INSPIRE ME – with 2d Scrumptious

Todays feature is focused on Steven Lenton – the talent behind fabulous character based print company 2d Scrumptious and children’s book illustrator.

Steven, is also an animator and illustrator who has Art directed BAFTA winning animations.


Where do you get the inspiration for your wonderful 2d Scrumptious prints?

My original inspiration was Crouch End where I live – this was a great starting point for the creation of a range of characters, dogs and beloved local landmarks. This lead to more dogs designs, then the Royal Wedding and Diamond Jubilee. My new work is going to feature a range of Zoo animals in tweed!


  

Can you tell me about your children’s books that will be available to buy soon?

My first release is a board book with Little Tiger Press called ‘Five Christmas Penguins’ This fun book has a very eye-catching, red shiny cover and will available exclusively at Sainsburys from September. I am currently working on the follow up to this featuring a family of very cute Snowmen.

My second is a picture book written by award-winning author Tracey Corderoy entitled ‘Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam’ all about two robber-dogs that discover the wonders of baking! This is with publisher Nosy Crow and is out next March.

Is this something you’ve always wanted to do?

Yes I have always wanted to make children’s books and create a brand/products. Anything that involves designing characters is something that I really enjoy so this is a great way of inventing new characters every day

How did you make the transition from animation to illustration?

When I had long animation contracts I would work on my own ideas and characters in the evenings and weekends – it took years to build my confidence to finally work on my first prints for the exhibition in Crouch End that I did with Mia Nilsson at The Haberdashery cafe. The exhibition went really well and these prints are still selling well today. From this I built a portfolio suitable to send to Children’s book agents and publishers and fortunately I was signed up.

You have a very long list of work credits – I’d love to know if you have any personal highlights so far?

My first job working at Ragdoll has a special place in my heart. Visiting the Teletubby set and working with the creators of this show and In The Night Garden was a great experience and I learned a lot about TV production. Holby City was also very different – I was starstruck on a daily basis, having lunch next to members of the Eastenders cast in the BBC canteen was truly surreal!


What is the best piece of advice you could give to someone wanting to start a career in your field?

Its such a cliché but keeping drawing really is the key. Using observational drawing as the basis for all your work is the best way to create original and refreshing design.

What does the rest of 2012 hold for you?

I’m working on a new brand idea involving a collection of very charming little characters. I will also be starting work on my second Nosy Crow book and preparing for the book launch of ‘Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam.’ I’m very excited about this as there will be lots of activities for little ones and fun products based on these two loveable dog characters!

You can find 2d Scrumptious prints, cards and other lovely goodies at notonthehighstreet.com Thanks to Steven – I am in awe !

 

Please share the love by clicking on the links below xx :)

 

My home made 50s wedding dress…

Wedding 2As I may have mentioned *ahem*.. a few moths ago, Andy and I got married.

I’m not sure what possessed me at the time to want to make my own dress in only a few months, but I’m glad I did. It was a really great experience and I learnt so much about dressmaking.

I was lucky to have some help from Sarah Belinda who knows loads about wedding dresses – it was invaluable, let me tell you !

My hair flower was from Rose Garden Accessories and the heels –  Rachel Simpson.

Our wedding photographer was Laura Babb she was really great to have around. Have a peek at her site..

Wedding1Of course there was the little issue of needing to make three little bridesmaid dresses too….

One night whilst sitting at my sewing machine, literally covered in silk dupion threads I did question my sanity…. but got there in the end !

Andy wore a Paul Smith suit – he looked very handsome and rather retro :)

Wedding 6We got married at The Theatre Royal Bury in St Edmunds and it was an amazing day. The crew were so helpful. We chose this venue partly because it felt right as both of us come from an entertainment background *jazz hands* although it was quite low key and easy going really.

The wedding was inspired by the 50s, my love of kitsch and of course the theatre itself… Dahhhling :)

Our light up letters hired from the super lovely company Vowed and Amazed..

The main thing for us was that everyone felt at ease and that we avoided doing anything that was alien to us. It’s sometimes hard when you’re in the thick of it but it’s important to be yourselves… in my opinion.

Weddign 3How clever is my friend Juliet ? The cake she made for us was just so amazing. The stage looked really effective once the curtains were back with the pom poms and disco balls hovering above us all whilst we ate curry and then some theatre ice creams…. :)Miserable Man sang at the ceremony and he was brilliant. So chilled. I really recommend our band later in the evening too – Ready Steady Go.

