Featured Artist: Thom Kofoed

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When did you first become interested in art? 

I’ve always been interested in art but my interest was really nurtured by my year six teacher Mr Wright. He was the first person to teach me how important it was and how lucky I was to have even a sliver of natural ability. 

How would you describe your design style?

It varies hugely depending on the subject but I love detail and intricacy so it never waivers too far from that. I love line and form and I’m particularly fond of repetition. 

What inspires you?

I love seeing other peoples work and I spend a lot of time in galleries standing incredibly close to paintings trying to figure out the process. And I seek out conversation with people who feel incredibly passionate about making; I love what happens to a person when they speak about what they love. There’s magic there.  

What is your favourite piece in your collection?

I have a relatively unhealthy obsession with Angela Lansbury so I would most probably have to say any of my Murder, she wrote phone cases. 

Is there any artistic talent in your family?

Not if you ask my family, though my Mum is a crazy excellent knitter and makes the most incredible objects. My three and one year old nephews are showing huge promise with playdoh too! 

What is the journey you take to produce your work?

More often than not it starts by googling images of 1980s television stars (I have a particular fondness for that era of TV). And then I sit at my desk in my studio space with my laptop open, Netflix playing on my Kindle, and I draw. I work for about 6-7 hours a day but it always starts with the drawing. If I’m working on illustrations I use the same tiny paint brush I’ve used for about 8 years to paint the whole thing in watercolour, occasionally adding finer details with ink. If i’m working bigger in acrylics it’s a little more free-form and instinctive.   

What made you want to be a part of Art Rookie?

I just thought it was such a brilliant space for creatives who lacked the opportunity to make these objects themselves. I loved the business you were trying to build and the aims of Art Rookie aligned with my own feelings about making.  

When you’re not creating masterpieces what do you enjoy doing?

I’m a big reader. I’m big into cinema and theatre and I really like eating. Constantly. 

Have you faced any struggles getting your work noticed?

Yeah absolutely. Although I think a lot of the struggle has been my lack of confidence in putting my work out there to be noticed in the first place. It’s taken a while for me to come to terms with the idea that it’s OK to believe in my own talents as an artist, and in fact to even call myself an artist at all. 

Where would we find you hanging out in the UK?

Anywhere near water is my ideal and I spend a lot of time in London (usually eating).   

What makes British talent different than elsewhere?

I don’t know that it’s different but I find it to be incredibly honest. I also think theres a particular quirk and humour in the work I see that is quintessentially British.  

 What are your plans for 2017?

 I have a solo exhibition in April called ‘untitled (Ms. Miss. Other)’ where I’ll be exploring disparate experiences of gender, and celebrating women so that will be taking up a lot of time until then. I’m also working in collaboration on a childrens book about hugging. 

www.artrookie.co.uk/thomkofoed

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Featured Artist: Mike Hazard

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When did you first become interested in art?

From as long as I can remember art has been something I’ve been really passionate about. As a child, I could always be found scribbling away in a colouring book, or creating my own comic books based on my toys. I just wish I’d kept them! Although I’m sure they’d have me cringing my way into a coma if I were to see them now.

How would you describe your design style?

I’d say my style is pretty pop-arty. I love bright colours and neons, so that always ends up in my work somewhere. I like to switch up my drawing style quite often, but the colouring is the one thing that always remains the same.

What inspires you?

I tend to pull a lot of inspiration from popular culture; like my favourite movies, TV shows, or musicians – but also anything that makes me feel any kind of emotion.

What is your favourite piece in your collection?

My favourite piece is always the last thing I create. Then I’ll create something new which will quickly replace it. I think it’s because I’m always learning new techniques and trying new things, so my older stuff doesn’t look as good (to me) in comparison.

Is there any artistic talent in your family?

A fair bit; mostly on my mums’ side. My auntie used to work as a graphic designer and now works freelance as a children’s illustrator, my uncle runs his own design and printing company, and my grandma used to make découpage greetings cards.

What is the journey you take to produce your work?

It usually starts with me watching a movie or TV show that I end up loving or being blown away by visually, or seeing something culturally relevant in the news or on social media. Failing that, I have about 27 different lists of ideas that I’m slowly working my way through.

