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‘My creativity envolves with Lego. I am from a small town in the West Midlands of the UK called Shrewsburry – mostly known for being the birthplace of Charles Darwin. In my childhood I would spend hours building creations, although I always remember being more interested in the stories that I created to go alongside the actual creations. I loved making the back stories for all the characters.
I’m mostly self-taught; however, last year in 2019, I completed a masters degree in Design at Glyndwr University because I wanted to prove to myself that I was able to do it. I was less interested in getting a qualification and more interested in developing as a creative and learning. It was a great process as a lot of the degree was still self-taught, which meant that I continued to learn things independently. However, it was fantastic to have the support and knowledge of tutors actively engaged in the creative industries. I am a big believer that you don’t have to go to what are considered to be ‘the best’ art schools to achieve great things. As I was also continuing to work on freelance projects at the time, it was important to me that I was close to these clients so I could study and work.
For my master’s degree, I worked on a project with a mindfulness teacher to create a book. Because this project meant something to me on a personal level, it was inspiring to be involved. Since working in design and illustration, I’ve been absolutely fascinated by simple geometric forms and shapes. The work of Ellsworth Kelly, Kandinsky and Camille Walala really excites me. I knew that if I was going to study design, it was this particular area of design that I wanted to explore. Combining this with a topic I’m interested in, which in this case was mindfulness and mental wellbeing, I was able to produce a project that I’m truly passionate about. I discovered that there really is a way of communicating visually that requires no words.
I lived and volunteered in Sierra Leone for a little while when I was 21. This was a really transformative experience for me and genuinely made me question the way I wanted to continue living my life. I very much lived as part of the community, and it was a wonderful way to experience a culture that was very different from my own.
In some ways, it feels like I’ve been doing this for a really long time, but I only really started to work full time as a designer about three years ago. I’m amazed by how much I have developed as a creative during this time and the scale of projects that I’ve worked on. I feel like when you are in the creative industries, you’re constantly developing, changing and getting better. There are still lots of skills I want to learn, and I’m excited to see what I’ll be doing in three years from now!
For anyone who is freelancer, particularly in the creative industries, I think our unique selling point is ourselves. We are all individual, there is only one of us on the planet, and we should use that in our advantage. When someone chooses to work with you, firstly because they like your work – but I think it just as important that they connect with what you are about as well.
I would describe myself as a graphic designer and illustrator. My style is very bold, colourful and fun. I strongly believe that the primary factor of design is to communicate a message, but I do also think you can do that in a fun but minimalist way.
I would describe my work as you may not always like it, but it’s probably going to grab your attention – which is what I want.
I am very inspired by the Bauhaus Design School that was founded in Germany. A lot of the key principles of their teachings I like to bring into my work. They believed in keeping things simple, but they were also not afraid to challenge the norms. One of my favourite design quotes comes from Walter Gropius, who was a founder of the school: “Limitation makes the creative mind intentive.” When you give yourself limits in a design, you have to create solutions. That how I think you create some of your best work.
We should not be afraid of using colours and having fun with illustration and design. I think it’s okay to challenge people with different styles of design they are maybe not used to seeing. The creative industries are always changing and adapting. I think that is one of the most exciting things about this industry.
Colour plays a vital role in my work. I think we can often undervalue the importance colour plays in our daily life in general. Not only can it make products visually appealing, but it is also used for safety reasons – road signs are a great example of this, as in the West we mostly all know that red means Stop! When I start working on a project, I spend a lot of time really considering the colour choices, based on who the target audience is, what it’s going to be used for and where it’s going to be positioned. It’s so important to get it right. If a project doesn’t feel like it’s working, one of the very first things I will do is look at alternative colour variations, and often I find this makes so much difference.
Keeping things simple. Whenever I begin a new project, my ultimate aim is to keep it simple and not go over the top. Which, in principle, sounds easy, but in practice, is quite difficult. It is effortless to throw everything into a project, but it is difficult to know what to remove, but by removing the unnecessary, you often find that’s where the best design is.
Complex Forms was the project I worked on exploring how we can communicate emotions and feelings using only very basic geometric shape and colour. I want to communicate both difficult and pleasant feelings to see how the viewer would interpret them differently. As part of this project, I created a book and accompanying artwork.
Primarily I’m a digital artist, so I create most of my artwork using Adobe Illustrator, Procreate on the iPad, or Adobe After Effects if I’m working on an animation. When I make printed artwork, I use Giclee fine art prints as I love the quality of this style of print and the colours look absolutely fantastic. I have, however, recently started doodling and sketching, which is actually quite nice as it takes me away from the screen.
Shapes usually form the basis of my designs because they’re just so versatile. They can be used to make all sorts of illustrations, whether it’s characters or buildings etc. When you work in this way, you tend to see the world slightly differently to a lot of other people, I think. For example, when I look at a house or a car, I see all of the different shapes that are used to make it look how it does. If you really look at the world around you, you’ll find that it’s mostly just made up of a lot of shapes and colours – which is why both of these are so key in my work.
I find that life is already complicated enough, so I don’t like to complicate it further. I consider myself to have quite a simple lifestyle and that is something that is very important to me.
I’ve always been a big advocate of mindfulness and meditation. I regularly practice bot hand love talking to people about the benefits it can have on our personal wellbeing. I totally get it’s not for everyone, but I think it is worth giving it a go!
I practice mindfulness daily, which is all about being the present moment, so I am definitely all about that.
Don’t compare your personal in the creative industries to other people. We are all at different stages and that’s is totally fine. Be yourself, create the work you want to create. If someone buys one of my prints, it always brightens up my day – knowing that person has chosen me and my work when they could have easily gone for something else.
Simplicity is extremely valuable to me. I am a self-confessed minimalist so I like to be very intentional about how I spend my time and what personal possessions I bring into my life. I think this helps me in my career as well, I feel that the simplicity and minimalism in my work are quite obvious. It is nice to be able to bring that factor of my life into my work.
I love travelling, I have been lucky to travel quite a bit in my 20’s. I would say that you get so much value out of seeing what is out there in the world, meeting other people and experiencing other cultures. It is one of the most important ways in which we can grow as individuals.
Creativity is a hard one to define. For many years I would not have necessarily considered myself to be a creative person, but I have grown to understand the term a lot better over time. Every single person has the capacity to be creative and we all are in our own ways. Okay, you may not have a creative career, but in some ways, creativity will be a part of your life. I think sometimes creativity is not valued as much as it should be – it is important.
I would say that my dream for the future is to continue living as simple as possible and do work that I truly love, that hopefully also makes a positive impact on other people’s lives.
When it comes to my work, my purpose is to enjoy what I do and hopefully make work that other people enjoy too. When someone chooses me to create artwork for them or buys one of my pieces, they could have easily gone for someone else.
I am a bit obsessed with watching tiny house videos on YouTube. So I would love to live in a tiny house one day. Possibly even in a van for a little while.
I love the idea of reusing a shipping container and turning it into a tiny house. Ideally, I’d like it to be out in the country or by the sea, in a relatively secluded spot. However, I do love the vibrancy of a city – so it’d be great to be within driving distance of a perfect city. Living in the UK is also very grey and wet a lot of the time too, so realistically if it were my dream home it would probably be somewhere a lot sunnier! I think Western society often encourages us to want more and more, plus have the biggest things that we can – but this doesn’t appeal to me. I love the idea of having everything I need in just a small space and living very simply.’