Wedding7Hope you like these pics ? :)

If you’re thinking of making your own dress and want some tips – get in touch..

Please share the love by clicking on the links below… xx

 All Photography Copyright Laura Babb 2012.

INSPIRE ME – with Bombus.

Today my ‘Inspire Me’ feature is focused on Amelia Coward, owner of unique découpage gift company Bombus.

Mixing vintage style with modern design, the Bombus ethos is “making something out of nothing” – producing pieces such as bespoke map art, Up-cycled stamp art chairs, cards and jewellery to name but a few….

Amelia, what is your early design background ?

People often ask how I got into découpage and I realise that this was something my mother had introduced me to at a very young age. She would give me scissors and an old magazine and I would cut out small images and organise them in piles. She then taught me how to glue the pictures onto large pebbles and varnish them for door stops.

and your formal design background ?

 I studied textiles and weave at Central St Martins; followed by postgraduate study at The Royal College of Art. After several years working in the commercial textiles and furniture industry I was keen to get back to doing something handmade.

The Bombus story ?

It started in 2003, when I découpaged vintage cowboys and Indian comic strips to a 1950s coffee table. I used it for a shop window display as a prop and it sold within hours. This technique was applied onto chairs and a range of home-ware products. Customers were keen to commission special pieces using their own choice of comics and vintage papers. The light-bulb moment came when I stumbled across a box of old maps. The concept of applying maps to the products, took my designs to a whole new world of eager customers. I now had a waiting list of people wanting their own choice of map location applied to the products.

Nine years later…

We are now a team of seven and working out of our dedicated studio space in a converted stable block on a farm in Kent.

Do you have a Signature product ?

The Bespoke Map Heart. Everyone loves maps and certain places hold special memories. The beauty of our bespoke map collection is that the customer can choose their own map location. You can be as detailed as a street name, as broad as a whole country or anywhere in between.

What was your inspiration ?

In 2007, when my partner and I moved house, I made a Valentines card using a vintage map of the area we were moving to. It was a simple idea but I realised that it could potentially be a good commercial product.

Any advice for a designer thinking of setting up in business ?

Get your pricing right. We time each part of the making process against a stopwatch, so we know the exact cost of labour. There are the obvious costs of materials of course but it’s also critical to remember stuff like VAT and the commission percentage if you are selling via a third party. Keep checking your price against your competitors and contemporaries. We always try to aim for a profit margin of at least 45%. You can’t be sentimental about a product that isn’t going to make you any money.

What does 2012 hold for your brand ?

We’ve had a great year so far. We exhibited at a trade fair in January and now sell via more than 30 independent retailers across the country, including Liberty of London who stock some of our greetings cards. We sell via our own website of course and have two storefronts on Notonthehighstreet.com We are exhibiting at another trade fair, Pulse London in June, where we will be launching new collections and developments of our current range. We’re in early stages of developing a textile collection, which we’re very excited about. And following frequent customer enquiries we’re also currently designing a wedding stationery collection. We’re hoping to ‘soft launch’ the wedding stationery in autumn this year with a full launch in the spring of 2013. We just wish there were more hours in the day!

A big thanks to Amelia and her company – I have much admiration for her. 

Please do leave a comment and share the love by clicking on the links below :) xx

INSPIRE ME – with Beauvamp.

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 15.00.19I’ve made no secret of the fact that I really like this brilliant company. My Beauvamp lampshade gets more attention than me, which is fine :) because it’s a real feature and I love it.

Alice, owner of Beauvamp specialises in making one off and limited edition pieces and everyone is unique because they are handmade. Her designs have featured on BBC2 and she has been working on some other really interesting projects recently too… I find her work very inspirational. p00pk9cp

Alice, I think you have a great eye for colour, is this something you’ve always had?

Well, I’ve always loved colour and as much of it as possible. I like a real mish mash and don’t shy away from a good clash! Big splashes of colour can brighten up your day and are great to have dotted around the home. I tend to keep my walls and furniture in pale colours such as white, greys and creams, this helps to really make your colours jump out from the crowd.

Did you study textiles or design?

