Surface designer Suzie Scott was first spotted at New Designers a few years back. After a few years break she is now pursuing a burgeoning career based back in her hometown of Coventry. Suzie is featured in Amelia’s Colourful Colouring Companion, contributing a rich double page spread inspired by the works of Henri Rousseau.
Where did you study and what happened immediately after graduation?
I graduated in 2011 with a BA in Surface Design from the University of the Arts London. My degree show was followed by my exhibition at New Designers, where I was spotted by the drinks company Malibu. I was contacted by the drinks company and commissioned to create a concept for a limited edition bottle jacket for their summer bottle 2012. Unfortunately I didn’t win the final commission, but it was a great experience working with the brand especially so fresh out of University. I also invited Amelia to my show, but we missed each other! Never the less she still featured me on her blog!
What have you done since then work wise?
When I graduated I actually felt a bit burnt out from studying and wanted to take a brake from designing. I signed up with Artstemps, the university’s in house temping agency, and got a job in the 4D department at Central Saint Martins. Whilst I was working there I came across a local ad by Pexmas looking for creative stallholders and decided to try and make some extra cash around Christmas time. My style of illustration is colourful and bold but perhaps not what you would expect to find printed on wrapping paper. I thought this would be a great challenge so I applied for a stall. At the time I was still working a 9-5 so I had to be really disciplined with myself so that I could squeeze in time to design. At one point I felt like I was actually living at CSM!
How has your work developed in the following years and what is your favourite process to create surface pattern nowadays?
Any down time I had whilst working at CSM, I began to spend drawing doodles and creating patterns in Photoshop. Because I was always in front of a computer, my work developed into a much more digital style than I had while studying. Around this time I was contacted by Customly, a design marketplace where you can buy, create and sell art, photography and designs on unique products. They had seen my work online and commissioned me to create some pattern designs for some products on their website. Applying the colour to a design or illustration is always my favourite part of the design process. I have a big collection of TRIA markers with a colour guide that I have stuck to my wall next to my computer. I use this to choose colours, often referencing back to my original sketch and sometimes-even colouring in sections to see what works. I also find coloured paper really inspiring. The flat matt colour of a fresh sheet of coloured paper seems to send infinite possibilities into my brain.
Can you describe your studio space?
After 7 fantastic years studying and then working in the capital, I decided to move back home to Coventry, so that I could focus on designing full time. At the moment I work from a desk at home surrounded by books, magazines and colourful curiosities, which influence and inspire my work. I try to keep my desk space tidy but I find I create my best work when it’s a bit of a mess.
What is the art scene like in Coventry?
Coventry has an emerging art scene, and a number of contemporary art venues that include, the Warwick Arts Centre, Fargo Village and the Herbert Art Gallery. Fargo Village is a new development with a gallery, studio space and independent shops. It’s really great to see something like this open up in Coventry because it showcases the talent and potential the city has to offer.
Why did you decide to enter artwork for this colouring book, what inspired your piece and how was it created?
Alongside freelance work I’m always on the look out for competitions and open briefs. There’s nothing quite like having the freedom to create whatever you want without the idea being subject to critique or change. Being featured in colourful colouring companion is a big deal for me right now. It’s my first illustration to be printed in a book, which is really exciting! I can’t wait to hold a copy in hands! My illustration ‘Midnight Jungle’ is a digital collage of illustrations and for this, I referenced imagery of plants from Google, tropical textiles from eBay and colour palletes from music posters found on Pinterest. I really admire the work of Henri Rousseau, and his famous jungle paintings inspired my own tropical piece. I like to start every illustration with a pencil sketch, and then import the sketch into Photoshop. I will then manually trace the lines using the paintbrush tool. I like the slight wobble to the lines you get using this tool, I think its gives them a bit more personality. I find that using the illustrator paintbrush tool makes everything look too perfect.
What do you like to do to relax and how does it inform your art?
Whatever I’m doing there will always be music playing. I love northern soul and disco and there’s definitely a retro theme that runs through my work. My favorite way to relax is to listen to Eddie Piller’s eclectic soul show. In fact this show led me to research northern soul patches, which inspired my northern soul patch print.
What inspires you most?
I try to create designs that feel retro or nostalgic but look modern for today – you could say I have one foot in the past and one in the present. I love 70s and 80s textile design, and have a collection of silk scarves and dresses from these decades. If I am ever stuck for inspiration I look at my own collection of vintage pieces. Another great source of inspiration I find are vintage garments on eBay and Etsy. I look for the items with interesting print designs. These items can often be one offs, so I will screen gab the images and put them in my inspiration folder on my desktop.
What have you got lined up in 2016?
2016 is shaping up to be a pretty exciting year. I recently won a competition by Textile Federation, who support and promote emerging textile designers. The competition was to design a silk scarf and the prize was to have it produced and sold in Topshop, Urban Outfitters and on their own website www.textilefederation.com. The theme for this design was bohemia and I named my scarf Janis after the late great Janis Joplin. This should be out early next year so keep an eye out! My latest project is ‘The Sketchbook Project’ which is a Brooklyn based collaborative art project in New York. This project has been going for years, and anyone can get involved. Up until now I have never had the time, but I am determined to complete it before the year is out. Once it’s complete, it will be available to view online at the sketchbook project’s digital library. So keep your eyes peeled on my website www.suziescott.co.uk for a link! I have recently been planning a working holiday trip to Australia and hope to leave in the New Year. I’m sure I will return with some fantastic new ideas, and I feel that some great stuff is yet to come! I am available for commissions & collaborations so please do get in touch!
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