Ahead of her upcoming show IN + OUT at Of Cabbages and Kings, Sarah Beaton talks through the processes that go into creating her bold expressive brush strokes.
What is your artistic weapon of choice? Pencil, pen, paintbrush, digital….
I love the bleeding of water and paint – watercolour is probably my favourite.
How long have you been painting for? When did you start out?
I have enjoyed painting and drawing from a very young age. My dad was an art teacher so art was always a celebrated skill to explore in my family.
Your pictures evoke landscapes. Do you start with that in mind or do you let the brushstrokes inspire you?
I am inspired by nature and find it to be my escape from the busy London life. I don’t usually have a particular image in mind. I enjoy being spontaneous and seeing what develops from the brushstrokes.
Where did the idea for including the figures come from?
I was working in my studio listening to the Damian Rice album, My Favourite Faded Fantasy. On the album cover, there is a series of figures on a large wall with a ladder. I loved the illustrative nature of it and decided to try and make my own little images.
You use a deep dark blue in your work, what drew you to that colour?
I love water and blue, for me, is the most calming of colours. It can be intense but also very tranquil. I enjoy the extremes of it.
You are also a theatre designer, do the two influence each other?
I feel they cross fertilise. Designing for theatre is all about telling stories through a visual narrative. I work in scale all the time and I feel this feeds into my watercolours: finding stories and compositions within an abstract image.
What is your favourite takeaway?
I love Thai food. So anything vegan and Thai is a winner.
You can see more of Sarah’s work on our website or in the shop. Feel free to pop by on Tuesday 14th August from 7-9pm to meet her in person, view the work up on the walls and enjoy a glass.
How long has the Georgia Bosson Studio been running?
I started the studio in 2013 after being offered a place to trade at Crafty Fox Market with my first batch of products, mostly cushions and a rainbow of hand screen printed tea towels. Since then I have taken on a huge variety of projects from developing my own line of products, to designing an outdoor canopy for a gallery and everything else in between! I am currently working on some new ideas after a trip to Mexico last October and I have just a launched a website for Makers House, a show that I curate and which I have big plans for in the coming months!
How did you become interested in pattern and screen printing?
I first screen printed whilst studying for my A-levels and always returned to it as a means of laying down colour and texture over a large surface before adding more intricate details during my Embroidery degree. I love the immediacy of the process and I really enjoy that there is a certain level of restriction within the design process especially when I am working through ideas with paper stencils.
You seem to be keen on the hands on process of making, how does that affect your practice?
More often than not I design through making, I’ll usually have a series of drawings in my sketchbook that I then convert into hand cut paper stencils to be screen printed. I then continue to develop these ideas often bouncing around between a variety of imagery and generating lots of samples before settling on a few key ideas that are really working. This allows me to be less constrained and enables happy accidents such as inadvertently overlapped colours to occur, which often end up in final designs! My screen printed work always feels like it has more energy than the digital work and I love the idea that almost everything I make is unique in some way.
We have recently started stocking your trays and notebooks, where did the inspiration come from for the design and patterns on those?
The notebooks were inspired by the remnants from industrially die cut felt that I have been working with since starting my business. It is a weird and wonderful material that is the waste product from when felt washers are cut out, the aim was to capture the shapes created when the patterns are overlaid. All of the books were riso printed and bound in London and are a limited edition of fifty. The tray pattern designs came from a series of drawings exploring the textures and patterns on a typical British beach, and the trays themselves were inspired by the sea defences in the sea side town where I have spent every summer since I was one!
You have an interesting colour palette that runs through your work, are there certain colours you are drawn to?
I love colour in any form, one of the best bits about screen printing is taking the time to mix colours, I have hundreds of scraps of fabric that are covered in colour swatches from past projects – they are one of the best archives of my process and I can never bear to throw them away. At the moment I am working on a new colour pallet based on a trip to Mexico, so currently there are lots of pinks and oranges on the print table spiked with soft teals and greens.
I am always drawn to an acid/mustard yellow and you can’t go wrong with a beautiful slate grey. When settling on the colours for a design I always think about the use of the final object and where it sits in the home, I felt I was able to be much bolder with my trays as they won’t necessarily be on display at all times and will usually have something on them!
We also stock your collaborative prints the ‘Landmark Locations’ series, a collaboration with Cecily Vessey. How did the idea for these come about?
