Alice Pattullo completed her illustration degree from Brighton University in 2010. She creates colourful and charming illustrations inspired by folklore and mid-century design. We’ve got some of her lovely screen-prints in our shop here at LMNOP and we decided to catch up with her to see how 2011 was treating her so far.
Hello Alice! Are you having a good 2011? We heard that you had a rather nice holiday in Cornwall last month. Did you manage to fit in any work or was it a complete breakaway from your practice?
2011 has been a good but busy year, which I can't complain about. I graduated in the summer of 2010 so it feels like this year has been the first year of surviving on my own, which I am just about doing, enjoying the freedom of the 'real world'.
Yes Cornwall was a lovely break...and was used to avoid work at all costs, although a holiday with 5 other illustrators meant inevitably conversations often revolved around work in some way! Working freelance, or for yourself means (or at least in my case) your mind is always switched on; there is no timetable or 'normal' routine to stick by. If I want to I can draw all day and night, which sometimes makes it hard to stop or have a break. So it was good to just sit in the sun and read books and have no phone signal or computers near by! It is a rarity these days!
Whilst we are on the subject of travelling, can you tell us about the semester you had studying at Minneapolis college of Art and Design in the US? That must have been exciting.
Yes it was! I think it was actually one of the most fun times of university...or life in fact. It was a great opportunity to be offered and a real insight into international design and illustration and the way it is taught. We were taught a lot of technical skills at MCAD which balanced with quite a concept based course in Brighton I think has helped me to have the best of both worlds, and in the end focused in on quite a technical process (screen printing) in my work.
In the US the students pay a LOT for their schools and tuition and it was really great to see students respecting and embracing this, which I think there is a lack of in the UK. The university had 24 hour access which meant it was normal to be screen printing until 5 in the morning and you could always guarantee there would be someone else there! There was a real 'family' atmosphere and me and the other exchange students at the time were welcomed with open arms in to the college. I made some great friends there which now are great contacts across the world. I would enthuse and highly recommend taking the opportunity of studying abroad, to anyone, if it is offered, as it is a chance of a lifetime.
Choosing a place to study can sometimes be a bit of a gamble, it's nice to hear you had such a positive university experience! Where are you based now? Do you find your environment has a direct influence on the content of your work?
I am based in Brighton now, I stayed on after graduating although I don't necessarily see this as a long term decision. I don't find geographically speaking where I am influences my work although the space I work in does, and is extremely important to me. I love to be surrounded by my inspiration and books. I think on some level I am extremely materialistic even though I would like to think I am not. I tend to create a shrine around my desk of postcards, memorabilia, ephemera, and objects that inspire and form the graphic sensibility in my work. Without this I think I would find it hard to be motivated, although it is double-edged sword. I sometimes feel overwhelmed by everything and can easily get distracted and start looking through a pile of old playing cards or count buttons. I guess this is all part and parcel to my working process really.
Alice's Work Space.
Expand more on that process for us. How would a normal working day unfold?
With a large coffee!
It really depends on what I am working on, or at what stage I am at in a project. I love the research side to my screen prints. I tend to have seen something that will have sparked an idea and then I tend to research facts and imagery around this. I spend a lot of time looking through my dictionary of superstitions and books twill always inspire me in some way. Then I just start drawing. I work in a sketchbook and just produce pages of elements that come to mind surrounding the topic I am concentrating on. For a screen print or illustration I might do a sketch for the composition or I will just scan in the drawings and see what unfolds as I start piecing them together on the computer and stop when I am happy with it.
I will try to make sure I screen print at least once every few weeks as I get withdrawal symptoms, but it also gives me a focus to know when to stop fussing on a drawing, as I then have to prepare it for print. I really enjoy the physical process that comes with screen-printing as most of my time is spent at a desk, near a computer and it is always really rewarding to see the translation from sketchbook- computer- print.
What can we expect to see from you in the future? What projects are you currently working on?
More of the same I guess! British superstitions and folklore seems to have become an ongoing theme within my work as the more I research and read about it the more I discover and get excited about! I am hopefully going to be exhibiting some work towards the end of the year and obviously will be doing the window of LMNOP in September based around a book about beauty pageants that I have just finished. I am going to try and concentrate on getting some more commercial work as well as I tend to be a bit self indulgent in the way I work which doesn't always pay the bills! Right at the minute I am producing an illustration inspired by a recent trip to 'the shell museum' of Glandford in Norfolk which was a grotto to all things shell related...it's great to still find museums that have hand written labels saying things like 'baby's toes - an exciting find!'.
We really can’t dispute with that.
Alice Pattullo will be taking over the LMNOP shop window 23rd September- 15th October. We have a selection of her screen-prints to buy in our shop in Brighton and our online shop.
All images Courtesy/Copyright of Alice Pattullo
Interview By Rosalie Hoskins
Shell museum in a Norfolk.
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