Charlotte Farmer: In a Flap...

I came across illustrator Charlotte Farmer by her beautifully contemporary, elegant and etched-in-neon illustrations at WeAreUnlimited’s print gallery at PickMeUp2014 in Somerset House. Unlimited is a creative design studio in the heart of Brighton’s North Laines. Formed by husband and wife team Patrick and Sara Morrissey in 2008, they produce work for both print and screen – with current clients including Thames & Hudson, the Design Museum, the Royal Academy of Arts and the University of the Arts London. I was drawn to Charlotte’s ‘In a Flap’ prints so she has kindly told me a bit more about her creative work…

Charlotte, what’s your story? How did you get to where you are today? I've been working as an illustrator for a few years now, I started off fitting it in around a series of slightly rubbish jobs (which have left me with obscure knowledge of cheese and a dislike of thick books – just because I could never fit them on the shelves – I'm pretty much over it now though!) with the illustration gradually taking over – #Hurrah!

Which is your favourite character illustration that you’ve drawn to date? I like drawing grumpy looking animals, especially bears and recently I've discovered that I love drawing flamingos.

What did you want to be when you were 10 years old? A tennis player or a detective, I loved things with secret passwords and invisible ink. But I always enjoyed drawing too, though for some reason there was never enough paper around so I seem to remember drawing on a lot of tissue boxes… I need to ask my mum about this actually.

Which UNI did you go to and what did you study? I initially studied fine art, specialising in printmaking at Gloucester Uni, then a few years ago I did an MA in illustration at St Martins which was brilliant.

What’s the proudest moment of your career to date? I think it might be when I had my first solo gallery show at the Rostra Gallery in Bath. I've got another exhibit coming up at the Odd One Out gallery in Hong Kong which I'm also feeling pretty pleased with myself about, I'll have to see if I can save up for the airfare!

Which project has been your career highlight? I drew some maps for an Elle Collections shopping special last summer (it was when Wimbledon was on so I remember lots of late night colouring in to re runs of the days highlights). Unfortunately they were for a supplement for overseas editions – but I really loved doing them, I'm always happy to have an excuse to draw buildings, which I never seem to do in my own work...

 

How did you come to collaborate with Unlimited? The very lovely Sara from Unlimited got in touch with me last year… She'd bought a mug with a sausage dog on which I'd designed (she runs a sausage dog club in Brighton I think!) and it went from there. It's a great gallery about to be featured in Elle Decoration… so look out...

 

How do you promote yourself? Not very well is probably the honest answer.

Do you love or loathe social media? I love twitter (follow me at @lottiefarmer7) but have never joined Facebook though I keep thinking I should, just for work. I spend far too much time looking at Pinterest.

Which tools do you use to create stuff? It starts with carbon paper and pencils and then there might be a bit of moving things around in PhotoShop… (It's very technical in my world!) Most of my work ends up as screenprints which I make at Spike Print Studio in Bristol, I just LOVE screenprinting.

Where do you find inspiration? All over the place, often in the middle of the night. Though I went to the Natural History museum yesterday just to look at the cabinet stuffed with stuffed hummingbirds. Thinking about titles is often a starting point for me too.

What’s your favourite music to work to? At the moment it's Warpaint and Courtney Barnett… I like signing along in my best (not very good) Australian accent. Also anything that involves Kathleen Hanna.

What do you spread on your toast in the morning? Funny you should ask as toast is my all time favourite food. It's either going to be good old butter or Skippy peanut butter… Just thinking about that is making me hungry

What are you working on at the moment? I'm drawing the top 20 UK cat and dog breeds for a range of homewares and stationery. Also I've just been asked if I would do a one off screenprint of French Bulldogs getting a bit frisky!

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