What made you want to be a part of Art Rookie?

Not everyone has the means to see their designs printed on products, but Art Rookie makes it super easy & accessible for all artists to sell their work. It’s also nice to have a British version of similar American platforms. Plus, Jodie & Liz do a really great job of exposing emerging artists and shining a light on new British talent!

When you’re not creating masterpieces what do you enjoy doing?

I love immersing myself in a great movie, or binge-watching a TV show in 3 days. Netflix is basically my best friend at this point.. ha! I’m not a total recluse though; I also like to hang out with friends on the odd occasion, but at the ripe old age of 26, I’ve come to really enjoy the time I get to myself where I can just relax. Hygge is my new way life.

Have you faced any struggles getting your art noticed? 

Absolutely! There are so many talented artists out there, and there’s always someone that can do what you do but 10 times better. It can be disheartening, but it’s just about picking yourself back up and carrying on doing what you love! It can be really easy to look what other artists are doing and feel like you should change your art to get noticed, but I think it’s important to stay true to yourself and enjoy what you create.

Where would we find you hanging out in the UK?

I live in Manchester, and have done for most of my life, so I can usually be found out & about in The Northern Quarter or buying more shoes I literally do not need at The Trafford Centre. I love London too, and have a few friends down there, so I try to get down as often as I can.

What makes British talent different than elsewhere?

I think British artists, particularly young British artists, have a lot to say. Our country has so much going on, and we’re not afraid to push boundaries or use our art to express ourselves.

What are your plans for 2017?

This year I plan to experiment with my art more and finally make the move from freelancing in my spare time, to leaving the day job and becoming full-time freelance! It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while, but it’s a huge move and I don’t want to rush into it. My first step is getting myself an agent!

www.artrookie.co.uk/mikehazard

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Featured Artist: Petegrev

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www.artrookie.co.uk/petegrev

When did you first become interested in art?

I’ve been interested in art for as long as I can remember. When I was small I used to draw a lot, although I never really started doing anything with it until my late teens. When I left school I got much more interested in it though.

How would you describe your design style?

That’s a tough one! I can’t really say I have a set style as I like to create such a wide range of designs, which are normally strange and random ideas that pop into my head! I guess my style is fairly simplistic, influenced by nature and everyday items or situations. Food seems to appear quite a bit, so I probably think with my stomach more than I should!

What inspires you?

I’m a big nature fan so that’s definitely one of my biggest inspirations. As cliche as it sounds, I love seeing the beauty in everyday things that are right under our noses. I’ll often see an object or hear someone say something that will inspire me with an idea. Other artists are huge inspirations to me too. Not so much well known names, but people doing the same thing that I’m doing. I think as artists we draw inspiration from each other, both consciously and subconsciously.

What is your favourite piece in your collection?

I’m not sure I could really pick one as it varies on my mood! I really enjoy creating the geometric animals and seeing them transform once they are finished. That being said I like the fun and kookiness I have with the pun designs.

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Is there any artistic talent in your family?

My mum used to do pencil drawings of people (which I cannot draw to save my life)… they are ridiculously good. My dad also used to do these incredible ink drawings. I guess I’ve got them to thank for my creative side!

What is the journey you take to produce your work?

I find making notes the biggest help when creating a new design. I have a notepad which I record each and every idea on as soon as it pops into my head. Then I pick one of the list and turn it into something. I often come back to the list and wonder what was going through my head when I wrote it down! I normally do my designs straight onto the computer too. I have a few sketchbooks but I nearly always create them straight from scratch on the screen.

What made you want to be a part of Art Rookie?

I saw Art Rookie and loved the fact it was UK based, as well as the personal feel it has. I have my work on other international sites too, but Art Rookie feels a lot closer to home, which is great.

When you’re not creating masterpieces what do you enjoy doing?

I love getting out and about. I live in the countryside so I try to surround myself with nature and wildlife as much as possible. I often go for walks and adventures with my camera whenever I can. Socialising and keeping active is extremely important to me as well… I think being healthy keeps your mind healthy too!

Have you faced any struggles getting your work noticed?

