Laura Callaghan: This year I will embrace the trashy, weird and ugly aspects of my work
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It’s Nice That has teamed up with Squarespace to commission four illustrators to create new works that depict their new year’s resolution on a Cover Page. Cover Pages is new product from our friends at Squarespace, which allows you to create a single page website in a hassle-free way, whether it’s for a landing page or you just need something simple. We asked each illustrator to make a creative resolution for 2016 and create a new piece of work inspired by the commitment. Here, we unveil the second Cover Page created by London based illustrator Laura Callaghan.
This year I will embrace the trashy, weird and ugly aspects of my work
“Towards the end of last year I had undertaken a lot of client commissions which were based on previous pieces I’d done – colourful, frothy and fun. When I’m working on commission after commission I think it’s easy to get stuck in a rut style and content wise. This year I hope to move away from the colour palettes and devices I’ve used a lot in the past to make more unexpected, rawer pieces – not necessarily dark or super serious but certainly more twisted, more ‘ugly’. I’m spending the first part of the year working on pieces for a new exhibition so this project was a nice jumping off point.
To create the work I started by collecting some imagery online which I was drawn to, those which had an atmosphere I would like to echo in my own work. From there I wrote down things I associated with this idea of ‘trashy and ugly’, things I would like to draw, as a starting point. I was working on the project in the run up to New Year’s Eve, so parties and adverts for Iceland canapés were everywhere, in the end I decided to go with a sort of ‘after the bacchanal’ theme to portray my resolution. Shedding the glamour of the previous night (or year) and celebrating the trashed and tarnished ruins of what has come before.
Laura Callaghan: This Year I Will, work-in-progress sketches
I filled sketchbook pages with drawings of decadent desserts riddled with cigarette butts, make up smeared across faces, paintings torn and vandalised, half drunk glasses of champagne discarded carelessly this objects formed the basis of the piece. My work is and always will be very character driven so I thought the best approach would be creating an interior composition with a few characters strewn among the ruins of a glamorous party, surrounded by debris of the night before.
I worked up a few very quick thumbnails of potential compositions using 1970s interiors as a reference point and from there it was just a case of adding as much detail and chaos as possible.
A particular challenge was knowing how much is too much as I do put a lot of detail into pieces and it’s difficult to know with illustration for screen. We click past things much quicker online so I wanted to make sure the piece was detailed but still read as an entire image even if it was glanced at quickly. I was also working with a darker colour palette than I would usually choose so had to resist the urge to call on old favourites when it came to colours! In all, I don’t think it’s deviated too wildly from my current work, it’s a stepping stone to developing my style that bit further."
Laura Callaghan is an illustrator living and working in London.
Check out Laura’s Cover Page here!