The beautiful and talented artist / designer – Becca who, is a UK based celebrated artist. I am a fan of her work and additionally, consider her a good friend. Last year I approached her with a fun project idea; and here we are, after an amazing opportunity for a delightful collaboration. We picked our brains and come up with a bewitching pattern design exclusively commissioned for Jijjy’s Maison. I feel it would be awesome if you could get to know her, so we had a little interview and here is what she shared with me.
I absolutely love your work; I feel you are highly a creative person. First of all, what is your background?
I have always been creative and throughout childhood, my obsession was with art. Following High School, my studies at college were in Art & Design with Fashion & Textiles. I then went on to study Graphic Design in Manchester, before returning to my small rural home town of Burnley in Lancashire, where I find inspiration in the stunning surrounding landscape and wildlife.
At what age did you start your art/illustrations and what drew you to start this form of art? In essence, how did it all start?
I have been creating art for as long as I can remember! As a small child, I would illustrate my own stories, design creative games to play with my siblings and I became known at school as the girl who draws. My enthusiasm for drawing saw me winning many art competitions and, as I grew older, my ambitions grew and I began to explore design and textiles, starting with creating my own clothes. Exploring creativity has always been my way of finding happiness.
Life took me in a different direction for a while after my studies, but the goal of starting my own creative business remained. Whilst employed in areas of finance and customer services, I gained experience which now proves valuable in operating my own enterprise and I always pursued creativity in my free time outside of those jobs.
Who is your biggest influence/inspirations?
Growing up seeing my parents run their small businesses, my childhood was very much riding the ups and downs of the entrepreneurial roller coaster with them! Seeing the passion, dedication and resilience that goes into operating small businesses, I developed my own entrepreneurial character and ambitions of working for myself. On starting Becca Who, whilst excited for the creative freedoms and highs of self-employment, I was under no illusion about the stamina also required to overcome inevitable challenges! I have always felt a kindred spirit with other creative entrepreneurs, which has led me to love collaborating with other artisan brands.
This interest in areas of business and marketing is what took me towards Graphic Design when choosing my path of education. I have since been able to use the skills learned in Graphics to do so much for my own business in terms of branding, marketing collateral, website imagery etc. – and over the years, have developed my skills in software to create my own artistic process which now works well for designing for print on fabric. Having developed a love of digital painting, my skills in Graphics transpired to form a significant synergy within my approach to creating artwork.
Do you consider yourself an artist or illustrator or other and why?
My artwork is always destined for fabric and products and so naturally I see myself as a Designer, my finished works serving product requirements, print constraints etc. That said, I initially approach each of my creations as an Artist – my style is expressive, detailed and painterly, with considerations to composition, balance, emotion and symbolism.
Imaginative engagement is key for both myself during the creative process and also in my aim of affecting the viewer. I usually aim for my creations to form a piece of art as well as a working design and I find that my Art Prints are very popular.
What inspires your style of art/design/illustrations?
My inspirations creatively are diverse, from a complete fascination with the natural world, a love of Art Nouveau, the Arts & Crafts Movement – through to Surrealism, Psychedelia, Folklore and a love of the unusual in artisan and vintage things. I love the process of bringing our own individual inspirations together to result in something creative and unique.
I especially love the works of esteemed creators such as Aubrey Beardsley, Gustav Klimt and William Morris, whilst appreciating an eclectic mix of contemporary artists and designers who I enjoy following on Instagram. I enjoy the heady styles of Maximalism, rich colours, highly decorated works and ornamental patterns.
Do you seek out opportunities and how?
I chose to start Becca Who alongside parenting my youngest son whilst he was pre-school. I found myself wanting to be creative with the days I spent with him and it felt like a good time to start my business. I began by creating artwork which I offered for sale as prints. My ambitions were always in fabric and pattern design and, having come up with my brand, I created an online space to sell my art and soon built up a budget which enabled me to start printing onto fabric. Initially, I was offering only ladies scarves and, as popularity for my work grew, I was able to start creating other products and to develop my own range of Homeware.
