Sunday, 30 September 2012

Walk the Line...

We were contacted by the illustrator Estelle Morris last week, and from the many portfolios we receive, her fluid, off-beat and slightly abstract work caught our eye in particular.

There's a spontaneity to her pieces which grabs hold of real-life moments, and her blog showcases some of her as-they-happen drawings from walking around Cambridge, where she's based, to a Sunday afternoon at the pub.

Estelle uses a combination of hand-drawing and digital colour-blocking to create her collage-inspired pieces, which have a freshness mixed with modern-day motifs.

Estelle currently works as a freelance illustrator, and her work has been submitted as part of Amelia's Magazine, (a great supporter of emerging illustrators), as well as illustrations for events and promotions in London to Brighton.

We'll be launching our first newsletter in a couple of weeks time, and amongst all our up-coming news, we will have an extended feature on Estelle with an interview to find out a bit more about her, her inspirations, motivations, and plans for the future. This won't feature anywhere else, so if you want to find out more, simply hit subscribe...

Saturday, 8 September 2012

On the Up...

We're excited to bring you an interview with talented designer and up-cycler Yinka Ilori, a recent graduate from London Metropolitan University who caught our eye a few months ago, and have been keeping an eye on ever since.

We were interested in his aesthetic approach to design, and how he has pretty much turned the idea of up-cycling on its head to create these rich, but simply crafted creations.

In the lead up to the African and African-Caribbean Design Diaspora in London, we managed to catch-up with Yinka to find out a bit more about him and his work...

Did you always know you would do something creative? 

Yes, I always knew that I would do something creative because when I was at secondary I was always good at drawing and really enjoyed Art GCSE and Design & Technology GCSE. I remember my teachers always telling me my work was good and always using my work, and homework book as an example to show the other pupils what their work should look like which was flattering, but at the sometimes embarrassing!

Did you have any early inspirations/ inspirational characters that informed your creative path? 

Yes, I remembered studying BTEC in Art and design studies at London Metropolitan University and we had an end of year exhibition. I had been setting up all day and had to go home and change my clothes. When I had arrived back I had noticed that I had been nominated for a Sir John Cass Art & Design Award, although I didn't win, for me, knowing that I had been nominated inspired and made me believe that I am doing something right.

What inspires you/ any particular places you draw inspiration from? 

What inspires me is everyday things in life, that have a story to tell and I try to incorporate that into my up-cycled furniture, because my ethos for up-cycling furniture is all about re-loving and telling the story of how the furniture was re-loved:) 

I am also really inspired by the African culture, as you may have noticed African prints from Ankara to Aso-oke are mainly used in most of my furniture. I also love old vintage Scandinavian furniture I think they are beautiful, and sometimes draw inspirations from there too. 

Currently, I am really inspired by MBE artist Yinka Shonibare, I think he is an amazing artist who curates moving, yet at the same time interesting installations. His installations are very powerful, with a strong meanings behind it, hence why he has inspired me to do an installation at this year's AACDD (The African and African-Caribbean Design Diaspora) Festival at the Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf, London SE1
19 – 30 September 2012 my installation is titled 'Head of the House'. Hope to see some of you there:)

What first led you to working with old furniture as opposed to creating pieces from scratch? 

When I did a project at university called 'our chair' where we had to do a partnered project, and find two old chairs making it into one chair, using all the pieces from both chairs!

I absolutely loved that project, and it was from then onwards I knew that I wanted to make up-cycling my career because I loved the way each piece of furniture tells its own story, for me furniture with a story is beautiful.

What's been your biggest achievement to date?

Wow my biggest achievement to date would be exhibiting in New York in May 2012 at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair, and also selling one of my pieces of furniture to a High-end contract furniture company called 'D'Apostrophe'. 

It still feels nice to know that my piece of furniture is now somewhere in New York and will now become a story for someone else, now to tell! So yes, selling a piece of my furniture in New York has been my biggest achievement to date:)

What are your plans/ goals over the next 12 months? 

My plans and goals in the next few months would be hopefully to have a pop-up shop dedicated to my brand, not sure on location but that's something I would like to do over the next 12 months, who knows it may even be longer than 12 months.

What advise would you give to any new designer starting out on their own, or someone considering studying (furniture) design?

What I would advise any designer starting out on their own is to keep pushing because no one said that it's going to be easy, but the main thing is that if you enjoy what you do and your truly passionate about it, never keep up, because it's really important to do something that truly makes you happy, that's what got me here today:)

What's the ultimate dream?

My ultimate dream would be to have my own shop, with all my furniture inside it, and a few other designers works that I also like as well...

You can see Yinka's work at The African and African-Caribbean Design Diaspora Festival at the Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf, London SE1 from 19 – 30 September 2012