Not straight away. I used to work in the events industry putting proposals forward for corporate client events, such as set and stage design, team building activities and theming ideas, which was fun but only ideas on paper. I actually decided that I wanted to design and make for myself and see the finished product. I have been interested in interiors since before I can remember and was forever changing my bedroom furniture around as a kid and decorating my walls with all sorts of nik naks. Design was always my favourite subject at school but then ventured off into marketing and events later realising I was destined to come full circle. I eventually set off on a furniture renovation course learning all the tricks of the trade and two years later, BeauVamp was born in 2007. It’s been great to be able to set up my own business working from my home in Derbyshire whilst having enough time to also spend with my 2 boys. I have 2 workshops and a fab sun room in the house from which to create my designs.

Where do you get the inspiration for your wonderful pattern and colour combinations?

All sorts of places. Travelling through India and across South East Asia was a real eye opener with amazing fabric patterns and colour combinations in the local markets. Catwalk fashion from the 40’s right through to the present day along with interior and craft magazines are another great source for seeing what’s evolving and new out there and then creating your own take on things.

How long does it take to create each lampshade?

It really depends on the design, but I usually spend over 2 days preparing and making a standard lampshade with just one fabric and trim. Lampshades with more fabrics and fringing can take longer.

Working in a patchwork method I mainly apply a range of fabrics over the top of a sound base fabric, this allows all sorts of light weight fabrics to cover the shade that would not normally be suitable if using the old and traditional method of stretching. Working in this way means I can really play around with the fabric patterns for example when working with stripes, each panel can be cut to a different angle, i.e. horizontally, diagonally, vertically and so on. Or a number of different patterned fabrics can be applied to just one shade. There are an abundance of fringing options available from hand sewing my own ruffle trim in fabric to applying glass beading, tassels, feathers, pom poms, the choice is never ending, a real wonderland mix! BV2
BV1

I’d love to know more about the vintage lampstands that you revamp?

Yeah, I have been working on these more recently and have attached a few pictures for you to see. I salvage original vintage stands and recondition them. I have them professionally re-wired if needed and then prepare them for paints and fabrics. Paints used are usually from the Farrow & Ball or Little Greene collections and then the fabrics are applied again in a patchwork manner using a fabric adhesive. The fabric is then coated in a special matt sealant that makes the fabric hardwearing.

Do you have lots of interesting commissions coming up?

Well, I’ve just finished some exciting projects, one of them being the new Zizzi restaurant in Victoria, London, where I got to work with B3 Designers on providing the lighting ( pictures attached). I’ve been told they are submitting the restaurant into the Restaurant and Bar Design Awards, so that’s all very exciting and I wish them the best of luck. http://www.restaurantandbardesignawards.com/

I’ve also been busy producing lampshades for the recently featured Ann Robinson Show on BB2, My Life In Books. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01czf06

I also have a few more potential projects in the pipeline for a pub chain and hope to be launching my new online shop shortly www.beauvamp.com …… watch this space! Please note in the mean time all my current stock can be viewed on the following link www.notonthehighstreet.com/beauvamp

If anyone has any question or ideas they would like to discuss just drop me line at alice@beauvamp.com and I will be glad to assist.

Thanks Alice. A very clever woman ! :)

Please do share the love by clicking on the links below xx

Com’pleated’ 50s dress ;)

  

Dress finished ! The gathers of the skirt pattern went out of the window and in came some pleats ( also very vintage ! ) Mainly due to a slight shortage of fabric, but actually it’s turned out for the best and the shape is very flattering.

What do you think ?

The Horrockses fabric that I bought is now out of stock at the V & A for the time being but having chatted to like minded folk, we would all love to see it in the shops nationwide. Hope this happens some day soon :) Oh, and have you entered my Diamond Jubilee Horrockses Fashions Giveaway yet ? Direct your eyes to the right of this post to enter !

    

I’m making a 50s polka dot dress this week for my lovely friend and some girls dresses with really bold prints. One in a Momo Alice Kennedy Owl fabric and the other a pink butterfly/kitsch. Honestly, I fall in love with fabrics on a daily basis – and these ones are uber cute. Will post them up later this week :)

Also working on my own pattern for an Art Deco skirt. It’s amazing being able to make what’s in my mind now and can’t wait to start choosing the fabrics.

I just wish there were another 24 hours in each day ! :)

Feel free to use this dress image – just add a link to LucyLovesya – Thanks.