I think getting noticed is one of those things that you just have to keep pushing for every day, so in some ways it’s a constant struggle. I’m a big believer of never giving up. If you try every day, then eventually you might get somewhere. If you give up, then you never will!

Where would we find you hanging out in the UK?

I’m based near Tunbridge Wells so normally there. It’s an ideal distance from both London and Brighton though, so I get to take my pick of all three!

What makes British talent different than elsewhere?

Good question. In Britain we have so much available to us, whether it be inspiration, culture or history. All that influence creates a huge variety of artistic style on one small little island! That’s something I’m very proud of and grateful for as a British artist.

What are your plans for 2017?

To do more! I’ve decided that 2017 is going to be the year when I shift gears and get more done. I’ve set myself some targets so I’m going to be working extra hard… procrastinating less, creating more!

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Featured Artist: CafeLab

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When did you first become interested in art?

Well, since I was young, I always loved to draw, then definitely during my studies of architecture & design at university.

How would you describe your design style?

I define my style minimal-eclectic with a touch of scandinavian mood, I like to mix raw concrete and marble with pink blush, black or white, More, I really in love with gem and minerals like agates or amethysts.

What inspires you?

I find my inspiration everywhere, but I especially look for raw textures; my camera is always with me to capture pictures of building materials as concrete or marble, then I add geometric shapes and mix all!

What is your favourite piece in your collection?

A hard question, maybe Painting on Raw Concrete is closer to me.

Is there any artistic talent in your family?

Yes, my sisters also loves design and art, and now she works in cultural heritage, while my boyfriend is an architect like me!

What is the journey you take to produce your work?

My first step is photography, with pictures of every texture or material that inspires me. Then I mix materials and textures with geometric shapes to reach the image that I have in mind.

What made you want to be a part of Art Rookie?

Art Rookie has some beautiful and unique products and your plates are astonishing!

When you’re not creating masterpieces what do you enjoy doing?

I love to stay into the wild; exploring countryside in autumn or winter, make trekking on mountains or go to the sea during spring and summer.

Have you faced any struggles getting your work noticed?

Well, every day, through my socials, I share my works all around the world.

Where would we find you hanging out in the UK?

Probably in London, a city where past, present and, why not? Future are together in a really fascinating way.

What makes British talent different than elsewhere?

Probably the historical background mixed with a little of oddity and humorism!

What are your plans for the rest of 2016 and 2017?

I don’t like to make plans… live from day to day is my philosophy!

www.artrookie.co.uk/cafelab

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Featured Artist: Jennifer Duckett

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When did you first become interested in art?

As a child I always had paper, pens, sticker/colouring books and play dough in my hands. My mums best friend has also made occasion cards since I can remember and she always used to give colourful card and fun materials to experiment with, that’s where it all started! I think my childish approach to design is still true today!

How would you describe your design style?

I would describe my design style as lively and playful.

What inspires you?

Inspiration for me stems from every day dispositions, my surroundings and feelings. I also spend a lot of time looking at/ reading up on my favourite artists and designers which inspire me to get creative every single day!

What is your favourite piece in your collection?

‘Powerful Pinks’ and ‘Unruly Huddle’ are easily my favourite pieces. Odd compositions and colour combinations are a love of mine and I feel these two designs represent that extremely well.

Is there any artistic talent in your family?

I’m sure my Grandma and Dad is probably where my artistic talents stem from. My Grandma is arty and creative when it comes to floral art, painting and cake decorating, whereas my Dad is an engineer and always seems to have some crazy ideas running around his head to make and create on a larger scale.

What is the journey you take to produce your work?

The journey I take is very typical of how I’ve always been taught in education. I love the research process and sketchbooks are crucial in assisting my ideas and keeping my thoughts all together in one place. Colour is very important to me, I always like to decide on a palette before I go anywhere with an idea! Pinterest is my ‘go to’ inspiration whenever I have a mental block too!

What made you want to be a part of Art Rookie?

I actually got the email to join Art Rookie whilst I was exhibiting my graduate collection at New Designers in Islington, London. I liked Liz and Jodie’s personable and friendly approach and the idea that they have been in a similar position to me too!

