be a dream come true.

Art: Anything big and in the public eye. I’d love to work with other artists and the council to beautify our environment with either art or nature.

You’re drawing and you’re totally in the flow – Where are you? Who (if anyone) is with you? What are you listening to (if anything), what are you sipping/snacking on?
I like to draw whenever I get the chance so it could be at a bar, at the beach or more recently at an airport. However, I am usually at my desk with my laptop open either watching a movie/tv series or listening to music. I listen to a variety of music such as Tool, Enter Shikari, Brand New, Alexisonfire, City and Colour, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Mumford and Sons, Bloc Party and NZ’s own Nature’s Best collection. At my feet will be my husky Loki as he very rarely leaves my side. You’d often find me sipping on orange juice and snacking on potato chips, squiggles or green tea Kit Kats from Japan. Super healthy!


Friends art print (available framed or unframed) by Rowan’s Art on

What inspired your ‘A small group of friends can change the world‘ print?
A lot of my work is inspired by what I see or hear. Songs that I can relate to influence my work a lot. A small group of friends can change the world is inspired by a song from the British band Enter Shikari. It is a positive message and an inspiring quote. It is a nice thought to think that a small group of friends can make a difference and it encourages me to try every day.


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Constellations art print and Drunks & Lovers art print


Photography of Rowan thanks to the talented Brijana Cato.

2 Replies to “Meet the Artists: Rowan Oswald”

  1. Rowan is my teacher at school, and I have seen his art book. Lots of his newer art has inspired me to start drawing again, and I am glad the Mr Oswald was kind enough to show me his works

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