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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

An interview with Eliza Fricker: Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion featured artist.

Designer Eliza Fricker works as part of a husband wife team with Baines & Fricker, and is most inspired by the nuances of everyday life.

Written by Amelia Gregory

Baines and Fricker minerals wallpaper
Eliza Fricker of design duo Baines & Fricker contributes an imaginative colouring page to Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion inspired by the weird and wonderful statues of the V&A museum in London. She tells us more about her creative life in Brighton; running a business with her husband, creating wallpaper designs inspired by the everyday, and her upcoming graphic novel.

Eliza Fricker portrait
Why did you decide to study at Chelsea and what was the best thing you took from your time there and has informed your design practice today?
My dad studied at Chelsea and it had a good reputation. It was good to travel out of my area to go there and meet different people. I liked learning actual skills such as life drawing and the lectures were great – I think these foundations are essential to becoming an artist. We were given experience in each area – interiors/architecture, photography, drawing, 3D.

Eliza Fricker worldsend
How has your work been inspired by your upbringing and how have your parents affected the way you approach your creative practice?
My dad taught me a lot – he taught me to draw and how to see things (he is a fine artist and political cartoonist/illustrator). We drew together and went along the Thames and looked for interesting things. We lived in a very conservative area and both my parents were different from the other people and they taught me to see things differently and to question everything.

Eliza Fricker frontier
Why do you currently live and work in Brighton? what took you there and what keeps you there?
I moved to Brighton when I was 19 – we had friends here and my brother had lived here already. I shared a flat with my brother and eventually my parents moved here too. I met my husband here and his family are all nearby. It’s great for our daughter to live with her grandparents around her. Brighton is a perfect combination of city, sea and countryside. It has lots of good pubs and restaurants and friendly creative people. Although it is getting more and more expensive and making it harder for artists to afford to live here!

Eliza Fricker cast
When did you set up Baines & Fricker and why?
When I met Steve we shared similar interests – I was manager of an arts cinema in Brighton and Steve was commuting to a city job in London that he had been doing since he was 16. It was a natural progression to work together and earn money doing a job we loved.

Eliza Fricker makingacomeback
How easy is it to run a business with your husband? Who does what? Any tips and tricks for keeping home and work life separate?
We work together and separately – the studio is upstairs and the workshop is downstairs. There are elements we do separately, as Steve is the ‘maker’ and I do the social media/emails etc. I also still do my screen printing and illustration stuff. Our home life and work life is quite fluid and that works because we are doing a job we both enjoy!

Eliza Fricker collage
How did you hook up with an American publisher co-produce a stationary range, and what kind of imagery have you used?
They contacted me. They are adapting my Cat’s wallpaper to create a range of notebooks.

Eliza Fricker print
When you first start to design wallpaper where do you look for inspiration?
Some of my wallpapers come from screen prints and other are illustrations developed from my sketchbooks. I like to look at everyday things – such as pets, plants and food.

Baines_Frickercushions
Where will you be shooting your next range of furniture and wallpaper designs for Baines & Fricker?
We will be photographing these will Abel Sloane and Ruby Woodhouse from 1934 which will be great as we really admire their work and style.

Eliza Fricker properjob
I hear you are working on a graphic novel, can you give us a glimpse of what will be inside?
My mother was very ill for a number of years, with various physical and mental health problems. She became a spectral person, losing all of her former self. She just sat in front of the TV and ate crisps and chocolate until she was eventually diagnosed with a huge brain tumour. Miraculously she has made a full recovery but her personal life has changed radically – she is no longer with my father and she also lost her job as a bookshop manager during her illness. I am doing the book to help us all as a family process what happened and for my mother especially as she doesn’t remember being ill. One of the lowest points of her illness was when she was referred to a councillor who said she was fine and ‘Just Getting Old’- this is also the the title of my book.

Eliza Fricker colouring page
How did you come up with the idea for your colouring pages?
My images were inspired by sketches of post classical European sculptures that I made at the V&A, focusing on the surreal and almost comical nature of their outlandish outfits, hats and hairstyles.

Baines and Fricker cement works wallpaper
What kind of design inspires you most and where do you hunt for that inspiration when you need a new dose of it?
Our holidays and outings inspire us the most – we have lots of English holidays along the South Coast and the West Country and we also love San Francisco and New York. We take lots of pictures of things we see and like and this can be anything from signs to colours and shapes. Our Pew Bench range is inspired by visiting old churches and the bench seating in them. We like to create long lasting design and avoid fads or trends and we like to create furniture to keep forever.

Find artwork by Eliza Fricker Baines & Fricker in Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion alongside that of 43 other artists, available to preorder to receive in January from my Big Cartel shop now.

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