When you’re not creating masterpieces what do you enjoy doing?

When I do have the time (which isn’t too often) I really enjoy the outdoors. My mum has always branded me a ‘thinker’ and I love putting my headphones in and going on long walks or runs. Music is also a big love of mine, I seem to spend most of my money on gigs with friends and family!

Have you faced any struggles getting your work noticed?

I believe you’re a very lucky individual if you have no struggles trying to get your work noticed. Social media is very beneficial for artists trying to distinguish themselves! It’s free and easily accessible 24/7; instagram has been a great success for me in being a gateway to get my work out there. In other respects, I’ve taken a step back from trying to promote my work as much at the moment whilst I work on my portfolio.

Where would we find you hanging out in the UK?

I graduated from Manchester School of Art in July this year and whilst I was at Uni I absolutely fell in love with the city. The creative industry is so prevalent there and there’s always great exhibitions to go to. Since coming home, Liverpool is my closest city. I love exploring galleries and museums and when I’m tired of them you can always find me stuffing my face at my favourite restaurants.

What makes British talent different than elsewhere?

There is something very special about art and design that is produced and manufactured in Britain and people are very proud of that! The diversity and amount of talent in Britain is outstanding, especially when you look at the work of recent graduates! I’d like to think that our extensive history and culture has a lot to do with it too!

What are your plans for the rest of 2016 and 2017?

I’m currently setting up business for children’s interiors with a lot help from the Prince’s Trust! This will be for the likes of soft furnishings; bean bags, cushions, bedding etc. My Dad and Grandad are in the process of building me a little garden studio (another one of Dads big plans), so that I have my own space to work from at home. So once that is complete, I plan on giving the business a big push! I also plan on doing some art/ print fairs in the nearer future too!

www.artrookie.co.uk/Jenniekate94

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Featured artist:NathanCollins

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When did you first become interested in art?

I was probably around the age of 8 and I was addicted to cartoons, I would repeatedly draw characters from my kids magazines and enter drawing competitions, In school I got a lot of “can you draw this for me?” I was that creative kid, always taking requests which in hindsight was great practise for commission work.

How would you describe your design style?

I’ve always slightly struggled with these style questions I think most creative folk do but I would describe it as playful, I love giving my illustrations fun characteristics and a feel of naivety with the textural painting and line work.

What inspires you?

I know its cliche and you’ve probably had this answer a million times but nearly everything is a source of inspiration, but to narrow it down animals, people, characters and stories are strong inspirations and tend to drive my work.

What is your favourite piece in your collection?

This is a toughie because i know by the time I’ve finished writing this I’ve probably moved on from liking it, but currently its’s my Rabbit, Rabbit piece mainly because I learned quite a lot about repeat patterning with that piece, also who doesn’t love cute blue rabbits.

Is there any artistic talent in your family?

I had a little chuckle at this question because my family are the worst at drawing, Pictionary is a nightmare with them, I do however have young niece and nephews that forever have a pencil in their hand doodling away so watch this space we’ll be the von traps of designing!

What is the journey you take to produce your work?

The journey involves a lot of sketching Im always accompanied by a sketchbook and doodle concepts through the day whenever where ever. I love the textural feel of graphite pencils and illustrate a final black and white version of my initial sketch, I then move it into photoshop and begin adding in colour using brushes that replicate the feel and look of traditional mediums.

What made you want to be a part of Art Rookie?

It was definitely the supportive feel that drew me in, it has created a little community for young British designers which i think is important. I also saw a few pieces designed by illustrators apart of art rookie getting featured in various places, I though it was great that these designers where gaining so much recognition.

When you’re not creating masterpieces what do you enjoy doing?

Other than a new creative hobby every other week! Photography has always stuck with me and to cut loose I like hanging with a good bunch of friends throwing shapes on the dance floor that can only be described as criminal. I find myself Binge Watching way too many TV shows (current favourite has to be stranger things.)

Have you faced any struggles getting your work noticed?

Of course! Social media can only take you so far and you often have to contact people directly, also resisting those pesky “you’ll get plenty of exposure” commissions which i always wanted to respond with three three words, not today Satan! Being apart of community’s such as art rookie is hugely beneficial to getting your work seen and allows you to network with fellow creative designers.

