BEHIND THE BRAND: ISSAY ISSAYNovember 28, 2017
In the lead up to our Christmas Market event at the Urban Outfitters Marble Arch store in London on 9-10 December 2017, we’re speaking to some of the exciting vendors that will be at the market. Next up, Issay Issay…
Where did the idea to start Issay Issay come from?
After graduating uni I began selling embroidered jumpers and portraits of some of my famous artists like FKA Twigs, Erykah Badu and Dr Dre but embroidery is so time consuming that I turned to illustration. I was on the hunt to make something practical as well as aesthetically pleasing! After experimenting with different types of plates and mugs I fell in love with enamel and it’s been a blossoming romance ever since.
When did you get into illustration and why do you like the medium?
I studied Fashion Textiles at LCF and specialised in embroidery so never thought of myself as an illustrator until I graduated. I’ve always liked drawing but never thought I was particularly good until I made a mini comic book starring Biggie Smalls and I had a light bulb moment that I’d found my illustrative style. I’ve developed my style since then and I am constantly looking at different ways to improve my technique and play around. Only recently I’ve begun finishing off my drawings in Photoshop too as before I was a Sharpie purist and now I’ve opened up a whole digital world which is great fun!
How would you describe your design aesthetic?
I’d describe it as playful, nostalgic, simple and fun! And of course lots of pastel colours/blasts from the past.
What’s your creative process like?
I never go anywhere without my notebook so I can draw or write down any ideas I get on the go, I have a list of people I want to draw and I take my time to come up with if they would suit to be on a mug/carafe/teapot/candle. Typically I find lots of photos of who I want to draw then try to find on that captures them best and go from there. There are some celebrities I’ve been trying to draw but still can’t quite do them like Rihanna – she’s my drawing nemesis but I’ll do it one day!
How do you choose the celebrities you illustrate?
I like celebrities who make you smile or make you feel nostalgic. There’s not a lot of other brands out there capturing moments like the Nelly and Kelly Dilemma music video or other great moments in 90s and 00s history. I also only like drawing celebrities I genuinely like! I tend to stick to celebs who are quite jokes and who people would enjoy drinking their coffee with on their mug or pouring wine out of a carafe.
What are you inspired by?
I’m inspired by anything nostalgic, cute, pastels, hip hop, 00s music, art and flowers! I have a lot of interests which include floristry, bee keeping and anything creative I just love creating things with my hands and trying new things.
Do you have anything exciting coming up that you can tell us about?
I’ve just finished developing my first candle range featuring Elton John ‘Candle in the Wind’ as well as Sean Paul ‘We be Burning’ and Will Young ‘Light My Fire’ which have lovely scents including pine and eucalyptus with lavender! I also have 3 notebooks coming out just in time for Christmas too including Pop Idol’s greats Will and Gareth. In the new year I’ll be returning to embroidery and incorporating this into the brand with some embroidered pieces.