20 March 2020
Dawn Cooper illustrates the hidden life of a hedgerow for BBC Wildlife Magazine
31 July 2020
Lizzie King is an illustrator, sculptor, window dresser and most importantly, exceptionally creative. Her designs display an effortless cool, with bright colours, tropical motifs and a little bit of 90’s nostalgia, combining to create an immersive body of work thats cartoonish as well as cohesive.
The wobbly lines and colourful characters present in Lizzie’s illustrations bring to mind the animated series of her childhood (Rugrats, Doug, Hey Arnold…), but look equally satisfying in three dimensions as wells two. Using her background in sculpture Lizzie creates environments and props that emphasise the playfulness of Lizzie’s world, installing them in window displays and building what feels like a literal 3D TV. These displays have caught the attention of clients like Nike, Lazy Oaf and Bestival, and is seeing Lizzie push the applications of her work even further!
We spoke to Lizzie about Hackney, eyebrows and the feeling when she built her first stud wall…
Where do you live?
Where is your studio located?
In my garden! I built a shed to work in, it’s pale blue and like a tardis as it’s so much bigger inside than it looks. It’s great being so close to my studio.
Can you describe your creative process?
I take a lot of photos on my phone, anything that excites me, it could be a colour combination or a box of fruit on Ridley Road Market. When I did a residency in Margate I drove past a hotel called ‘Mont Calm’ and that inspired all of the work I did while I was there. The smallest thing can spark an idea. I always come back to the same themes though, tropical paradise & Greek ruins. I’ve loved palm trees since I was given a tropical Swatch Pop watch when I was seven!
What does a typical working day look like?
I love to go for a swim at the lido first thing to get my head into a calm state then come back to the studio, open up my emails and then get distracted by something more exciting like making a giant pair of cardboard hands!
Do you listen to music or the radio whilst you work? If so, what’s on your playlist?
I love NTS radio. Especially Charlie Bones‘ morning show. Felix Hall & HDD both do excellent Bashment shows on there too. If I’m trying to work fast I’ll listen to Soca and if I’m doing something hard like my taxes it will be a calm playlist with lots of Sade.
How long have you been with the Artworks for?
Since the end of 2019.
What drew you to Artworks?
I’d put a note in my diary months before contacting The Artworks to approach them when I’d updated my website as I really liked the artists already represented there. Then a job came through that I needed representation for so I emailed even though I hadn’t perfected my website. When I spoke to Steph she was so warm and friendly & that made me feel really welcome.
What books or programmes did you love as a child? Have they influenced your work in any way?
I loved cartoons! The Flintstones, Rugrats & Doug definitely influenced the way I draw. I love the quite chunky, flat shapes & the patterns in the Rugrats are amazing. I also watched a lot of Saved by the Bell and Fresh Prince which is definitely why I love 90s style so much.
If you weren’t an artist, what would you be instead?
I’m obsessed with eyebrows! It’s the first thing I notice about someone. So I think I’d be an eyebrow shaper. Failing that I used to run art workshops in schools so maybe doing some kind of after school club.
What was the most important lesson you learned at Art School, if you went!
To give everything a go. I did Sculpture and arrived on the course not knowing how to use a drill. On the first day we had to build our own studio spaces and I was terrified. After a week I loved building and felt so proud that I knew how to build a stud wall! The whole structure of the course was really relaxed, you could go and find a technician who would help you learn to make a mould to cast something. I loved following my ideas through to making 3D things.
What inspires you the most to create?
I was lucky that when I was growing up if I saw something I liked in a shop my mum would say ‘we can make that!’. It taught me to be really creative and find joy in making things yourself. I love working out how to make something or sitting & drawing until the image looks like what I had imagined.
Name three artists that you admire.
Rose Wylie because her paintings are amazing and so free, I love that she’s in her prime in her 80s. Liz Johnson Artur’s photography – her images of Notting Hill Carnival are so beautiful & David Hockney – I love his colours and really just everything about his paintings.
What kind of commissions do you enjoy the most?
When I was growing up I thought artists were only like Picasso and had exhibitions in the Tate Modern. I didn’t know that you could actually be an artist, it just seemed so out of reach! So I love working with brands I have admired since childhood. Those jobs make me pinch myself that I can make a living drawing things! I did a window for Nike and realised it was really similar to a drawing I’d done when I was 10 of a Nike advert in a magazine I made.
What would your dream commission be?
Doing some illustrations designs for clothing – ideally Versace or Moschino! I’d also love to paint a design onto a swimming pool like David Hockney’s famous one in LA.
What 5 things could you not live without?
The sea, my iPad where I draw everything, Posca pens, gold, car boots.
What is your very favourite meal?
A roast in the winter, halloumi burger & sweet potato chips in the summer.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Go to car boots. Swim in the sea or the lido. Dancing with friends is something I really miss at the moment.
What is your current dream travel destination?
Literally anywhere with a beach! I am excited to get out of London as soon as possible! I’d love to go back to Trinidad one day too. I went there for the carnival and it was AMAZING.
To see more of Lizzie’s work, click here.