Tell us about yourself. Who you are, where you live and a
little bit about you and what you do in your spare time.|
My name is Lorrie Whittington. I am a 47 year old mother to four year old daughter Orla, and wife to Luke. We live in a village on the South Coast of the UK just outside Chichester. We have been here for nearly two years now. Though originally I come from the home counties, and was raised in Buckinghamshire, I spent a few years working and living in London, and moved down to the coast in the 1990’s.
What little spare time I have is spent either making art or spending quality time with my daughter and husband. We enjoy being near the sea and the South Downs, and spend quite a lot of time exploring both at the weekends. My daughter loves the beach, whatever the weather and as it’s just up the road we go when we can, collecting pretty and unusual rocks and shells.
What do you make?
I specialise in drawing, painting, creating fibre art, photography and web design. I use tools both traditional and digital; inks, pencil, pastels, paints, embroidery, photography etc. I have a Wacom Intuos digital tablet, though I don't use it nearly enough. I am still a traditional girl at heart and love the feel of the real material under my fingers. Much of the work I produce are illustrations, paintings on small and medium canvas, fibre art appliquéd to canvas, ACEOs and photography.
How & when did you get started designing & making?
From the earliest age I was drawing and painting. I was interested in art almost as soon as I could hold a crayon and every Christmas and Birthday I was given pens, pencils, paints, paper. Also, I learnt to sew at a very young age too, and was taught embroidery by my Grandmother. She had a very old Singer sewing machine. Not electric, you had to turn the handle, and I learnt how to use it when I was a little girl. I loved art and craft, creating shapes, patterns and loved colour.
It was always a given I would go to art school and trained in the early 1980's undertaking a Foundation programme in Art & Design and a Diploma at Amersham College of Art, then studied BA Fashion/Textile Design + Women's Studies at the University of East London, though I dropped out at the end of my second year (however, I am planning to do an MA next year). In the late 90's, and early 2000, I gained an International Diploma in Administrative Management and an HNC in Business Studies. I hold various vocational qualifications and awards.
What venues / websites do you sell from?
I sell privately, as in commission work mostly. I haven't exhibited/sold in a gallery for a long time, though this is about to change. My reluctance has been mainly been due to having had some negative experiences when I was younger, though things have changed a lot since then. Also, I was working and studying for a long time, and then had a baby.
I sell on Etsy, and also have my own shop called Art4Sale which is a secure, Paypal verified ecommerce site run on zen cart. I have a few other shops that feature my work on gifts and products, like Zazzle, Imagekind and Cafepress, though I don't put that much work into them, it’s a time factor.
I market myself through my website, and Blog, Twitter, Facebook and word of mouth. Promoting can be almost a full time job and sadly can take the onus away from the creative aspect, it's hard to strike a balance sometimes.
What / who inspires your work?
My work is mostly abstract in nature and includes many influences from the Baroque, Renaissance and Rococo, to Pop Art. I take my inspiration mostly from nature; sea, countryside, flora and fauna etc. I am very drawn to bold and dynamic colour, form, texture and patterns. I love textile art, Japanese prints and embroidery, eastern weaves, the colour and patterns of the Indus basically.
Also, given my love of history (almost as passionate as my love of art), there are many La Tene Celtic influences in my work. I have no interest in traditional subject matter, like ‘life drawing’ and ‘still life’. I had enough of that at college. I take some inspiration from contemporary art, though am very careful that it is inspiration only. I have seen many artists claim to have been ‘inspired’ by another artists work, but the end product to be downright plagiarism.
What are your plans for Illusio Creative for the next 12 months?
Well, my daughter starts school in September, and as we have a huge mortgage to pay, I am going to have to get a part-time job, and fit my creativity around it, though I am hopeful when we come out of the recession I may be able to generate enough income through my art to concentrate solely on that. However, I will continue to paint and draw, expand my range and technique, explore new mediums and ideas. Also, I would like to do more artist collaborations like the one I did with Polarity from Etsy who featured some of my abstract art on her magnetic lockets.
I plan to do more digital artwork and photography. Also, I have recently invested (at great cost) in an archival printer and will soon (within the next couple of weeks) be introducing a range of quality archival fine art prints featuring my illustrations and paintings (a lot of stuff that hasn't been seen yet), from both my own shop Art4Sale and my Etsy Shop. I am also hoping to start my Masters Degree next year if I can.
What marketing tips do you have for other artists, designers, crafters & makers?
Be true to yourself. In as much as it is important to understand the market and find your niche, don't try and solely tailor your work to what you think will appeal to people, try and strike a balance. If you love what you do, then other’s will love it too. Don't become discouraged, it's a tough hill to climb but worth it. Blog your progress, and Twitter your Blog posts rather than your shop. People get fed up with a barrage of listings and sales. But people like to read Blogs, so put info about new products and ranges in Blog posts.
Also, market locally. Attend/show at local craft fairs, galleries etc, and try and generate a name for yourself in your own area. Times are difficult so it’s easy for artists and crafters to feel defeated by the current climate. But, it won't last forever, so now is a good time to work on new ideas, try out different mediums and be ready...