Cecily was my mentor for my first market and since meeting we have worked on various pop up events and projects together including a live collaborative mural of the View from Peckham, which was done over a weekend at Crafty Fox Market. After the success of the Peckham mural and print we decided to look at expanding our collaboration and ended up working on twelve prints that we funded on Kickstarter. Whilst there are no plans for any more collaborative prints we are currently working towards a 100 mile bike ride together so I am sure some fresh ideas will crop up during the many training hours!
Your trays will be perfect for for serving drinks at summer parties! Whats your favourite cocktail?
In the summer an Aperol Spritz – very specifically served in a big glass preferably somewhere hot and sunny. And in the winter you can’t beat an Old Fashioned!
It is no secret that we are pretty much all earring lovers here at Of Cabbages & Kings. Simple studs are great and everything, but to be honest we have a hard time turning down big, bold, statement earrings! We’ve just unpacked our first delivery of a new brand specialising in just that, and they do not disappoint.
Milk Tooth LDN is a fashion house dedicated to exceptional earrings and specialising in standout vintage pieces. Their first original range, The Pluralist Collection certainly creates impact.
Inspired by striking cultural moments the designs combine a passion for gold and power dressing with contemporary patterns and bold shapes evocative of post-modern architecture. The result is a brilliantly fresh range of earrings that are both wearable, and of course, statement.
The brand’s philosophy is simple – embrace your style, wear things you love, feel amazing. Their belief is that bold fashion choices celebrate strong women and champion confidence. And with a statement earring, you have a hugely versatile and wearable option for creating a signature style.
The Pluralist Collection is a limited edition new range of gold-plated jewellery that offers distinction alongside great value. We have started our range with 4 styles, we can’t wait to see what they come up with next.
Our next exhibition will be with London based illustrator Lauren Mortimer. The opening night is on Thursday September 1, from 7-9pm, and the show will hang until the end of October.
We love Lauren’s graphite illustrations that combine nature elements in unexpected ways, and so it was very exciting when we got to sit down with Lauren for an interview and find out more about the lady herself and her artistic process.
What is your artistic weapon of choice? Pencil, pen, paintbrush, printing squeegee… The pencil is pretty much my best friend!
You originally studied Fashion Promotion at Central St. Martins. Has that influenced your current illustration work?
I think that it must have influenced my current work on some level, though if it has, not purposefully. By not having an illustration background, it allowed me to have more freedom and find my style quickly. My work does lend itself well to the fashion world though… I do a lot of editorial work for instance for fashion magazines.Many of your pieces include visual puns and hidden meanings, as well as surrealist combinations. How do those themes come together for your pieces?
I think the wonderful thing about illustration is that you can create anything you like on a piece of paper. There are no limits. Though my work is very realistic, I like to mix themes and merge objects together to create something more visually exciting – something that isn’t a reality. Patterns and texture play a huge part of my work too. I like to change the meaning of the objects, and nature will always be huge starting point for me.
Some of the projects you’ve worked on include illustrating books. Can you tell us a bit about the process for a larger project like that?
I’ve got 5 books under my belt so far, and I’m working my way through the final artwork of my 6th, a colouring book. The wonderful thing about big projects like these is that you have a physical product at the end of it with all of your artwork put together. You see it in a different context to the piece of paper you created it on, and you have that proud moment. When my two cocktail books, Tequila Mockingbird, and Gone With The Gin arrived in the post from the publisher, it was really exciting, and definitely a highlight for me.
There is a slightly macabre and dark undertone to many of your pieces, is that something you find yourself consciously drawn to? Do you find that graphite lends itself particularly well to those themes?
I think that it’s just my style and my interests that come together that way. By contrasting an object that’s soft and beautiful with something that’s hard, for instance, enhances each of them, and creates something poetic in my eyes. For me it’s more about how the viewer interprets it. Everyone should take what he or she wants from it in their own way.
How long have you been making prints?
I’ve been producing limited edition prints for about 4 years now! Time flies!
What is your favourite takeaway? That’s easy… Pizzzzaaaaaaa!
Thanks so much! You can see more of Lauren’s work on our website or in the shop. Feel free to pop by on Thursday the 1st to meet her in person, enjoy the work up on the walls and have a glass of wine.
We are excited to announce our next exhibition will be with Tiff Howick. It will run from Thursday February 4th, with an opening preview on Wednesday February 3rd from 6:30-9pm.
Tiff’s artwork features striking portraits of animals, focusing on dogs and British wildlife. They are done with a loose, expressive style in black ink, printed over a strong colour on crisp white paper.
