ARTIST OF THE WEEK: SOPHIE RAWLINGSONDecember 15, 2017
The illustrator and founder of the PEACH Diaries and All My Plants Are Dead talks to us about having a disconnect with nature, socially focused art and embroidered illustrations…
Have you always been interested in art?
I have always been interested in design. From school my passion and end goal was in Graphic Design and typography! Illustration definitely crept up on me in the best way possible… I finished my degree realising I had a stronger passion in illustrating and drawing and so that’s what I’ve been putting my effort into post graduation.
How did you get into illustration?
I started doing freelance drawings for people during my Foundation Diploma at Falmouth University. I did a few small jobs for various people but didn’t think much of it… I guess since then I’ve just done more work for myself and others! A lot of the work I did in the beginning was very different to my style now – I experimented a lot with mediums and ways of drawing; there’s a few pieces out there that I don’t associate with now but it’s still kind of cool to see your progression over the years! One good project can lead to more projects with other people, and so thankfully I’ve had people like some of the stuff I’ve been doing recently.
Where did the idea of All My Plants Are Dead come from?
All My Plants Are Dead as a name is about disconnection to nature. Since moving to London, living in a city this big makes me feel so far away from anything natural and environmentally focused. I’m not from a big city and so I can feel removed from London life, even in the way that you can’t see the stars at night and it doesn’t really snow in the winter… it’s easy when you’re there to forget about the wider world because all you can see and think about are people, pollution and concrete.
I want All My Plants Are Dead to be an illustrative brand almost that is socially focused – making artwork that helps challenge norms or things in society that I believe need to be rethought or changed, and also environmentally focused. My enamel pin of a toucan bird is about deforestation and the disappearance of native birds, animals, and plants in a particular part of Brazil. The deforestation is happening largely because of overpopulation in nearby cities – in this case, it’s both an social and environmental issue. Illustrating topics that don’t challenge ways of thinking can seem empty – I hope that as I continue to draw I am able to make work that makes you think.
How would you describe your style?
Block colours, lines and wonky people! It’s a childish drawing style for adults.
What sort of themes do you like to explore in your work?
The work I recently exhibited for KK Outlet for The Laundry Arts curated show C*NT was a socially focused piece. All the artists that exhibited made art around the topic of cunts using the histories, contexts, and meanings etc to inspire their work. My illustration was an extension of the zine I made with my sister Ellie called The PEACH Diaries. It addresses the issues with female contraceptives and the mental and physical health issues that can come with them. The illustration at KK Outlet challenged women that take them – ‘why is it assumed that I must alter my mind & body, my physical & mental state, just for easier sex?’. Topics based on things I have experienced makes for more personal and honest work.
When creating a new piece, what inspires you?
Lots of my inspiration comes from things I’ve read, things I’ve experienced, and through external research.
Can you tell us about your creative process?
I usually draw from reference photos. I use Tumblr a lot – my personal blog is just a collection of faces and objects that I want to draw! I draw straight onto paper with pen and scan in and digitalise. All my work is vector-based because I love that scale is never an issue. You can also recolour and reshape countless times. A bigger drawing takes a few days – I go back and fourth with colours and composition and leaving it for a few hours and coming back later really helps! Staring at your screen for too long can drive you mad.
What are your favourite materials to work with and why?
Aside from digital drawings which is my main medium, I love using fabrics and embroidering illustrations, although these are more for personal projects because of how long it takes. I am starting to play around more with MDF and paints, and will hopefully make some interactive set deign pieces soon!
How does the London art scene inspire you?
London is a crazy place. It never stops moving and so you can’t stop moving either! To be surrounded by a large community of young creatives making art and music who think differently and diversely to you is inspiring in itself. I don’t think you can find the same kinds of people in smaller cities in the UK because the art scene is so big in London – it attracts the best and craziest people! I have met some very cool and talented individuals so far since living here. I hope I continue meeting artists who I admire!
What do you hope people will take away from your work?
I hope people relate to what the message is about and find support in what I am trying t say!
My sister and I are working on releasing a website for The PEACH Diaries and making another zine. If you have any female contraception related stories please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org! Aside from that I am in the early stages of making my own zine about sexism and will be looking for writers and others soon… stay tuned!