Please do share the love by clicking below …. xx

Beautiful Brighton – Part 2

B1Well, where do you start with great shops in Brighton ? There’s a fair few.

But, I have several that I head straight for ( salivating all the way ) when I’m in Town. What I especially love about these ones is that they have all started out in Brighton.

It will come as no surprise that Irregular Choice on Bond Street is high up on the hit list. I go all giddy when I enter their establishment. They sure know how to make a girl happy… and not forgetting their men’s ranges ! Their shoe, bag and clothing designs are so clever and unique. The sparkly jewellery section is hard to tear yourself away from too.

They also stock Poetic Licence shoes.
Since Dan Sullivan, the designer opened the first shop, they have gone on to open others in New York,  London and Hong Kong.. along with ranges in many other well known shoe stores.
It’s always nice to know though that this one is where the magic began. B2

Dolly Dagger is a vintage inspired Boutique at Brighton Place. You may well have visited their lovely website already ? If you’re looking for a pretty prom 50s style dress or a fitted 40s number then I absolutely recommend this place. I find their clothing to be very well made. They have lovely cardigans, the leopard print one being my favourite :) They also stock other brands including a nice selection of shoes and some awesome jewellery pieces by designers such as Tarina Tarantino and Steven Shein along with their own fab range. B3

There is a fairly new shop called This is Not a Butchers ( website coming soon ). You won’t miss it if you’re heading up Bond Street. It’s full of really fun, colourful homeware including lovely lighting. They’ve got great gifts and I noticed although this was my first visit there, that the staff are really friendly. Always an important factor.

In Kensington Gardens you will find Get Cutie. They are a Boutique, who handmake their dresses, skirts and homeware. They use really gorgeous unusual retro style fabrics – which they stock per metre too. I’ve been a fan of this company for a long time and they are always very helpful online when you make an order – and will make your desired dress if it isn’t in stock ! B4

The fabric shop I pretty much jog too when in Brighton is Ditto Fabrics, again in Kensington Gardens. I love the people who work in there and they have a superb selection of across the board fabrics – If you’re a dressmaker or just love gawping at lovely material, have a look at their site. The prices are really reasonable. B5

I could go on and on but I think these are enough to be getting on with :)

xx

Beautiful Brighton – Part 1.

Lucy-on-Brighton-Beach

We had a lovely little break last week. Brighton is one those places that if I don’t visit for a while, I get cold turkey. In fact we lived in Hove, Actually :) for a while and often wonder whether we should have stayed longer.

Lights-1

Apart from the amazing shops in the lanes ( my favourites in Part 2 tomorrow ) – I love the good people of Brighton and their open natures, the fresh sea air, the architecture and the real feeling of creativity all around. There’s also a sense of transience and lightness which appeals to me.

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A little way back, in the early Noughties the place seemed to experience a bit of a dip, it felt a bit run down after the madness of the 1990’s where house prices rocketed and it was the cool hip place to live. But in my opinion Brighton seems alot cleaner these days.

I blame my slight obsession with the place on watching Quadrophenia way too much as a teenager ! I travelled down to Brighton with mates on more than one occasion at the time in my target t-shirt and parka coat, just to hang out. But now, It’s great to visit just to get inspired and enjoy the buzz with the family.

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It’s a shame to see the Hippodrome closed up now, it’s such a great building that holds alot of history. It’s been an ice rink, has hosted circus acts and been an entertainment venue for bands such as the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. Fingers crossed it’s open again soon.

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There’s so much outside stuff for kids to do and on a windy day we stumbled upon a fantastic free animation class at Brighton Royal Pavillion Museum, I was really impressed by the experience and the teacher was excellent. We were instructed to make jungle animals and made a short film. The museum itself is full of an eclectic mix of exhibits ranging from ancient Egypt through to retro interiors, theatrical outfits and amazing artwork. Make sure you pop in if you are in the area !

The walks along the promenade to the pier are just the best – I took a few snaps along the way…

Enjoy the rest of your Bank Holiday

xx

INSPIRE ME – with Vowed and Amazed.

One evening, a  few months ago, when Andy and I were nearing our wedding day, I found myself stalking alternative wedding blogs looking for that missing ‘something’.
I was scrolling down on one site and BOOM there they were – Big light up ‘Love Letters’ made by Vowed and Amazed. As I looked through some more of their images I found more and more unique, fabulous wedding props, signs and sets and knew that we had to have a piece of them :) I’m so glad we did.

