A catch up with the illustrator known for her hilarious ceramics dogs: Naomi Anderson-Subryan
One of It's Nice That's The Graduates 2019, Naomi tells us how she's adjusted to life after art school and how she's kept motivated in the midst of a pandemic.
- Jyni Ong
- 24 June 2020
It’s been a fruitful past year for Naomi Anderson-Subryan, one of last year’s It’s Nice That Graduates. After graduating from Camberwell College of Arts with a degree in illustration, the London-based artist received “a few really exciting commissions” including one for Nike London which, Naomi tells us, “was super surreal. I never dreamed that I’d be approached to soon after graduating to do something like that.” After that however, and as a freelance career dictates, things went a bit quiet, and like many a graduate, she found herself feeling a bit lost.
“The period after graduating is a really strange time and the transition from student to graduate is almost immediate, it happens overnight. No matter how much you plan or prepare yourself for what it might be like, it’s a real adjustment,” Naomi tells us. With this in mind, it was important for the illustrator to understand her practice outside of the establishment. She made as much work as possible, even if it was just for herself, pushing investigations she’d begun at university at the same time.
Last year, when we first covered Naomi’s work as one of our Grads, we fell in love with the characterful ceramics she’d been crafting all year round. Luckily for us, it’s a process she’s continued since graduating, making mainly one-off pieces which are then fired near her place. She’s also hoping to release a range of her lovable dogs some time soon (we know you all want one). Elsewhere, she’s been working a lot on collages – a process that’s always been important to her practice and lends itself well to working from home. “There is something transformative about the process of working with paper in this way,” she adds. “Collage is such a tactile process, you can’t help but feel super connected to the image when you spend so much time cutting out and carefully placing each piece.”
Putting pen to paper can be daunting at times for Naomi, instead, she finds it easier to visualise her compositions as collages. In fact, many of her ceramics started out as collages; a way for the illustrator to work out ideas. Similar to her ceramics, Naomi’s collages are soaked in personality rich narratives. While her ceramics are based on objects she’d love to own, her collages are about TV shows and films she likes to watch. Depicting atmospheres and characters that are familiar on one hand, she also finds ways to exaggerate and reinterpret. “I always like to put a Naomi spin on things!” she adds to that effect. “It’s interesting to see how far you can push something but still remain recognisable.”
In the past year, she’s developed more confidence and motivation by setting herself briefs based on the work she knows is fulfilling. It’s something that’s come a long way since the start of her degree, having struggled with the idea of complete freedom at the start. But now, she has countless ideas for things she wants to make, predominantly informed by her dissertation topic and constant source of interest, kitsch and taste. “I think being able to stay focused and set yourself briefs ultimately makes it easier to bring that to other briefs set by someone else,” Naomi continues.
Though it’s been hard at time to stay motivated during lockdown (especially without access to her studio), Naomi’s collages have provided a way for her to maintain steady levels of creativity day-by-day. Tackling the medium every day which was “partly a conscious decision but also a necessity to stay creative,” it’s been a slight comfort away from the hub of her studio and ceramics equipment. She was working towards a show at the beginning of this year, and while this has been postponed for obvious reasons, Naomi’s keen to make it happen next year. Without a doubt the exhibition will be a masterful showcase of character and narrative across ceramics, collages and more. So without further ado, please enjoy Naomi’s wonderful collages that she’s been working on recently, and stay tuned to see what else Naomi comes up with throughout her colourful portfolio of works.
About the Author
Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor.