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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

East End Prints: an interview with Helen Edwards

On the new Amelia's Magazine market place I'll be offering a curated selection of fine art prints by East End Prints. Take a sneek peak of the kind of thing that will be on offer in this exclusive interview with owner and wonder mum Helen Edwards.

Written by Amelia Gregory

make ideas real print dale edwin murray east end prints

Make Ideas Real by Dale Edwin Murray.

Next in my series of interviews with my new market place stall holders, I am pleased to introduce Helen Edwards, the talented lady behind East End Prints. Her little boy is almost exactly the same age as Snarfle and although I have been aware of her for some time (read our introduction, written in 2010) we finally met on the Shoreditch mummy circuit, bonding immediately over our shared histories and careers in design. It’s been wonderful to make friends with someone who shares my situation so closely – juggling motherhood with running a business – and I’m very pleased that she will be part of my website relaunch (now due to happen in the New Year).

Cops by Dale Edwin Murphy

Cops by Dale Edwin Murray.

You have had a varied creative career: what led you to set up your own company and what has been the best part about setting up alone?
I worked in fine art publishing for 8 years and there was also someone above me calling the final shots on what we we finally published. I guess I got so frustrated with seeing all this great art that wasn’t getting out there. I volunteered for redundancy and then spent every hour of the day focussing on growing my business. The best part of running your own business is you are your own boss which is good and bad. I love working in a team and I found I spent a good deal of time at my laptop. I now have an apprentice and freelancers which really adds a buzz in the office. Now I have my 18 month old son, my focus is more than ever on making the business a success to secure his future. Plus as all working mums know, with the school run looming it makes it practically impossible to get a 9 to 5. 

play more work less print by anthony peters east end prints

Play More Work Less by Anthony Peters.

How has East End Prints developed over the three years since you launched and we first met you at the East London design show?
We launched in 2010 as a small publisher – mostly friends and since then we have been picked up by Habitat and Urban Outfitters who we feel are a perfect brand match! The range has moved on so much in those three years as we have started to respond to what the market likes, but still being a little esoteric.

Dancing In The Rain print by Stacie Swift east end prints

Dancing In The Rain by Stacie Swift.

What has been the most successful thing you have produced since then?
My most successful achievement has been the trade deal but commissioning new, young talented artists is still the thing that gives me the biggest buzz. I am working with two new paper cut artists who I found at D&AD Awards.

Hackney Empire by Lee Haydock

Hackney Empire by Lee Haydock.

You deal with a lot of artists at the same time; do you have any tips on how they can make the whole business run smoothly for everyone concerned?
Artists (typical artists!) never ever market themselves. They need to put us as a supplier of their prints and always back link, follow our tweets and generally be more proactive. The more chatter about the work the more people are inclined to purchase it. 

cute black and white cat print by dicky bird east end prints

Cute Cats by Dicky Bird.

What kind of imagery sells best, and what are you looking for when you scout for a new artist to join your stable?
What I like is not necessarily what we sell! Our Fiona Watson singing tree just keeps on selling because it is beautiful and seems to appeal to the hippest types. I think its the bedroom colourways… blue blue and more blue! 

given enough chocolate i could rule the world by of life and lemons east end prints

Given enough chocolate I could rule the world by Of Life and Lemons.

You collaborate with lots of other companies, what are the most exciting things that have happened in 2013?
Habitat: love the brand and have wanted to work with them for years since I used to research the images for them during the noughties, so we have come full circle. We are product developing too, which is all a bit hush hush actually! 
 
East End Alphabet by Pate at east end prints

East End Alphabet by Pate.

Where can we find you in the run up to Christmas?
We will be at Spitalfields Art Market every Thursday to Sunday until Christmas .. great for those last minute bargains! We have our special London themed editions being launched at the East London Design Show on 5th-8th December… very excited to be back there after a year out!  

vinyl print by dale edwin murray east end prints

Vinyl in Turquoise by Dale Edwin Murray.

Which is your favourite piece amongst my curated selection for the new Amelia’s Magazine market place and why?
You have selected one of our bestsellers, Vinyl in Turquoise, by Dale Edwin Murray. We LOVE this work, it’s so bold and clever. There is a record fair on once a month at Spitalfields so we usually shift a few then and this obviously appeals to suited city boys who hanker for a bit of retro vinyl!

You can check out fab prints from East End Prints at the East London Design Show this week and on my new market place soon.

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