‘Inspire Me’ this week is all about Stuart and Caroline, creative duo behind Vowed and Amazed

How did you two meet ?
We met at Art College when we were 18, I’m afraid it wasn’t love at first sight ! We didn’t actually get on very well ! It wasn’t until we had left college and had gone our separate ways to University we realised the error of our ways, by which time we were 3 hours drive apart ! But we saw each other nearly every weekend and after Uni we moved to London together.  After a year in London we started an events company called ‘Oh My God! I Miss You…’ with our friend Becky from Art College, we started putting on over the top themed club events and that was our first experience of working together. We worked on that at weekends and Stuart was working in set building during the week and getting some really good experience.


What Inspired you to start up Vowed and Amazed ?
Well, we got engaged and started planning our own wedding ! We had quite a reputation with our friends for building extravagant things for our club events so we really wanted to go all out. We had a theme in our minds of a cross between a fete, a funfair and the set of an abandoned old Elvis film ! We’ve always been obsessed with the look of old funfairs like Carter’s Steam Fair and we had already made a few light up signs for ourselves to decorate our flat. So we started designing and building. We began with a funfair stall that we had already built for Glastonbury festival and we adapted that to be a bar for our marquee. We then went on to build our initials in giant wooden light up form, and a vintage style high striker. We renovated 5 huge old funfair teacups from an old ride to dot about in the field as decorations, designed and built our own classy bouncy castle !  We also made various wooden signage.  We are both suckers for thinking we can do everything ourselves so we ended up decorationg our own wedding cake and I (Caroline) designed and helped my Mum make my wedding dress, Let me tell you it is probably not the best idea to try and take on that much in one go ! After the wedding everyone kept telling us that we sould hire out the pieces we had made to other people and so ‘Vowed & Amazed!’ was created.

You make all of your designs, how long does each piece take ?
It really depends on the scale of the piece and how many funfair lights are involved !  Many of new our pieces are a learning process for us so it can be trial and error at first.  We can turn out a single giant wooden letter in two days.
We moved out of London so we could afford a bigger workshop and it’s full of past and future projects, we’re always building something. When we’re not working we spend our spare time in our workshop anyway, working on personal projects like the old Arcade machine we found on a street corner !

Tell me about the different kinds of events you have been involved with.. 
In the past as set builders we have worked with all sorts ! Glastonbury, The Puppini Sisters, Red Bull, Givenchy, Harrods to name a few. It’s nice with the wedding side of things that it’s a bit more personal,we to get to meet individuals and hear about their plans for their big days ! We haven’t done any celebrity weddings yet, I’m sure it’s just a matter of time !

                                                                    Photo by Laura Babb

At our wedding, people were really impressed by the ‘Love Letters’ – what has the reaction been like at Wedding Fairs ?
It’s been great, people keep telling us they have never seen anything like us before ! People love the fact we build it ourselves and we’ve had so many compliments from customers and fellow suppliers alike.


Do you have lots in store for the rest of this year ?
Yes ! We never stop designing together ! We are working on a really large scale funfair light piece ( and you know if we say it’s big, it must be huge ! )  We are also working on a design for a slightly darker/edgier light up sign for people who aren’t into the lovey dovey side of weddings so much ! and are hoping to get in more great blogs like this one too !

Thanks to Stuart and Caroline. How could you not be inspired by these two ?
xx

Horrockses Giveaway Hip Hip Hooray ! CLOSED

Today is the start of my collaboration with the wonderful Horrocksesfashions.co.uk *Yippety Yey* and they have provided me with a double ‘silky’ prize for a lucky winner.

The iconic fashion brand from the 1940s and 50s ( in fact their first ever fashion collection was launched 66 years ago today ) has recently been revived with a stunning collection of bedspreads, silk cushions, quilt covers, sheets and pillowcases.

