People are always asking artists where they get their inspiration. A valid question I suppose, but a hard one to answer.
I know my lovely friend Emily Dupen from Dupenny gets a lot of her inspiration from the past. From musicals, films, vintage packaging, old posters, the amazing pin up artists from the 50s and many other places. Each time I see one of her new designs I can see how she has grown as an artist and am constantly amazed at how the squillions of ideas bouncing around in her brain have turned into quirky and often hilarious wallpapers.
Emily at her desk. Check out all the ephemera that surrounds her.
What I love about Dupenny as a brand is that it refuses to be put in a box. Just when everyone decided that it was all about Burlesque and sexy pin up ladies the next wallpaper design is spooky apothecary potions or hilarious strongmen. I often get a sneaky look at her bespoke commissions too, she can literally draw anything!
One of Dupenny's new temporary tattoo designs.
I also asked the super talented Bink from Pearls&Swine what inspired her. Here's what she told me.
'For me it's very easy to be inspired all the time, I surround myself obsessively with what inspires me (colour, religious icons, art, flowers, glitter, haberdashery, music, cats etc). Although I am a milliner I am not remotely interested in what any other milliner is doing or what is in fashion. I think watching other designers is lazy. I can't be bothered with tip toeing around other people's designs or risk my subconscious stealing ideas, if I can't see it I can't be responsible for a cross over.
Bink's religious paraphernalia
I think if you want to create something unique you shouldn't watch what others are doing but you should go within and tell your OWN story through your creativity. We are all unique in our own way, if you create from the heart there is a honesty and truth that will set you apart. I create what I feel, it just comes out as millinery most of the time. I also believe that creativity is like a muscle, exercise it regularly and you will get stronger. For the last 6 years i have got up pretty much every day and I have created, it's all that matters to me. I am very focused and I try not to allow anyone to distract me, many creatives get so caught up in their work being copied and waste so much time stressing about the unimaginative, they lose their creative mojo and risk losing their business. I say don't forget that these people exist, use them as creative fuel, make something new and amazing. Make them work for it if they want to keep up, don't let negativity steal your focus. You can't stop the unimaginative but you control how they impact your life and your creativity.'
A fabulous Pearls&Swine creation.
For me, if I had to pick just a few muses, it would be books, nature, architecture and travel.
Here are a few images of objects that have sparked my interest. An old bird book found in one of my favourite Rottingdean curiosity shops, a rosary crucifix from Notre Dame, an animal skull, an orchid hair clip (recently returned to me after drunkenly gifting it to a friend 2 years ago), a butterfly guide and a beetle trapped in perspex. (A present, I wouldn't buy anything that had been killed, vegetarian alert!)
I am inspired by my walk to the bus stop in the morning. I love the fact that every spring a big, humdrum bush in someone's front garden comes to life with a million tiny caterpillars emerging from what looks like silken spider webs. The amazing array of suburban flowers, butterflies, seagulls and starlings that inhabit my coastal village never cease to amaze and enrapture me.
Some of my inspirations.
There is nothing like the feeling I get when I walk into a beautiful church or cathedral. I'm not religious, but I think there is something really special about these places. I also love abandoned buildings. I was sad to see a big, boarded up house burn down at the edge of Saltdean last year. I used to like imagining what was inside on my journeys along the sea front. (Probably some smelly old tramps underpants, special brew cans and girly mags but that's the beauty of having an imagination!)
I know it is inevitably a cliche but I also love looking in antique and second hand shops. Snoopers Paradise in Brighton's North Laines is always a joy as is the pink Kemptown flea market. You can get totally lost in old memorabilia and knick knacks.
There is also lots of beauty in the modern world. I love to read interior and fashion magazines, although I am too stingy to often buy them! Luckily there are some great free magazines around. As it's Brighton they are fantastically creative and colourful, Pretty Litter is my current favourite.
I recently rediscovered some photos from a trip a few years ago. I'm so excited to revisit my travels and see all the things that thrilled me when I saw them for the first time. My next designs are top secret but keep an eye on my website and you'll be the first to know what inspires me, beyond beetles, bugs and moths!
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