What does your art mean to you?
To me, illustration as a field presents an infinite opportunity to keep learning and experimenting. It provides a focus and outlet for my curiosity and allows me to see the same world through an endlessly changing gaze. My work is also a means through which I can make a difference on a community-based level and engage with new people, a branch of my practice I am currently trying to evolve further through organising my first series of workshops with a local gallery.
How did you end up working as an illustrator?
I studied illustration at university; it wasn’t a path I ever intended to take as I had no arts training behind me at all beforehand – I didn’t really draw and I certainly never painted. But I was enamoured by the idea that I could tell stories through things I created, and not just via 2D printed ephemera but through ceramics, textiles, costume. I can appreciate digital media but I feel far more connected to working with the tangible; I like to see the human touch in my work, the remnants of my process, it all adds to another layer of narrative.
But I was enamoured by the idea that I could tell stories through things I created, and not just via 2D printed ephemera but through ceramics, textiles, costume.
How do you get inspired to produce a piece of work?
I wouldn’t say there is a linear process to how I make work; finding inspiration in everyday life means that I can really make work about anything that makes me feel something. It often comes from the simplest of sources, and a large proportion of these being from interactions with the natural world- I like that I can immortalise such liminal moments and turn my memories and emotions into something physical. I’m quite a nostalgic person and a bit of a hoarder, and that definitely bears a lot of weight in my personal practice.
What do you enjoy? How do you spend your free time?
I spend most of my free time reading- like painting I find it a totally immersive activity, another way of sinking into an imaginary world and escaping for a while. I’ve recently finished reading Ali Smith’s Seasonal Quartet which was incredible. They initially grabbed my attention because of the Hockney paintings on the covers; I adore his work, and now her’s too in equal measure. I guess it pays to judge a book by its cover sometimes. I also spend a lot of time outdoors, mostly walking at the moment seen as it’s one of the few ways we can still socialise here. I do a lot of my thinking when I’m walking too, it’s definitely as much a part of my creative process as it is a means of getting a change of scenery.
I also spend a lot of time outdoors, mostly walking at the moment seen as it’s one of the few ways we can still socialise here.
What’s life like in Northampton now?
Life in Northampton is, as you’d expect, not wildly different from life in most places right now. Luckily I live in the countryside so I have the luxury of being surrounded by green space that is free to explore. I never imagined living here after I graduated but I’ve definitely come to appreciate it over the past few months and recognise how beautiful it really is. There seems to be more of a creative momentum building within the town too which is really exciting and definitely long overdue- I’m looking forward to being part of it and seeing where it’ll head.
Where can I buy your work?
Prints of my works and other hand-painted goods are available via my online store. I’m also available to commission and am happy to sell my original pieces- just get in touch via my Instagram or email on email@example.com.
Rosie May – www.instagram.com/ruza.may/