Fairytales, wallpaper, light boxes and teapots…enter the world of Natasha Lawless.
AVA: Where did you study?
NL: London College of Communication, University of the Arts London.
AVA: What would you say was the most interesting or enjoyable part of the course you studied?
NL: The most interesting part of the course was to be honest the course itself. As surface design is such a broad discipline, what was so great was that you learn so many skills and techniques to learn how to translate your designs onto any surface such as ceramics, home and fashion accessories, clothes, wallpaper etc. The list is endless and so the course provided me with a broad vocabulary of design processes to work with which is constantly pushing your work and its potential.
AVA: What was your most interesting or memorable experience during your course?
NL: Other than learning endless new skills, I really enjoyed the second year when we had to find at least two different work placements as well as being given an external brief from Liberty‘s and the Wallpaper History Society in connection with Zoffany. Each were great and invaluable experiences. The external brief culminated with a competition where I had the opportunity to be part of a public exhibition at the Artworker’s Guild and won third prize!
AVA: What inspires your work?
NL: Inspiration come from all kinds of places and they are not always that obvious. I guess I believe one’s life experience as a whole cannot help but influence your work in one way or another. At present, I have been looking a lot at traditional Japanese aesthetics as well as the natural world which is a recurrent theme in much of my work. Fairytales and fantasy has also been a strong theme to my most recent work. Travelling is always a great way to find new inspiration as you tend to be more receptive to and able to absorb what is surrounding you. However you by no means have to travel far to find ideas, they can just as easily be found on the street outside or in the kitchen bin!
AVA: Who is the biggest influence on your work and why?
NL: It is impossible to name one person, as so many people have had an influence on the way I work, from long gone artists and designers whose work I have explored in books and galleries to others I have met or worked with. People’s influence have also come from far and beyond the art and design world as its not always about what they work as or what they produce, but their influence can just as much be about they way they work. I admire all hard workers who have a passion for what they do.
AVA: Which piece out of all of your work best represents your overall collection and why?
NL: My most recent work ‘The Enchanted Forest’ which is a hand-printed wallpaper with mapping projection forms part of my ongoing ‘Captivate Project’ and probably best represents my current work as a whole. At present I am fascinated by light and am currently working on a collection of different ideas that rely on different sources of light to bring to life my designs. For example I have been experimenting with light boxes, projection as well as playing around with natural light.
AVA: Have you worked with any clients or on any previous projects? If so which clients and what kind of project?
NL: I have worked with various clients on a wide variety of different projects. As examples I have done various branding and label designs for a bespoke perfume company Essentially Me, as well as for essential oil company Aqua Oleum. I have also been in charge of setting up and designing an exhibition space in an old working warehouse for a Science and Art themed exhibition for Science in Society. I have also designed and hand-printed wedding invitations for private clients and am currently working for a relatively new company called Grapple Mobile, who design and create phone applications. I am working on branding for them as well as a bespoke wallpaper and light boxes for their London offices.
AVA: What kind of materials do you use in your work and why?
NL: I use all sorts of different types of materials in my work depending on what what my idea is and what I am trying to do. I am always on the look out for new ones to try and experiment with. In design I find the more you play, the more you learn.
AVA: If you could describe your design style in five words what would they be?
NL: Tactile, feminine, minimal(ish), delicate & beautiful.
AVA: What kind of advice would you offer to someone interested in design?
NL: My advice would be to follow your passions and never be afraid to try out new things. You can learn so much and it can help your work progress as it opens up all kinds of paths you perhaps didn’t even know existed. Be open to everybody’s comments and suggestions, yet at the same time don’t take anything people say as gospel truth, as in the end you are the one who has the final control over your work and you should be proud of it. I would also say that unless you are 100% positive on what it is exactly that you want to do, try not to worry too much about it whilst you are studying. What is important is to learn and experiment as much as you can as that time in university gives you the freedom and space to do so. It is also important to be able to strengthen and become confident in the personality of your work, its style and your working process. If you can be confident with your own work, where you take it later may not be such a problem as long as you are open and flexible to different opportunities that may arise.
AVA: What are you currently working on now you have graduated?
NL: Currently other than the Grapple Mobile offices that I mentioned above, I am continuing with my Captivate Project in collaboration with Joanie Lemercier from AntiVJ and alongside that have various conversations going on for upcoming projects and freelancing opportunities so time will tell!
AVA: What are your hopes for your future career?
NL: All that I can hope for is that I am able somehow to make a living out of something that I love doing.
For more examples of her work, please visit Natasha’s website.