Louise Hill, Louise Hill Design
A lifetime surrounded by art has empowered Louise Hill to create a business based on her lifelong passion. The subtle influence of a creative family and art centric home led Louise into a creative career working for some of England’s most well known brands and acquiring skills based on traditional core skills, like hand drawing. Nowadays, Louise has crafted a fascinating artistic process that is mostly inspired by the exciting and colourful experiences of living and travelling in Asia. The result… hugely complex and awe-inspiring digital artwork. Here’s an insight into how she does it and what lies ahead for this talented Singapore-based artist.
When did you become interested in art?
I have been surrounded by art and textiles all my life as my parents are both designers so it has always been something I have been very aware of and loved from a young age. There are gorgeous little ‘vignettes’ of art objects beautifully arranged all over my parent’s house!
What was your first art love?
I think my first art love was a stunning book of works by Maxfield Parrish that we had at home, I fell in love with his use of colour and fine detail and could look at the prints for hours.
What is your signature style?
I love to use a vintage style, however, some of my work can be really vibrant and colourful or extremely delicate and meticulously multilayered. I definitely have two sides to my work.
How did it come to about?
I come from a graphic design background and I spent 15 – 20 years as a packaging designer working for companies such as Crabtree & Evelyn, Fortnum & Mason and Whittard in London. I found my ‘niche’ in this kind of illustrative finely detailed style whilst working on wine labels in my early days out of art school. We didn’t use computers in those days so we hand drew all of our typography and sketched out our ideas. This, in turn, has formed the way I work now on the design of my prints.
Can you tell us a bit about your artistic process?
I tend to mix my old skills with my new, I start off by brainstorming and sketching – I love Pinterest for digital mood boards but I would be lost without a sketchbook! Then I start to gather fabrics and props from my collection at home and which I find in markets or buy online, I am always collecting and tend to buy stuff when I see it as I always have future designs in my mind.
I also go out to take photos for the artwork of places, architecture, street furniture, patterns, and scenes or photograph still life compositions at home in my studio. All of these images are then transferred to my computer where I start the process of adjusting each image, cutting them out, changing them around and I often end up with around 200 – 400 images in one digital artwork.
I also illustrate patterns and paint chinoiserie and in turn photograph them to add to the huge multilayered digital artwork. The process takes a long time and is incredibly detailed but I love working in this way – I’m definitely a perfectionist!
What do you do when you get the artist’s equivalent of writer’s block?
I can honestly say I NEVER get it! In fact, I have a bit of a problem with switching it all off, I have to keep a notebook and pencil by my bedside and one in my handbag at all times to write down ideas and make lists…
What are your creative influences?
I love to follow fashion designers and typographers, interior design, pattern and textiles on Instagram, I really love ‘Interiors’ Magazine and Australia’s ‘Vogue Living’ and ‘Zolima’ blog for all cultural and interesting articles on Hong Kong – all of these really inspire me. I love local culture and love to explore the streets for local pattern and colour – there is so much to take inspiration from in Asia.
A great work of art should…
Bring you a feeling of happiness, contentment and something new every time you look at it might bring other kinds of feelings that mean something special to you. You should either feel very comfortable with it or it should challenge your thoughts and perceptions – everyone has different taste, needs and ways of living with art…
What are you currently working on?
I am incredibly busy and have exciting new projects ahead. I have just finished my ‘Hong Kong Neon’ Limited Edition print which I am so incredibly pleased with, my heart skips a beat every time I look at it! I just LOVE it! I flew to HK to take the photos for it and also used photos taken when I lived there. I am passionate about the old iconic neon signs they are so beautifully made and designed – for me, it represents a gorgeous mix of HK cool typography and vintage design. It is so sad that they are slowly disappearing. I was incredibly lucky to capture a couple for my print before they were taken down a week after I photographed them. I would love to be able to go back in time a decade or two and take photos of the original signs – neon and handpainted.
I have also just finished a collaborative project for TAFF (The Fashion & Textile Federation of Singapore) to raise awareness of Singapore based designers. I teamed up with Darsala who create beautifully handcrafted bags and jewellery and added three of my digital artworks to their handheld and clutch bag designs. I love a collaboration and to try out interesting new ways of showing my work.
What’s next for you?
For the next few months I will be busy on my ongoing collaboration with Poon’s restaurant in London and will be designing a new range of smaller prints based on Chinese window shapes – an extension of my larger Limited Edition prints which use Chinese window trellis design as their framework, they will also be Limited Editions that can be collected as sets. I can’t wait to get these new designs underway!