Nothing comes from nowhere: an interview with Anthony Burrill.

7 min readAug 14, 2022

‘Nothing comes from nowhere.’

I have heard my grandfather say these words all my life. He strongly influenced me, and this message, though simple, means you can only achieve completeness through action. We need to fill the emptiness, the gaps, the void of life by making something.

This same statement is in the work of British graphic artist, printmaker and designer Anthony Burrill and motivated me to try and get an interview with him.

Anthony Burrill

I started asking where the statement came from:

Anthony: I was listening to an interview with Richard Rogers (the British architect), and it was within one of his sentences: “nothing comes from nowhere”. I liked the phrase; the words ‘nothing’ and ‘nowhere’ and the nothingness, the emptiness they both have, just as an idea. Then, thinking is like everything we experience in our lives, how we experience children growing up, and all that has a relevant impact on our lives, our value system, and the way we live. It is about ideas brought from other ideas. Nothing comes from a vacuum; it doesn’t just appear.

“All my work is about simplifying those big ideas into very simple short statements, and being able to reduce things as much as possible (…) Just have enough visual information to communicate. It’s all about that”.

I was introduced to Anthony through my network, and I emailed him with a few questions. To my surprise, he said he would be in London soon (he lives with his family in Kent) and suggested a coffee in his favourite museum — the British.

I diligently dug into his work and book “Make It Now”, a life-affirming guide to new thinking, creative problem-solving and getting things done, (2017 by Virgin Books).

Make It Now — Anthony Burrill

In ‘Make it Now’, you wrote some lists with your personal inspirations. I would love to hear you expanding on the topics of Self Publishing and Letterpress. Can you share how it inspires you?

Anthony, on self-publishing: When I left college in the 1990s, it was pre-internet, so there was no