Where would we find you hanging out in the UK?

In little Old South Wales to be specific a town called Port Talbot. It has the perfect mixture of sea side and valleys, I’m usually chained to my desk working away on commissions and personal work.

What makes British talent different than elsewhere?

Hm I think we can be a little more playful and quirky with our approaches to designing. Almost unapologetic.

What are your plans for the rest of 2016?

Hopefully still getting in commissions and freelancing for the rest of the year, one of my current personal projects is a picture book thats a little tongue and cheek I hope to find a way to get that out into the world and I’d love to grow my collection with art rookie even further.

www.artrookie.co.uk/NathanCollins

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Featured Artist: Claire Stamper

When did you first become interested in art?

Well, I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember! I was always drawing animals and characters, but it wasn’t until I was about to finish 6th form college that I realized being an artist was a career option. So, I guess you could say I’ve had a more focused interest in art since I was about 18.

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How would you describe your design style?

Cute is definitely the first word that comes to mind – I really like making cute designs. I would also call it bright & colourful. I’ve also had people refer to it as ‘quirky’.

What inspires you?

A lot of things! I always love looking at pictures of birds as I find them so fascinating. Their colours and different patterns always fascinate me and I would definitely say birds are one of my favourite things to draw. There are a few artists that really inspire me too, such as Fran Meneses, Owen Davey, Kat Uno, Meg Hunt & Tiago Americo.

What is your favourite piece in your collection?

I really like my Happy Pink & Blue Bird Patterns. They were really fun to make as I tried creating my own birds with designs inspired by some of my favourite breeds.

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Is there any artistic talent in your family?

My granddad was quite artistic. He would send me some really nice animal drawings for Christmas, and I think I remember my parents mentioning that he designed some greetings cards a long time ago. Unfortunately he passed when I was quite young, so I never got a chance to ask him about it. Other than that, I believe I am the only person in my family who’s been this into art.

What is the journey you take to produce your work?

I always start my ideas with drawing – sometimes I get the idea out the first time, other times I need to try a few different sketches. I usually have Pinterest up too, for reference images and to generally see if it inspires any new ideas. I then scan my drawing and throw it into Adobe Illustrator to trace over it with the pen tool.

Then I’ll do any final edits, such as shading or textures, in Photoshop.

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What made you want to be a part of Art Rookie?

Having a place to sell my artwork in the UK is great! I have a few online shops, but they’re all based in the US, which makes for expensive postage, etc. When I found out about Art Rookie, I was excited to have a place to sell that was much closer to home.

When you’re not creating masterpieces, what do you enjoy doing?

Spending time with my friends is a must! They’re all amazing people who I can be myself around, and they’re all very supportive about my being an artist. Otherwise, you’ll often find me either playing Pokemon, binge watching Gilmore Girls or drawing for fun. I also recently started volunteering at Guide Dogs For The Blind, which is very rewarding and fun at the same time!

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Have you faced any struggles getting your work noticed?

Definitely! I like to think I’ve been doing pretty well since graduating three years ago, but even I have a lot of difficulty in getting noticed. With so many amazing artists out there, it’s no wonder! That’s why more recently I’ve been focusing on selling my own work, so I still have an income coming in when I’m not getting many clients. Plum Pudding Illustration Agency recently picked me up, so fingers crossed that I’ll get noticed more now.

Where would we find you hanging out in the UK?

I’m currently based just outside of Leeds, and I love exploring the city. I’ll often be found wondering around playing Pokemon Go on my way back from volunteering.

What makes British talent different than elsewhere?

I feel like there is a lot of variety. From my experience, artists in the UK are taught to push boundaries and try new things – we’re encouraged to find what works for us and not to do something for the sake of being commercial.

What are your plans for the rest of 2016?

Continuing to create and develop my work! I don’t have anything specific coming up, but I just want to continue growing and improving my work. I’m also hoping to get my own little online shop up and running so I have even more ways to spread my art. Oh, and I’m really looking forward to Halloween!

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http://www.artrookie.co.uk/cstamper

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Featured Artist: Artbyflynn

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When did you first become interested in art?