Inspired by their original dress patterns worn by celebrities and also royal family members, Horrocksesfashions.co.uk have created 12 different and very beautiful designs – British Isles, Fashionista, Bunty, Cindy, Georgina Betty, Eletta, Martha, Claudette, Doris Daisy, Audrey and Alice..  They are all incredibly distinctive each with their own ‘personality’ and the bed linens are 100% cotton. Very elegant and bright, with a homely feel, these would really brighten up your boudoir :)

Queen Elizabeth II is without doubt the most high profile person to ever wear the Horrockses gowns and day dresses. To commemorate the Diamond Jubilee, Horrockses have designed a limited edition silk headscarf and cushion. The cushion design features a stunning image of the Queen wearing a stunning floral Horrockses Fashion Day dress whilst on her Commonwealth tour in 1954.

To enter this Giveaway to win a Limited Edition silk scarf and cushion answer this question:

What is your favourite Horrocksesfashions.co.uk pattern?

Head over to Twitter, and Tweet your answers to @lucylovesyablog and add #lucyloveshorrockses to your entry…. You have 12 to choose from !

T and Cs

One winner will be selected on Wednesday 9th May 2012 and contacted by DM.            No purchase necessary.                                                                                                    This Giveaway is for UK entrants only.

xx

Keep up to date with all things Horrockses Fashions by following them on Twitter @sarahhorrockses and visiting www.horrocksesfashions.co.uk

INSPIRE ME – with Artist Kitty Finegan

Kitty-HiveThere are times in life when you come across an artist that literally blows you away. Well, that’s what happened to me when I discovered Kitty Finegan.

Brighton based Kitty produces art that is timeless, infused with colour and with “a dusting of razzle dazzle”. Kitty has also teamed up with Helen Rochfort to create a fabulous range of handbags which have been featured on ITV’s This Morning programme.

I am SO pleased that Kitty has agreed to feature in my ‘Inspire Me’ post for this week…. Kitty-Paulo-Nuttini

 WIN a fabulous Kitty Finegan Limited Edition ‘Muddy Water’ print below

( Details of how to enter at the end )

Did you always want to be an artist?

I think I’ve probably been an Artist most of my life really, I was blessed with an artistic ability at a very early age, and am very fortunate to have an amazing Mother who encouraged every talent my brother and I had as children. (she still does now we are in our 40’s)

For most of my childhood, our home surroundings contradicted the physical setting in which we lived. Our Dad used to run Working Men’s Clubs, (like tv’s ‘Phoenix Nights’) often situated in rough and ready areas in the North East of England. We lived in accommodation above the Clubs and used to relocate every 3-5 years to a new town. Our homes were always filled with beautiful artwork, books and antiques and we were very fortunate to have the financial wealth that allowed us to travel, and realize the world outside of where we actually lived.

Our Mam was a Primary School Teacher, amongst other things, who specialized in Art & Craft. She worked with Gypsy Children and those who had been excluded from school. Many of these children ended up working at our kitchen table, as their own home surroundings were too crowded and busy to allow artistic expression. Her creativity and vision gave lots of children in her care, the ability to use everyday items to make something artistic and visually pleasing. Her beautiful nature gave them the confidence to be proud of what they had created and how it had been achieved.

In retrospect, I now totally believe the concept of Art being a form of escapism, where new worlds can be created to bring joy and happiness to the viewer or participant. I was very happy to live amongst people who were probably escaping their day to day existence by frequenting the Working Men’s Clubs; taking part in fabulous escapism rituals like Bingo, Raffles, Meat Draws and Saturday Night Bands & Performers.

There have been periods of my life when I didn’t really bother much with drawing though. I suppose my artistic leanings have showed themselves in decorating the many places I’ve called home, and the clothes and hairstyles I’ve had over the past few decades.

I’ve only recently started to call myself an Artist. Grace Coddlington, Creative Director at USA Vogue Magazine, says that art and creations become more relevant when you’ve got an audience. After hearing this I am now very proud to call myself an Artist and am very, very grateful to the people who go to see and buy my work. Groove-is-in-the-heart-

Who inspired you and why?

Early Inspiration:

Comic Illustrators & Artists from the 1970’s. It should come as no surprise that comics were my first love, particularly The Beano & The Dandy. I used to sit in my bedroom as a child and recreate my favorite comic characters, firstly using pencil, then, adding colour with felt tip pens. I loved the way that colour changed the whole drawing and brought each subject to life. Also, I adored the black lines around each part of the drawing, which I often use today. Comics taught me about injecting personality into drawings and bringing pictures to life using facial expressions, speech bubbles, and motion lines & phrases.