Operating Becca Who part time, I enjoyed precious time with my son before school and was glad of work opportunities finding me simply via my social media presence. Largely through platforms such as Instagram, I have built up happy customers across many countries, manufacturers have approached me for collaborations, brands like yourself for commissions and last year I took up a gallery request to exhibit my art and textiles. I am thrilled now that my designs on fabric and wallpaper are stocked nationwide in the UK and I love to work with other brands on commissioned work.
My son now being in his first year of school, I had moved to full time hours just a few months ago. As we are currently in the Covid-19 lockdown period of 2020, I am home schooling and fitting my work around that for the time being, like so many others. Taking my business forward, my focus is on creating pattern design for artistic fabrics and wallpapers.
Why do what you do?
If I weren’t able to work in this or any creative role, I would certainly be living creatively in other ways! It’s something that is such a big part of who I am, an outlet for expression and a major source of happiness. Art has always moved me and I feel grateful every day to be in a role which I love, pursuing the path that I set my heart on from a young age.
One of the best things about what I do is seeing other people get creative with fabrics and products which I have designed. Seeing the results of my work sparking the imaginations of others keeps me inspired to create more too.
Do you have a favourite piece of your own art? What was your inspiration when drawing or designing it?
I always feel immersed in whatever I’m creating at the time and enjoy a result coming together and, of course, I have loved creating Bustani Zuri! I really enjoyed the whole process of sharing ideas with yourself around the theme of the design, creating the artwork and exploring colour palettes.
I’ve been wanting to create something around Tropical inspirations and was thrilled to feature some of the amazing wildlife and flowers in celebration of the Tropical regions. I especially like that you wanted to include a big cat and I think that the Jaguar is in good company! Led by your wish to come up with colour palettes which are in keeping with the beautiful vintage palettes that you love, with an awareness of current colour trends, I feel that the result is one which many will enjoy on fabric and which is versatile for use.
I hope that the design captures the spirit of reverence for nature and love for our planet which we spoke about – and that it gives people much life to discover amongst the foliage! What is special to me about Bustani Zuri is that our visions for the design combined so well.
Is there anything special that you do to stay unique?
I simply stay authentic to the things that I personally love and offer my style of working. It is a constantly evolving creative journey, inspired by the world around me. I create from a place of celebrating the inspirations that move me and I believe that we are each our most creative when we explore and express the inner workings of our own unique minds, the endless pool of our own interests, curiosities, life experiences and emotions.
This digital age affords us a luxury of viewing so much of the arts and cultures worldwide, that we can experience such vast inspirations and connections with others, to create our own artistic response to aspects that resonate in some way.
What message do you want to give to your audience with your art?
In creating works of art for fabric, I want to encourage people to buy things which are made to last, to embrace a timeless style and to enjoy artisan pieces of expressive design. I want to motivate others to live creatively and to bring more art into people’s lives, sometimes in ways which are new to them; Whether it be exuberant fabrics, daring upholstery filled with painterly detail or a beautifully unusual lampshade, the things that we surround ourselves with can inspire our imagination and spark creativity.
I Totally agree with you Becca…
I also want to spur others to be their authentic self, to embrace their own passions in life. I have started my creative business from square one, utilizing all of my own skills, constantly learning in the process and embracing a dedicated journey of pursuing my passion. It’s brought me so much creative fulfillment already, and countless valuable connections with customers, aspiring artists, creative businesses and young people working out their aspirations. When we align with what truly moves us, we are able to offer the best of ourselves and the positivity from that makes it all the more meaningful.
How do you want your art to make your audience or other people feel?
I love to move people, to offer beauty and intrigue, perhaps a little of the unexpected. From childhood, I always felt such a sense of wonder and discovery in my experiences of art, a deep connection with this universal language. If I can transmit some of those emotions to viewers of my work, via beautiful fabrics which can inspire their own creativity and which they can use and enjoy daily, then I’m very happy.
And finally but not least, what is your vision? The future of your brand and your work?
I’m excited to be working on my next distinctive fabric collection. I plan to share more insights into my creative processes and the running of my business. My vision for the future of my work is to keep embracing the opportunities to collaborate, to hope to inspire creativity in others and to keep learning, discovering and creating.