I was obsessed with paper and pens from a very early age. My primary school teacher predicted I’d go to art school. I had a great imagination as a child, but wasn’t particularly sociable, so rather than role-playing with others, I responded to the world and communicated through art. I think that’s still true today.

How would you describe your design style?

My print designs and paintings are quite different.  My design work was borne out of my sketches and doodles for paintings, which are layered acrylic, expressionist, Dufy inspired pieces. Whereas my print designs a quite contemporary and I try to keep them simple, using minimal colour. My drawing style was inspired by performance artist Shantell Martin who began her career “live” drawing in clubs in Japan: one black marker, music up, go with the flow. The process pours great energy into her pieces. I try to capture a similar flow of energy with a continuous line. 

What inspires you?

Stories.  After I graduated from art school, I changed my creative medium and pursued my other passion: writing. I worked in radio and in screenwriting for a number of years, indulging my curiosity and particular interest in history.  A wonderful example of Georgian architecture will make me reach for my camera or sketchbook, but discovering an old photo of the building or its occupiers will get my imagination and creative juices flowing.

What is your favourite piece in your collection?

My Rio de Janeiro Doodle cushion.  I think it encapsulates the essence of my design work that illustrates our connection to people and places. I love the single line flowing from the Redeemer statue, to the people, to the rest of the city. The cushion is beautiful!  Who wouldn’t want to rest their head in Rio at the end of a long day?!

Is there any artistic talent in your family?

Both my brother and my dad are architects, so there’s lots of technical drawing skill. I guess that’s where I learned my appreciation for architecture too.

What is the journey you take to produce your work?

It always starts with the inspiration and the story. Hopefully I’ve taken a photograph of the subject myself, but that’s not always possible.  I begin drawing on ipad, then transfer to Illustrator to clean it up or add colour. I like to work fast on these doodles, not be too precious about everything in order to capture the energy; just enjoy the flow of the pen/stylus around the shapes.

What made you want to be a part of Art Rookie?

My degree was in Surface Decoration so I’ve always envisaged my art being applied to products. It was something I’d planned to do “in the future”. Art Rookie was recommended to me by Lauramythompson and I was delighted.  It was something I could action “now” and its wonderful to be able to offer this beautiful range of products to my customer base and also reach a wider audience with my work.

When you’re not creating masterpieces what do you enjoy doing?

Travelling!  I adore exploring new places and discovering their stories.

Have you faced any struggles getting your work noticed?

There is so much talent out there, of course it’s hard to stand out from the crowd. But opportunities are plentiful right now, especially for creative entrepreneurs. We just need to be persistent, patient and not be afraid of hard work.

Where would we find you hanging out in the UK?

Usually in Tamworth Staffordshire, or nearby Birmingham, but Cleveleys (near Blackpool) is my second home as my parents live there and you’ll often find me cycling along the promenade! 

What makes British talent different than elsewhere?

Pushing the boundaries and innovation is where true creativity lives. We’re not afraid to take risks, to try things and be weird sometimes! However, we also know how to be commercial and relevant. There’s authenticity in what we create, so it has universal appeal.

What are your plans for the rest of 2016?

Big trip to New York and San Francisco coming up ( so expect new doodles from there soon). I’d like to create some pattern doodles for fabric or interior design. I also have an itch to create some large scale paintings.

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Featured Artist: Charlotte Donovan

 

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When did you first become interested in art?

I’ve been interested in art ever since I’ve been able to hold a pencil! If I could have drawn cartoons all day at primary school I would of done happily! I’ve never been the most academic, so whenever there was something creative to participate in my school years I would leap at the chance. Since then I would dip in and out of art, but in the last two years it’s pretty much taken over my life and I’ve started to think of it more than just a hobby.

How would you describe your design style?

A mixture of traditional and modern, I have quite an eclectic taste in art and I want that to come across in my work. My illustrations of animals are quite traditional as one of my biggest influences is Beatrix Potter. Then I’ll go the completely opposite end of the spectrum and use lots of bright colours and geometric shapes to give my illustrations a digital twist.  

What inspires you?

