Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Interview with Rachel Lattimore

q)Please introduce yourself.

a)Hello. My name is Rachel Lattimore, I am quite small, I currently have ginger hair, I am 22 and I am an artist/ illustrator/ designer/ animator.

q) Where do you live and work?

a)This is in flux. I was living in Brighton and then I moved to New York, now I’m back in England (in Essex) but I’m moving to Berlin soon. I think that this year will be a year of moving, but that is one of the great things about being a freelance artist, as long as you have an internet connection you can work almost anywhere.

q) How would you describe your work to someone who has never seen it?

a)I find collage the most natural way for me to illustrate a message, but sometimes this is 2D, and sometimes 3D, sometimes moving, sometimes still. My work is illustrative but also surreal (it has been described as ‘bizarro’!). It is concerned with the subconscious, and influenced by my love of women and fashion. I like images that seduce me into a daydream but I am currently working on changing the content of my images so that this daydream can carry a more important and responsible message.

q) How did you start in the arts? How/when did you realize you were an artist?

a)I spent most of my childhood drawing fashion designs, making furniture for my dolls house and playing with fuzzy felts. After school I did an Art Foundation Course in London’s East End, and realised that illustration was the only course that would allow me to carry on doing these things only in a bit more of a grown up way. I started my illustration degree at Brighton University and soon became so immersed in it that I realised I wouldn’t be much good for anything else.

q) What are your favorite art materials and why?

a)Soft porn magazines from the 1960’s, a rotary pen, photoshop and a spot of gouche because the beautiful, dreamy possibilities are endless.

q) What/who influences you most?

a)Cities and flea markets, actually anywhere where my brain feels like it’s about to explode with information.

q) Describe a typical day of art making for you.

a)I get up late and immediately have a strong coffee. Turn music on, check my emails, before getting down to work. Look through magazines, go through old reference books, daydream for a while, before eventually picking up some scissors and a pen and usually feeling happy with what I’ve done by about midnight. Turn music off, go to sleep.

q) Do you have goals, specific things you want to achieve with your art or in your career as an artist?

a)There are too many things that I would like to achieve but none of them probably specific enough! I would like to have a shop, or start a magazine, I would like to make a music video but I would also like my work to have a more meaningful contribution to the world. I am very interested in Environmental issues and would like to see my work spreading a positive message in this respect in the future.

q) What contemporary artists or developments in art interest you?

a)I am very excited by the current crossover of illustrators into other design practices like art direction and set design because this ability to have a multi layered and varied career really appeals to me. I look up to people like Julie Verhoeven who manage to cross from illustration, to fine art, to music video, to fashion with ease.

q) How long does it typically take you to finish a piece?

a)I am generally quite a slow worker for an illustrator, most of my collages take one or two days. Paintings take up to a week and animations can take me a month to complete. I need to speed things up a bit, but then again day dreaming is also important!

q) Do you enjoy selling your pieces, or are you emotionally attached to them?

a)I don’t mind selling my pieces because everything that I have sold so far has been created for a specific purpose/ commission so I have never really felt like they were mine alone anyway. I think that I would be sad if I thought that I could never see them again but I have them all archived on my computer so that I don’t forget them.

q) Is music important to you? If so, what are some things you're listening to now?

a)Music is very important, it is my only companion for most of the day. However I’m not a serious music buff, I listen to silly things if I need cheering up. I’m currently enjoying a mix C.D that my boyfriend sent me from Berlin that has a great song by Falco on it called ‘Der Kommisar’ and a C.D by my friend’s band The Morning Orchestra.

q) Books?

a)My favorite novel is Tender is the Night by F.Scott Fitzgerald because I like stories about interesting women who are on the edge of insanity. I recently read the Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger which I know is a best seller and horribly commercial but it was actually extremely engrossing.

q) What theories or beliefs do you have regarding creativity or the creative process?

a)I don’t think that there is any great mystery about creativity, it is just something that is completely natural to me. I think that all children are very creative, maybe some subconsciously chose to carry this creativity into adulthood whereas others favour logic. I think that childhood imagination can be switched on again though, it just takes practice.

q) What do you do (or what do you enjoy doing) when you're not creating?

a)I am a great fan of sleeping and catching up on dreams. I like watching films, going to charity shops and boot sales. I like pedantically organising things and then dancing and drinking to counteract this slightly obsessive compulsive side. I love sitting around in cafes drinking coffee and (at the moment) planning where to live next.

q) Do you have any projects or shows coming up that you are particularly excited about?

a)Yes! I am in an exhibition next week in London with other artists that were asked to create poster designs for the Big Chill festival. The prints of these posters will be signed by the artists and sold to raise money for Amnesty International, so great news all round!

q) Do you follow contemporary art scenes? If so, how? What websites, magazines, galleries do you prefer?

a)To an extent, I try not to get too involved because I then worry about subconsciously feeding elements I have seen into my work. I do like to have the occasional look on a fabulous blog that was set up by some ex Brighton students called www.itsnicethat.com and I also like www.fecalface.com

q) Ask yourself a question you'd like to answer, and answer it.

a)Is a career in the arts worth a life of financial torment? Yes but ask me again in ten years time, I have youthful optimism on my side.

q) Any advice for aspiring artists?

a)Can I have some please!

q) Where can we see more of your work online?

a)My website: www.rachellattimore.com

My Blog: http://rachellattimore.blogspot.com

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