Today we share the work of Illustrator and designer Lorrie Whittington, completing her education back in the 80s she has been a fixture in the creative industries ever since.
I originally studied Fashion and Textile design at Amersham College of Art and subsequently at what is now UEL in the 1980s. However, it was never a field that excited me, I specialised in those disciplines because I was encouraged to do so after completing my Foundation course and first diploma. However, once I left university I abandoned all ideas of working in the ‘trade’ and concentrated on illustration and painting, as that was always my main preoccupation.
Like many art graduates of the time, making a living solely from ones art was an uphill struggle as there were just not the opportunities and means for raising awareness that there are now (no web for instance). So, I did many different jobs at the same time as working freelance. Plus which, while at University I got involved in the music scene, so throughout the 80s and 90s I was in many bands, did gigs and some recording work etc, and cherished dreams of fame and fortune. I even worked in the music business for a while in the early 90s’ working for a record company in their West End recording studio, which in its day had some of the biggest names around as it’s clients, and that period of my life is a WHOLE book of its own.
When I moved down to the coast in the mid 1990s, I worked in education, whilst also doing commission work. In 2002 I stopped working full time to concentrate solely on freelance art and design. I taught myself web design so I could build my own website, which I did in 2003, and since then I have been doing mostly web design and illustrative work on a commission basis, plus selling prints and postcards from Etsy and my own online shop.
Well, the thing about me is, I don’t really have a strictly defined style as such, this has made it difficult at times to generate work and a following, as I am not easy to pin down to a specific genre. Working in ink is my preferred medium, though I also paint using watercolours, acrylics etc. I also like using crayons, pastels, markers, you name it. I have many artistic influences from the Renaissance, Baroque and Romantic, to the Post Modernist, and my art is also deeply influenced by the iconography and art of the Celtic La Tene period. One of my other passions you see is History. I think my work embodies a very diverse and eclectic flavour. I am drawn towards vibrant colours, patterns, shapes and textures. Mostly abstract in nature, my work incorporates a lot of patterns, shapes and appearing randomness.
I am inspired by the world around me, where I live, family life etc. That includes nature, science, history, books and toys. I may draw leaves and trees one day, and robots the next. Sometimes, I paint abstract pieces that feature the sea, sometime intricate Japanese inspired watercolours, and a lot of ink drawings inspired by anything and everything. I carry my sketchbooks around with me everywhere I go, and my sketchbook work whilst being a jumping off point for other ideas that evolve into finished pieces, are not in themselves what you would call ‘roughs’. My sketchbooks are precious to me, and I put quite a lot of care and attention into the work I create within them. It is my intention at some point to create some ‘zines’ from some of them. I create art for no other reason really than to please myself and no one else. As I said, I am not a ‘niche’ artist as I create according to my whimsy and what interests me at the time. If people like what I do, then that makes me happy, but I am just as happy if they don’t. I subscribe to no particular style, fashion or trend.
I working on a series of ink illustrations for a children’s book I am writing, also new commission pieces and hand pulled prints. Additionally, recently I was one of 50 artists selected from over 300 entries for the Inkygoodness Beermat Character Competition, which will be part of an exhibition held in London before Christmas. This was a hugely exciting experience for me, as the winning designs will be exhibited alongside established artists like Felt Mistress, Mr Penfold, Peskimo, Rilla Alexander, Sandra Dieckmann, Simon Wild, Sweaty Eskimo and Thereza Rowe.