I had a very exciting day last week at Soho House's Festival at Kenwood House. It was a hot day and my first time working at a festival outdoors. Luckily I had a shady spot on the edge of Private Drama's marquee where I was able to cast an odd glance at the amazing acts of circus-style performers. Their theme was very much 'The Greatest Showman' Vaudeville style with traditional acts being off-centred and updated, I felt honoured to be a part of their very grand marquee.
I had a great time over the Royal Wedding weekend, working on the first floor of the beautiful Regency building. Staff were very welcoming and it was great to work in a place with a lovely 'family feeling'! The glitzy opening evening was attended by the fashion glitterati who came to listen to Ginnie Chadwyck-Healey who gave a fabulous talk on the styling of Ralph's new collection. The following 3 days I spent linked up to a large monitor where guests were invited to try on the new collection, styled by the staff. I then sketched them on my iPad Pro, emailing the illustrations directly to them.
Had a lovely commission nearly 2 years ago to illustrate the cover for this book, it was then shelved for a year and when it returned, the cover was changed slightly and internal illustrations were added to each chapter. It's a really fun, playful read of Mohammadi's relocation to Florence and an insightful journey into this new world after a busy career, writing in London.
The morning started with Jacqueline sketching the bridal party including bridesmaids, her parents and the bride herself in the wonderful penthouse suite of Claridges Hotel in London. It was lovely to get caught up in the excitement whilst the girls were readying themselves for the glamorous wedding in Kensington. I started sketching at 11am and worked all day whilst the happy couple were getting married. Greeting them on their return downstairs in Claridges beautiful ballroom where I continued until 11pm illustrating guests during the cocktail reception and continuing whilst they dined. It was an exhausting day as I normally only work in 3-4 hour stints but lovely to be part of such a happy occasion!
A great idea to change the King over to the Queen as the highest ranking card- after all we have had one as our longest reigning monarch ever! Now why don't we have a United Queendom??? (thank you Toni Brennan for this insightful suggestion!) I was asked to draw a list of celebrities to engage with people on social networks and television. Working from photos so not exactly a 'live event' but working in situ in their amazing offices in Covent Garden opposite the Old Bailey was great fun.
Another City, another Emporio Armani event for Jacqueline. Linking up her iPad Pro to a 2 metre high screen, this customer evening event was a huge hit with customers and local bloggers. Jacqueline felt really at home as this is the city near where she grew up and went to Bournville College of Art, embarking on her fashion career. Little did she know 30+ years ago that she would end up working for such luxury brands as Giorgio Armani. The fabulous designer shopping centre The Mailbox is a great place for shopping and eating, hosting this wonderful champagne and canapéd event.
At the end of April, Jacqueline spent time in The Wonder Room at Selfridges drawing customers at a most unique event. Bulgari were showcasing Elizabeth Taylor's private collection of jewels. Famously passionate for the brand, the diamond encrusted snakehead seen on the bracelet that she wore in the film 'Cleopatra' has since adorned many of Bulgari's unique designs from handbags to diamond rings. I drew customers' portraits onto paper which had been printed with a photograph of a stunning Liz Taylor necklace so they could even 'take it home with them'! (or at least an image on paper!)
In April Jacqueline flew to Paris to meet her Paris agent Marie Bastille (www.mariebastille.com). An early start at De Beers and a very long day sketching, first of all press and then customers at the launch of their wedding collection. Jacqueline sat amongst beautiful diamond engagement, wedding and eternity rings, it was the perfect atelier for the day- it was an unusual job as DeBeers wanted pencil sketches with a little soft pink watercolour to show off the diamonds.
Diamonds are definitely a girl's best friend!
Jacqueline designed the invitations for this luxurious party weekend which were then used on the menus and place names. A gorgeous venue to work at, Jacqueline enjoyed drawing guests over cocktails and champagne, continuing whilst the guests dined.
This was my largest live event to date and I drew over 120 customers in the week leading up to xmas. I was at T2,3,4 and 5- each terminal had a different feel but they were all very busy and had a lovely atmosphere. I met a great variety of people from a female astronaut, fashion designer through to whole families who shopped at the YSLK beauty boutique whilst waiting for 4 family members to be drawn. It's always great to be part of a successful event and this one went really well!