What is your artistic weapon of choice? Pencil, pen, paintbrush, printing squeegee… It is very hard to choose, I would say overall it’s a paintbrush, I really enjoy experimenting with brushmarks to create different textures.
Your art features striking portraits of animals. Have you always been drawn to animals? I have, I grew up with pets – Jack Russells, rabbits and guinea pigs. I also spent my summer holidays in Norway where there were sheep grazing in the forests and we’d see squirrels, deer and elk.
Your animals are very expressive, like they each have their own personality. Is that something that evolves as each animal is drawn? Mostly the expression is intentional, I’ll have a reference image with an animal in a pose that I think represents a particular behaviour or emotion such as the spirited French Bulldog or the thoughtful Greyhound. Sometimes the expressions evolve and either reflect the mood I’m in when I’m drawing or I make subtle changes to the eyes to create an overall feeling that works for the drawing.
Reading the expressions in my screen prints is subjective, people commenting on my work have seen a variety of different emotions.
Your art is inspired by your Scandinavian heritage, vintage children’s illustrations, and contemporary fashion illustration. On the surface these styles are quite different, what is it within them that you think draws them all together so successfully? Over time I have incorporated in to my work the elements of each style that I most admire. Limited colour palettes from Scandinavian design and the creation of striking images with just one or two colours. The bold colours are from Scandinavia and my childhood picture books, two of my all-time favourite illustrators are Carl Larsson and Richard Scarry. The loose, textured brush marks and sketchy lines are inspired by fashion illustration, I am a huge fan of David Downton’s work.
One of your most popular prints has been the Yellow Hare, which features a bright splash of yellow. Some of your prints feature colours that are not traditionally associated with the animal depicted. Do you feel that the colour can change the mood of the animal? I’ve used bright primary colours to represent extreme versions of the animal’s natural colour, using one vibrant colour to simplify the final image. This sometimes ties in with the mood of the piece, the bright red fox staring assertively over it’s shoulder. The hare is resting but alert, the bright yellow also representing a hot day in a cornfield.
How long have you been printing? I first printed a long time ago on an art foundation course. I rediscovered screenprinting fairly recently and have been using it to create most of my work for just over three years.
What is your favourite takeaway? Since starting to work for myself I’ve researched and read a lot about how to make it work. I would say the best advice, and the hardest for me to stick to, is to focus. Being creative my head is always full of new ideas, there are so many things I want to do and experiment with. To make a living out of work that I really enjoy I’ve had to pick one idea and work really hard to make my screenprints as good as they can be.
Or if you mean food it would have to be Indian :o)
When we heard about the documentary Made You Look we just knew that we had to get involved. The film is primarily about printmaking and the digital age. The documentary interviews a number of established artists from across the UK about their work and how they view art and making in the middle of a digital revolution.
In our gallery and shop space we work with a number of artists who also print at Print Club London, a studio space that gives artists access to screenprinting equipment on a membership basis. Many of the artists in the film are also members of Print Club, which is located down the road from us in Dalston.
We have organized a screening of the film on Monday October 26, at 6:00pm, at the Hackney Picturehouse. There will be a Q&A afterwards with one of the co-directors, Anthony Peters, and producer David Waterson. You can purchase tickets through Ourscreen for the event. We need to sell a certain number of tickets before October 18 in order to have the screening go ahead, so please purchase your tickets soon or we’ll all miss out!
You can watch the trailer for the movie here.
The synopsis of the film is below.
The last 15 years has seen a boom in the UK graphic arts and illustration industry, with a DIY scene emerging and prospering alongside new and affordable leaps in technology.
So much of our lives is now spent in the virtual digital realm, so what will become of the tactile objects we all hold so dear? Will we see books disappear in our lifetime? And why are more and more creatives moving away from the computer and getting back to using their hands to create art, both commercially and for art’s sake.
Made You Look is a documentary which sets out to explore the landscape of the commercial arts in the 21st Century. It’s a film that gives an insight into how modern creative people feel about the challenges and triumphs of living in a hyper digital age.
This film is a rare and candid insight into the work of some of the UK’s top creative talent, including beautifully shot footage of artists at work and play in their own creative environments.
Anthony did a keynote talk at the Blogtacular conference in June, which they have just released for the public to watch. He talks about how he got the idea for the movie, some sneak peeks into the making of, and the importance of making.