Studio Tours: Rosy Nicholas
After teaming up with her to design the set, props and accessories for our latest Garfield lookbook, today we wanted to let you know a bit more about illustrator, shoe designer and expert paper maker Rosy Nicholas. Previously working on projects for the likes of Nike, Fred Butler and Selfridges and with solo exhibitions under her belt, Rosy spends her time hand making elaborate pieces using modest materials inspired by ancient Egypt, art deco and growing up in the eighties. We visited Rosy's rainbow coloured, fake flower filled studio in the heart of East London's Hackney to chat wild cats, life as a freelancer and her love affair with paper. âââââââââââ How would you describe your studio space and how does it influence the way that you work?Â It's in an old framers business on the Hackney Road that's still running and rents out the top floors to weird East London creatives like me. Downstairs is a nice mix ofÂ pervy old men, ladies with spectacled noses and O.A.P Nigerian doormen with an unpredictable aggressive affection that makes me feel at home. It's a great building and there is A LOT of wood veneer around it so its quite Twin Peaks at night.Â Up in my studio space are a whole family that I couldn't live without; I get lonely as a freelancer so having people I love around me daily is soÂ important to me. WeÂ work, play and cry together and it feels a bit like a weird play school with all my props and junk scattered around. Everyone is very talented in their own field and there are the right amount of coconuts to keep it fun. You have worked closely with a lot of clothing labels over the years, would you say that fashion has a big influence on your work?Â Yes it definitely has, of course I love fashion and dressing up, my taste has always leant towards the opulent, glamorous and more-is-more type of world which I think shows in my work. For me everything crosses over though, I take an equal interest in film, music and art as I do in fashion, it's all visual stimulation and excites me. It's my job to care about how everything looks, not just fashion. We love that you make everything by hand, what are the pros and cons to working this way? Â The pros are that I really enjoy my days at work because it's just me getting to make things and play without it really feeling like a proper job. The cons are that it limits me in terms of scale as I can't really make anything too massive by hand in my little studio but mostly it means that everything takes me BLOODY AGES. I just have to be confident that my work has a quality about it that can only be gained by a lot of time and love and hope that's what people will appreciate about it. What is your favourite material to work with?Â I got into this jobÂ because I was a child who loved craft and making so all my fave materials are still cheap and from that sort of world. It's probably card and paper; easily available, cheap and versatile - you can make both very delicate elegant things and alsoÂ construct it intoÂ strongÂ geometric shapes. Then you can paint it/spray it/GLITTER it (second fave choice). It's hardy and up for it and has become a great friend over the years. We're obsessed with your paper elephant and leopard creations, what is your favourite animal?Â I definitely have a weakness for a big cat; tigers and leopards are hard to beat for excellent patterns, elegance and sex appeal. The killer whale is also pretty flawless; they're monochrome, slick and stylish. I've been a bit obsessed with them since I watched Blackfish on telly. Have you encountered any challenges working as a freelancer?Â Just the usual onesÂ you'd hear from every freelancer; waiting months to get paid, havingÂ only yourself to rely on, no sick days/holidays and constantly pooping yourself when a job ends and youÂ haven't got a next one booked in yet. However,Â I'm the boss and I get to go to the cinema alone in the day when I want and I wouldn't change that for the world. What advice would you give to graduates who are looking to embark on a career in the creative industry?Â Work hard, don't be a jerk and tell people when you like them. Interning, assisting and making friends with people I admired has been vital to my career, I've learnt so much and almost everyone I worked forÂ initially for free ended upÂ employing me properly because I made sure I was useful and nice to be around, andÂ actually lots of those people remain my clients even today including Oaf! What piece of work are you most proud of to date? I'm feeling soppy soÂ I'm going to say all my work with Fred Butler is very close to my heart. I've madeÂ accessoriesÂ andÂ shoes for about 6 of her collections now and she has become one of my best friends in the process. She taught me so much about making and always encouraged me that I could create things for fashion even though I'd never trained in it. Everything we make together is about fun and dressing up andÂ I'm certain she is someone I was destined to meet. Similarly, this was my first look book set ever andÂ I'm so pleased with how it came out! I don't doubt that it was partly due to the history and affection I have for the Lazy Oaf team so, shout out to working with your best friends and smashing it. I think collaboration is so important and also maximises jokes in the workplace, these are always welcome. Who's your pin up of the season? I'm dating a doctor at the moment and he comes home wearing SCRUBSÂ soÂ my eyeballs can't handle anymore fitness this season. Thank you Jesus. What does the future hold for Rosy Nicholas? Â More shoes, textiles, wallpaper, anÂ exhibitionÂ of paper mache, a shop full of vases, costumes for stage, and hopefully more stuff with Lazy Oaf. Love you guuyyyyysss (and we love you too). âââââââââââ Read more about Rosy's affection for Garfield and the concept behind our lookbook in her interview in issue 3 of our magazineÂ and see more of her work over atÂ www.rosynicholas.com.Â You can chat to Rosy on TwitterÂ and see her latest projects, favourite things and personal style over on herÂ Instagram. You can also try to win one of Rosy's original pieces of artwork alongside our very own Gemma Shiel as part of Beach London's ARTCADE exhibition running at their Cheshire Street gallery in London until 29th June.