Another creative commission from last month came from Yu Soga at Vogue Japan. I was asked to create loose watercolours inspired by keywords such as 'Concentration','Share', 'BrushUp'& 'Master'. The promotion was for Pola, a luxury anti-aging skincare range, featured a month over the Xmas/ New Year period on Twitter and other networks.
I had the pleasure of working at Spring restaurant last month in a beautifully decorated private dining room for Garnier staff and associates. It's the second time I've worked at Spring and it's always such a pleasurable place, the staff are great and the food was divine! I worked on 15 minute paintings with elements of nature added at the client's request, which were presented to guests at the end of their Xmas lunch along with personalised stockings full of beauty goodies.
The brief was from Claire Cheung at Northstar to feature ladies performing on stage. These could be dancers, singers, actors etc but they needed to feel powerful and dominant. I had 2 weeks to fulfil the brief, working on rough pencil ideas first and I had a wonderful time throwing the paint around to get some shapes to compliment the watches. It was nice to have direct brief that I could also feel very creative in!
I spent an early December evening drawing customers’ portraits in my favourite department store on the second floor where the designer mens’ floor were having a celebratory Xmas event with music, champagne and free framed portraits for Armani guests. Commissioned by the wonderful team Armani, it was a pleasure to work with them once again wit their innovative event of linking my iPad to a 2 metre high screen and printer so that customers, as well as receiving their printed, framed portrait, also receive an email and time-lapse of their own art5 work.
Back in late November, I had the honour of working at Ragley Hall near Stratford Upon Avon. A wonderful, Grade 1 listed mansion set in the beautiful Warwickshire countryside, near where I grew up. PragnelI is a fabulous family-run jewellers with shops in Stratford-Upon-Avon and London. They sell the most beautiful watches and jewellery, both contemporary and Antique. The company, now run by Charlie Pragnell prides itself on extensive knowledge of gemstones and certainly seemed to 'go that extra mile' to find the perfect piece for their loyal customers. I painted some of the guest's portraits in the music room, next to the main room where champagne flowed and live artists and beautiful dancers entertained.
It's been my busiest time with live events illustrating so I'm rather behind with my blogs I'm afraid! Please bear with me while I try to get you up to date with recent commissions!
I've worked at 4 events for Louis Vuitton over the Xmas period. The first was at their beautifully luxurious New Bond Street flagship store. The store is amazing and in the personal shopping areas they had some amazing art works including an original Gilbert & George and a Yayoi Kusama. I sat and drew customers trying on the new Cruise 18 collection- totally beautiful pieces!
The next event was in Selfridges for the Masters collection, a collaboration with Jeff Koons showing some of the old masters' on bags and scarves etc. I prepared a few pieces before hand to show customers and they could choose similar poses or straight fashion portraits.
Event no.3 was in Birmingham's Selfridges - a lovely cocktail evening for special guests to celebrate the glitzy new boutique in the Bullring Shopping Centre. I met some wonderful guests who made me feel so welcome, felt a bit like a homecoming as I'm from The West Midlands originally!
The fourth and final event was in Westfield in the second week of December, with another exclusive cocktail evening for special customers, all in all it's been an amazing experience working in beautifully luxurious boutiques and with some lovely people.
Just back from an exhausting few days in Glasgow and Manchester with Armani. I was invited to draw portraits of guests on my iPad Pro, which was linked up to a 2metre high monitor. This had been set up 'portrait style' so was huge! It was such a unique idea and I had quite an audience, not great for the nerves but once 'into the drawing zone' I loved it!
The customers were gifted their prints on the night which were mounted and framed.
It was a pleasure being surrounded by such gorgeous clothes- the Emporio range is stunning. There was also a presentation by Marie Claire's Fashion Editor, Jayne Pickering showing key looks for the season.
It was great to be part of the Armani team and the staff were great, I'm looking forward to being part of their Xmas promotions in Selfridges in December, more details to follow...
I spent a wonderful day with my agents Juliette and Victoria in The Truman Brewery for Le Book Connections, drawing professional creatives working in advertising, design and publishing.
More nervous to get started than usual, probably because I was trying extra hard to make a good impression, once I'd warmed up I really enjoyed drawing the stylish crew, who came from all over Europe.
It seemed like a really successful day for illustration Ltd with some great prospective clients such as Net-a-Porter and various large advertising agencies. It was great to see my 2 senior agents in action!