My Cousin Dave Robbo

My cousin Dave to this day remains one of my all time heroes. He is a fantastic Photographer and Musician and Artist. I remember seeing one of his sketchbooks for the first time when I was about 7 years old. It was an explosion of black and white line drawings of monsters with eyes popping out of their heads, robots, faces, all sorts of motion happening on a white piece of paper. It was like seeing a mad action film in simple black & white 2d form. He was in a punk band, who were featured in Smash Hits in the late 70’s in an article about the Teesside Punk Movement. I remember going to his flat in Middlesbrough when I was about 9 years old; where all of the white walls had been decorated with artistic graffiti and mad drawings that covered every inch of the walls and ceilings. I was completely amazed at the visual sight of all the drawings and so very impressed with the rebellion of drawing all over the walls of his home. Dave inspired me to always be individual and bang my own drum.

(http://www.retro-records.com/discharge.htm)

Syd Brak, South African Illustrator was the Artist who first inspired me to start drawing the female form. He created a range of best-selling posters of highly glamorous women for Athena in the 1980’s. I fell in love with the tiny details of his subjects’ facial features, particularly their eyes and lips, again, a technique I often use in my work today. At this time I was given a book on how to draw faces and used his pictures, and my fab little book, to create pencil drawings, mainly of women’s faces.

(http://www.sydbrak.co.uk/www.sydbrak.co.uk/AIRBRUSH.html)

Later/Current Inspiration

Maria Rivans: Brighton Artist and one of my pals, creates an alternative world within each handmade collage she makes.  She uses hundreds of vintage style printed papers and cut outs to build up visions of alternative reality where, for example, a landscape city scene has life-sized exotic birds walking next to 1950’s style families, and giant red & white polka dot mushrooms grow alongside tropical flora & fauna. Her work is beautifully hand crafted and technically brilliant. She has found her own style of working and puts so much love and effort into her creations. I love the colour, generosity, humor and darn right quirkiness of her work.

(http://www.mariarivans.com)

Jordi Labanda: South American Illustrator & Designer is well known for creating cartoon like characters; frequently set in a visual scene of 1950’s & 60’s decadence. He depicts women as highly glamorous and beautiful creatures at any age of their existence. I particularly love the fact that he paints older ladies and celebrates their elegance and glamour, which isn’t always recognized or represented in Contemporary Art. We are both of similar age and share a love of 1970’s Euro-Panache.

(http://www.jordilabanda.com)

Jo Malone

On a business level, I’m blessed with inspiration from Jo Malone, a perfumer who took a simple idea and created her own brand, and line of products that are now in the high-end luxury goods market. I love the way she operates and how she has come from humble beginnings to be an award-wining businesswoman who never actually had a business plan. When I have an idea for a new product or range of work, I mentally run some of my ideas past her and imagine what she would say about it all. I find sometimes that I can bombard people with my own ideas and thoughts about projects I am working on. Having a fantasy mentor like Jo Malone allows me to organize my thoughts for when I do present my ideas to people I know; and whose opinion matters to me.

I don’t know Jo personally, but hope to one day.

(http://www.joloves.com)

Precious Murphy

A constant source of inspiration comes from my brother, Precious Murphy who’s also an Artist. I always ask his opinion on everything I design, whether that is a business card, a fine art print, or a poster for a jumble sale that Our Mam is running at the Retirement Home where she lives. He has really good taste and can always see the vision I have for the design because he knows me so well. He always picks out the prints that become best sellers. His work is totally amazing, inspired by architectural drawings, floor plans, sci-fi movies and a vision of the future.

(http://www.preciousmurphy.com)

Talk me through the design and production process…

Once I have a firm idea, for example, the collection of vintage style travel posters I have, I sketch out the design and decide what sort of size the pictures will be. I then take the design into a computer program and decide on a colour scheme. I also use the program to smooth out all of the lines and smarten up the sketch ready for printing. I create 2 types of prints: giclee & silkscreen print. The two methods are very different. Giclee prints are printed in a similar fashion to photographs, in that, they are printed on a large industrial sized machines in a Fine Art & Photography Lab. Silkscreen prints are made by hand and involve printing each colour of the design individually. This method takes much longer and is a very accomplished discipline. This is the main reason for silkscreen prints being more expensive than giclee prints.

If you could live in a certain era, which would you choose?

