When you stop to look at Esme Lower’s illustrations, her love for the inordinate is clear. And at a closer look, her knack for musicality and playfulness can be found within her characters’ unique proportions. Currently living in Bristol, where she also studied, her artistic style initially “gravitated towards realism”, she tells us. “It’s the style I carried over to my digital illustrations during my university years. At the time, self-doubt and mental health battles prevented me from venturing beyond my comfort zone”. Last year, however, she started embracing mural design after joining a collective in Bristol, which gave her the confidence to explore an array of styles and larger works accessible to the public. And now, she creates larger-than-life illustrations where women characters are placed at fore.
From graffiti to posters, Bristol is a city brimming with street art. So naturally, this has gone on to inform much of Esme’s influences. “I get to see Rowdy and Hazard One during my daily bike rides to work,” she tells us. With a style that is constantly changing due to her experimentation with proportion and “bold feminist characters”, she is in the business of embracing “happy accidents”. And having a path that she believes has seen a strong correlation between her mental health and her ability to create, Esme is adamant on fuelling creativity and play into her life at every turn, from the city and the people to her characters.
Esme Lower: The Bottle (Copyright © Esme Lower, 2020)
About the Author
Yaya (they/them) joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in June 2023 and became a staff writer in November of the same year. With a particular interest in Black visual culture, they have previously written for publications such as WePresent, alongside work as a researcher and facilitator for Barbican and Dulwich Picture Gallery.