Art & Photography / In Pictures

Variations on Normal by Dominic Wilcox

We speak to inventor and designer Dominic Wilcox on his new book, Variations on Normal

Variations on Normal by Dominic Wilcox
Variations on Normal by Dominic Wilcox

Dominic Wilcox’s charming illustrations combine wit and imagination in order to challenge everyday objects and inventions. The RCA graduate made a name for himself in 2012 when he released a pair ofNo Place Like Home GPS shoes, inspired by The Wizard of Oz. He has since worked with Paul Smith, Selfridges and BMW Mini, channeling his inquisitive thoughts and engaging cartoons. In 2012, he tweeted that he would like to race a 3D printer. Curator Beatrice Gaililee caught wind of the declaration and arranged a duel between man and printer to make a replica of the Duomo Cathedral in Milan, as part of Milan Design Week. Wilcox was victorious, and later won a UK based re-match at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

His latest book, Variations on Normal, features a collection of illustrated inventions that balance absurdity and logic. There are 125 original and amusing thoughts, ranging from the practical to the ludicrous and the poignant. The book was also the inspiration for the Wilcox’s Selfridges' window display back in January 2014 as part of the Festival of Imagination. Here, AnOther speak to Wilcox about the book.

When did you develop the idea for this book?
I've had the thought that I should publish a book of my sketched inventions for a long time. For many years I would draw them in my sketchbooks and not really show them to anyone except some friends. They would say 'you should publish these as a book!' and I would reply 'yeah, I should' but then get distracted by some other idea. I recently had an exhibition at the KK Outlet on Hoxton Square and decided that I should sit down, go through my sketchbooks and pick out the best ones. It's nice to see all my drawings and ideas put together in one place, I can now show it to my ex-school teachers and say 'see, I wasn't daydreaming all day for nothing.'

What is your favourite illustration/invention within the book?
It's difficult to say, I keep changing my mind. Today it's the lock that can only be opened by tickling. Funnily enough with the way technology is going I wouldn't be surprised if something like this becomes reality. Keys are so medieval.

Which idea would you use most in real life?
Without doubt the Name Remembering GPS would be highly useful at parties. As soon as someone tells me their name, I seem to forget it.

Is there anybody within the public eye that you would recommend one of these ideas to?
I think my Side Signage Rings idea will be very popular amongst all the newly engaged celebrities. It's important the world notice their giant diamond ring, otherwise what's the point?

Variations on Normal is published by Square Peg on August 21.

Text by Mhairi Graham