I’d have to say the early to mid 1960’s. This era produced the music, fashion and design I totally adore. Motown, my favorite music was made and produced in the 60’s and although I’ve been fortunate enough to see some of the Motown Artists in concert, I would have loved to be around to see them in their youth, and at their finest. I love the 60’s look created by the likes of Mary Quant and hairstylist Vidal Sassoon, along with the Italian influences on British fashion in this era.

The 1960’s was also a time of social change, when relaxation of many social taboos relating to sexism & racism occurred. Thankfully we now live in a corner of the world where people can express themselves freely. I’d have liked to have been part of the various movements who helped make these amazing changes. Saltdean-Lido

I adore your Saltdean Lido print, here at home – do you have a personal favourite?

Oohh… that’s a hard question. I pour so much love and devotion to each picture I create, it’s like asking a mother which child is her favorite! There are a couple of significant pictures that I do possibly love a little bit more than the others, but please don’t tell any of my girls or there might be a catfight.

‘Muddy Waters’ was one of the first pictures I ever exhibited. I was very fortunate to be able to show this picture at Glasgow Art Fair in 2005. I sold 25 prints of this design in the 4 days we spent there. This, along with other sales of work, gave me the opportunity to establish myself as an Artist in my second favorite city in the U.K. I thank the good people of Glasgow enormously for their loyalty and support over the past 7 years. Muddy-Waters2

 

‘Laydown Sally’ has a special place in my heart too. I love her hairstyle, the vintage underwear she wears and her lovely little bum. There have been a couple of people who thought her to be too racy, but she was never created to offend or to make people feel uneasy. I think I love her a little bit more than most because she’s caused a tiny bit of controversy in this way. She could possibly be the little black sheep of the family, who I can’t help but adore.

‘My Lagan Love’ is a portrait of how I think my sister would have looked if she had survived childbirth. My darling Mother lost a child before I was born which was very distressing and caused massive heartbreak, as you can imagine. At this time, counseling and psychiatric help was very limited and the remedy at the time was to just get on with it. It took my mother many years to be able to speak openly about this traumatic experience, so I created ‘My Lagan Love’ to celebrate these emotional chains being broken. My-Lagan-Love1

What advice would you offer to an aspiring artist?

I’d say when you’re first starting out, draw, paint or create things you really like yourself. You may find that you keep a lot of your early work, so please don’t throw anything away. Find somewhere to keep your work, whether it is a portfolio, someone’s wall or in fact your own walls. Most Artists are very self critical, which is a good thing because it makes you work harder to achieve near enough perfection. It’s a question of balancing confidence and humility to know when you’ve created something great. Sales and opinions of course will help to establish whether or not something is successful or popular, but learn to recognize great work and pat yourself on the back when you can. Get used to giving at least 50% of the sale price away as soon as you can, as this will be something that happens a lot during your career as an Artist. Galleries usually take 50% commission, and are a great way of selling and showing your work. They have a living to make as well as Artists, so bless the 50% you give them and be very greatfull for your own cut. Galleries can make and break an Artist, so always try and get a good relationship with those who are interested in selling your work. I could go on all day, so lastly, most importantly, do it because you like it, don’t see it as a way of quitting your day job.

What’s in store for you over the rest of 2012?

My brother and I are currently viewing premises to open a Studio Gallery in Brighton this year. It’s in the early stages right now, so we are keeping everything crossed. We will be having solo and joint shows for our Artist mates as well as ourselves. There will be themed months where we show a selection of art, design, ceramics, and homewares that all come together for each theme. These include Steampunk, Burlesque, Diwali: the Indian Festival of Light, and we will be planning something great for the Brighton White Nights Festival. Watch this space.

Thanks to Lucy for giving me this opportunity to rave about myself, my life and my work, very much appreciated. Long Live The Blog, it’s a great way to share information and common interests.                                                                                                                                                           ——————————————–

Thanks so much to Kitty for sharing her inspirations, her work absolutely inspires me on a daily basis! Now for the Giveaway and what a generous prize it is !

Please go to my Comments page and tell me why you would like to win this Kitty Finegan Limited Edition ‘Muddy Waters’ print.

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

I will select and announce the winning entry on Tuesday 3rd April at 2pm.
The prize may not be exchanged and no cash alternative offered.
Only one entry per email address.
No purchase necessary.

Fingers Crossed for ya xx