I moved to Hackney about over a year ago and I’m blown away by the street art that surrounds the area, such amazing work by such talented artists which has had a big impact on my most recent work. I get inspiration from pretty much anywhere and everywhere though.

What is your favourite piece in your collection?

Probably “Bat goes 80s” I’ve always had a bit of thing for them since we had a special talk about bats many years ago at middle school. Sadly no one brought in any live bats, which was rather disappointing…. 

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Is there any artistic talent in your family?

My family all have a great eye for Art and Design. My parents should have been interior designers for a living! They always think outside the box, they put my flat to shame! My sister is a journalist so has a really creative way with writing. I’m very lucky that they’ve always supported and encouraged me to be creative, I could not have achieved what I have without them.

What is the journey you take to produce your work?

Usually I research images and colours that I have in mind for a design and make a mental mood board. I’ve going through a retro, geometric phase at the moment (what would I do without Pinterest!). I always start with a pencil drawing first – as my designs are animal orientated I look at colours of the animals themselves and see what would best compliment them. Then I scan them on the computer and start to digitally alter the colours of the illustrations and start playing with shapes and colours to create my patterns.

What made you want to be a part of Art Rookie? 

I love how Art Rookie is very proud of British art, I’m on a couple of other similar sites, but I don’t get the same support and promotion of my work from them like I do with Art Rookie. They are always promoting new artists which I think is so important in this competitive industry. They have a large variety of different styles and designs which I think all have a bit of British quirkiness to them.  

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When you’re not creating masterpieces what do you enjoy doing?

Guilty pleasure is reading TV and Showbiz online and then pretending that I don’t. When I’m not reading what the Kardashians are up to I’m usually exploring what’s new in Hackney. My favourite thing to do is going to the weekend markets – I always find there’s such a great atmosphere and a great place to discover more talent.

Have you faced any struggles getting your work noticed?

We all know that Art and Design is competitive industry with new talent always emerging. I think social media is really essential now to getting your work noticed. Through social media I have made some really great contacts, I even discovered Art Rookie through Instagram. It can be disheartening when you think you’ve found an opportunity or a contact and then sometimes it doesn’t work out, but all I can say is keep going! Out of all the red herrings you’ll eventually make a break through. 

Where would we find you hanging out in the UK?

Either in London or back in my home town of Milton Keynes, only I can make jokes about Milton Keynes, if anyone else does I’ll defend Milton Keynes’s honour! Milton Keynes has an amazing Gallery showcasing all sorts of Art and Design.

What makes British talent different than elsewhere?

There’s always such variety of styles which I love having an eclectic taste myself.  I really think there is something for everyone which I think can be seen by the many designers on Art Rookie from humorous and quirky to outstanding and masterful. I always think Britain is at the forefront of new and exciting trends. 

What are your plans for the rest of 2016?

Creating more designs and patterns and hopefully making more contacts and opportunities. I’ll be introducing a new, slightly different series which will be based on animals but not quite what you many think….. Oh and a holiday to Croatia!

www.artrookie.co.uk/CharlotteDonovanIllustrations

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Featured Artist: Rachel Parker

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When did you first become interested in art?

It sounds like a cliche but I’ve always loved drawing and anything arty. As a child you could sit me in a corner with a notebook and a pot of pens and I’d be happy, and that’s still true today!

How would you describe your design style?

My style is pretty colourful and wild. I love working with colour – the more the better! I’m a big fan of abstract geometric prints and working with tones, textures and overlays to create a sense of depth. I also do a lot of cross-stitching and embroidery which feeds into my pattern designs. I often think of my work as ‘digital craft’ because everything starts with a drawing or a stitch and it’s important for me to keep that handmade look in the finished pattern.

What inspires you?

Oh, countless things! Graphic design, vintage embroidery patterns, grids, symbols. Henri Matisse. Evelin Kasikov. Travelling to new places (I recently visited Bologna for the first time and now my designs are full of the colours of the city). Country walks with the dog. Uppercase and Flow magazines. I love childrens book illustrators like Eric Carle and Brian Wildsmith. This year I’ve been immersed in the Make It In Design courses and I find my classmates endlessly inspiring. Honestly, at the moment my brain is bursting with inspiration and ideas and I hope it continues that way!

