Floating around the restaurant with an enviable aura of calm, Laura never seemed repressed by the sometimes stiflingly misogynistic atmosphere of our work place half a decade ago. After her smile, I first noticed her tattoos- a tall ship, mermaids and an intricately twined circle on her back. Getting to know her a little better, I learnt she designed them herself. I've been in awe ever since and could not be more excited to introduce you. This is Laura Wilson.
Were you artistic as a child? How did you get into illustration?
I wanted to be an artist from a really early age! Art was my favourite subject at school from when I was very young, and it was something I’d spend hours each evening doing. I drew an awful lot of mermaids! I had a few years during my teens when I gave into the ‘art isn’t a viable career option’ rhetoric that sensible adults were telling me, but eventually I decided that following my passion was worth not being as financially stable as I might be if I chose a different career path!
How would you describe your style?
I find this a really tricky question to answer. I guess I could say that my illustration style is stylised realism? I’ve been influenced by graphic novels and manga over the years but my style is evolving constantly. Recently I’ve started using a lot more colour in my work, which is something I avoided like the plague before!
Where do you find your main sources of inspiration?
Fashion, art, music, feminism and life! At the moment I am really trying to focus my art on showing modern femininity as I experience it as a young woman, and pushing body positivity and inclusiveness within fashion illustration.
At what point did you begin to identify yourself as a feminist? Why do you think it’s important?
I guess I started really thinking about it and thinking about my place within the world when I was about 18 or 19; before then it just hadn’t occurred to me. Leaving my sheltered home life and going out into the world and fending for myself as a young woman really made me notice how pervasive patriarchal values and systems are within our society. I’m an extremely privileged woman; I was born white in a first world country, into a middle class family. Even for me there are obvious inequalities with how women and men are treated. For those women less privileged than me, the inequalities are vastly more pronounced. I think it’s important also to stress that these inequalities harm both men and women, as well as people who fall outside of the gender binary. Achieving true equality benefits everybody.
Who are your influences or idols in the art world?
Haha too many to list, but a few are Natalia Pierandrei, Martine Johanna, and Yelena Bryksenkova.
How about in the real world?!
I have to say I think Nicki Minaj is pretty amazing and seems to be a really caring and strong role model for her young fans!
Where can we find more of your work?
My website is lwilson-illustration.co.uk, and I also do monthly illustrations for online
feminist magazine Bitchtopia.com! I'll also be exhibiting in London in July.
If you'd like to see Laura's work in person, you can check out SHE, an event focusing on femininity, identity and issues faced by women in this country and abroad. You can find it on 47/49 Tanner Street, five minutes walk from the South Bank and Tower Bridge, on the 30th and 31st of July. You can find more information at www.wearesweetart.com
Thank-you again for taking the time to answer my questions Laura. I have one last question- can we still be friends when you’re famous???
Only if you let me come stay in your van for a night :)
Come meet us on the road Laura!
For a little topical ranting from me try...
International Women's Day- Why is Feminism still a dirty word?
Other artists you might like...
- An interview with artist Olivier Leger.
- Artist Louis Masai on the environment, music and travel.
- D7606 on street art.