Bee Davies specialises in fashion and reportage illustration, which she conveys through experimentation, a range of materials and expressive mark making. Her work is suitable for fashion and beauty brands, packaging, editorial and site specific artwork. She has an impressive list of clients in Cent Magazine, BENGT Fashion and Hunger Magazine. I wanted to find out more about what shes loves about her career in illustration, what tools she uses and where she finds inspiration for her style both on and off paper pages....
Bee, what’s your story? How did you get to where you are today? I’m a Rugby town girl born and bred but I’ve always craved bigger and better things, I thrive on creativity and I’ve always wanted to be in the buzz of London life. When I had the opportunity to go to University I knew that it was the place I needed to be. Studying Illustration of Kingston gave me the opportunity to explore narrative with my visuals and gave me the freedom to experiment with the whole spectrum of design and I felt I found my own there. Since graduating I have taken on the role of the in-store visual merchandiser for Reiss as well as pushing my freelance work. It is something that you constantly have to be working hard at but its my passion and it comes natural to me so I couldn’t imagine it any other way.
What did you want to be when you were 10 years old? Well, I was obsessed with the program ‘Changing Rooms’, I would watch it with my mum all the time and I swore I was going to be the next Lawrence Llewellyn Bowen. I wonder whether it was the interior design aspect or the fact that I wanted to rock those impressive blouses he would always wear.
What’s the proudest moment of your career to date and which project has been your career highlight? Being approached by GAS Art Agency and being asked if they could represent myself and my work. It is so rewarding when others can see potential in your work and appreciate and believe in it as much as you do yourself. I am fresh out of University by only a year so I feel my career is only just beginning, however, I really enjoyed volunteering a few years ago to be the fashion Illustrator for a fashion show arranged by the charity ‘Paraa’. Being able to contribute my work to such a great cause was so rewarding and gives your work great meaning – it was a proud moment.
How did you come to collaborate with Hunger Magazine? I was recently approached by the art team from the magazine to illustrate five articles for their February issue. I have found that I have had more companies approach me rather than the other way round and this is why I believe keeping your website up to date and be keen on social media is vital. You need to keep pushing your own work and name as it’s such a massive industry. Sink or swim!
How do you promote yourself? I never used to enjoy the idea of Twitter, but I’m pushing myself more to use it as it’s a fantastic platform to get your work noticed. That as well as Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest... Tag the sh*t out of everything!
Do you love or loathe social media? Love. I’m not even ashamed of it. We would all love to be able to say we can stick our fingers up and non-conform and live without our phones and laptop and ‘live how they used to’ (which on occasion is necessary to bring yourself back down to earth may I add), but the reality is that social media is a huge part of our lives nowadays. Our smart phones and laptops are remarkable inventions that allow us access we never thought we could have dreamed of and we must relish in it and take it for everything it offers. I am very much committed to my views that hand drawn and tactile art is the most important when we create, but I think that social media is one of the best things to have happened to us as artists. It gives us the opportunity for our work to go global from wherever we stand (as long as we manage to find 4G). Madness!
Which tools do you use to create stuff and what is your creative process? I start everything from hand drawn, I usually like to use expressive paint and ink marks to set whatever mood I am trying to convey and start the movement. There’s something I love about the unpredictable nature of wet media that you just cannot recreate digitally. I like to use Photoshop to enhance parts of drawings and play around with layers and various elements but digital art is something I am yet to find the urge to try.
Where do you find inspiration? From everywhere and everything. Day to day life, feelings and emotions. I love to observe everything around me and see how my hand wants to communicate this. I love keeping up to date with various blogs, in particular with fashion and I’ll have situations where I’ll see a piece from a collection and think ‘I HAVE to draw that!’. I love recreating texture and movement and I see it panning out in my head as my eyes scan the page.
What do you think the next big illustration trend will be and why? Back to basics inspired by the recent exhibition of the works of Matisse, but I think that moving image is at the forefront of design at the moment and is becoming increasingly more important so I think we will be seeing a lot more animated work.
What do you love about what you do? How content I feel I am when I’m doing it.
What’s your favourite music to work to? I don’t like listening to anything with lyrics when I work, or if I do it has to be serene– I find it too distracting otherwise. Currently I am loving Bonobo, Ludovico Einaudi and London Grammar.
What do you spread on your toast in the morning? I don’t have toast, I like to start my day with a very strong coffee and some sort of yoghurt, fruit and honey combination.
What are you working on at the moment? I’ve been busy with various projects here and there. A lot of my time recently has been working on various personal bits for my best friends wedding which I am currently on a train on the way home for!
I am looking forward to seeing what the recent joining with GAS Agency will bring for me. It’s all so exciting and I can’t wait to see what opportunities present themselves to me and to work my behind off in the process!
Discover more at beedavies.co.uk