What is your favourite piece in your collection?

That’s a tricky one…I guess I would have to say my Soft Pop pattern. It’s the first floral I’ve ever designed and I agonised over it for quite some time! It changed a lot along the way and now I love it. I have it printed as an Art Rookie cushion and it’s so bright and cheerful, it makes me smile every day.

Is there any artistic talent in your family?

My Mum’s side of the family have a strong interest in textiles and fabrics; my Auntie Helen makes the most beautiful quilts and I’d love it if she could make one with my fabric one day. It was my Mum that started me off with sewing and embroidery and got me hooked on cross-stitch. Neither of my parents are particularly creative but I’m so lucky that they supported both me and my brother in our decisions to study Art and Design, which is by no means a money-making route…they’ve looked out for me every step of the way and continue to do so. My 9 year old niece Phoebe has definitely got the creative gene and she already knows her way around a Wacom tablet!

What is the journey you take to produce your work?

I very rarely start designing directly onto the computer, it usually starts with a drawing, piece of embroidery, collage or maybe a texture which I then scan in and play around with on Photoshop. If it’s a drawing I’ll usually work in black and white on paper and then add the colour digitally. I’m just getting to grips with working in Illustrator but it takes me a lot longer, so I usually default back to my comfort zone! Sometimes a design will come together really quickly and sometimes the process is a lot longer and a lot more coffee fueled. I’m often working on a few different projects at the same time, both print and embroidery – it’s good to mix things up and keep it interesting.

What made you want to be a part of Art Rookie?

I was so happy when I discovered Art Rookie! The amount of creative talent in one place is stunning. There’s such an interesting range of products at affordable prices, the print quality is spot on and it’s all made in the UK – what’s not to like? The trouble is I want to buy everything. Plates are next on my list!

When you’re not creating masterpieces what do you enjoy doing?

To be perfectly honest my work is my life because I love what I do! My hands are never still, I’ve always got multiple embroidery projects on the go and my sketchbook is never far away. I’m lucky to live not too far from London so I can spend day trips there gathering inspiration and meeting up with friends. I also do a lot of walking with my dog Louie, he’s my best bud and I love that I can work from home with him keeping my feet warm.

Have you faced any struggles getting your work noticed?

I exhibited at New Designers in 2012 and met Studio Flock who invited me to part of their furnishing fabrics collective, since then I’ve been really fortunate to have had some amazing press and opportunities come my way. I think with social media it’s so easy to get your work out there these days. If you like what someone’s doing you can just strike up a conversation on instagram, similarly if there’s a company that you’d love to work with you can connect with them very easily. Of course there’s so many people out there creating beautiful designs and it’s easy to get saturated with it all, so I’ve found it’s important to take a step back from social media every now and then.

Where would we find you hanging out in the UK?

I went to art school in Norwich and now I live back in my home town of Kettering in Northamptonshire. It’s not a place to get particularly excited about but it’s surrounded by some gorgeous countryside and pretty villages which I love to explore with Louie the dog. One of my favourite places is the Norfolk coast, it’s so wild and peaceful. I’ve spent many happy holidays there, despite the rain!

What makes British talent different than elsewhere?

I think British designers often have a quirky streak and they’re not afraid to be a bit ‘out there’! I’ve noticed a lot of designers working with interesting material combinations and they often blur the boundaries between different art disciplines, like fine art and graphic design for example. If you look at the talent showcased on Art Rookie you’ll see edginess, bold colour and a sense of humour are all common threads. The British art scene is an exciting place to be right now!

What are your plans for the rest of 2016?

I’ve got a really exciting project lined up which I can’t reveal yet (I know, I hate it when people say that), but it involves fabric and lots of colour of course. I’ve designed a rug for Studio Flock which is being launched at Design Junction in September which will be amazing…and I’m enrolled on Module 3 of Make It In Design which will be lots of fun if the other two modules are anything to go by. Other than that, I’m working on a new embroidery textile art collection to be revealed at some point before the year’s out, so I best get a move on!

www.artrookie.co.uk/rachelparker

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