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Regulars / Review of the Year 2015

Review of the Year 2015: illustrator Hattie Stewart

In the fifth interview for review of the year we speak to Hattie Stewart about gut instinct and where she looked to for inspiration in 2015

Illustrator Hattie Stewart has been doodling all over It’s Nice That for years, we’ve featured Hattie’s work, her outfit and her taking on a test track whilst being interviewed. This year has been another great one, with three solo shows at House of Illustration, KK Outlet and Brighton’s No Walls gallery under her belt, as well as a recent commission from Stylist to illustrate their entire Christmas issue, cover to cover.

Since graduating from Kingston in 2010 she has doodle-bombed magazine covers, clothes and animations, played with scale, detail and movement, and developed her references and visual language whilst working with Adidas, Interview , Rookie and Marc by Marc Jacobs among many others. In our interview for the Review of the Year, she pinpoints maintaining a balance of personal and commercial work, trusting your gut instinct and making time for yourself, your family and friends as markers for a good creative year.

Hattie asserts herself as her own worst critic, and that, alongside her immense drive and incredible rates of production has set her up to succeed. If this year is anything to go by, she is sure to do more than just alright. Here, she answers some questions about a busy but balanced 12 months.

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Hattie Stewart: House of Illustration

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Hattie Stewart: Hello-cheeky

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What was your creative highlight of 2015?

I was recently invited by Stylist to illustrate their entire Christmas issue cover to cover. I feel really lucky to have had the opportunity to work on this scale, especially since it relates to my work so perfectly. To go from doodle-bombing front covers to taking on a whole issue has been a great creative challenge. The beauty feature was particularly exciting; it’s a concept I’ve wanted to do for a while and its opened up new directions for my work.

What was your lowlight of 2015?

Creatively, I wouldn’t necessarily highlight a lowlight of 2015. Inevitably there are times when you feel something didn’t go as planned or you get some critique that doesn’t sit right. I have a lot of support for my work now, which is an incredible feeling. I’m also my own worst critic, but I use that to motivate myself to make better work which can then spark a highlight.

What do you think are the markers of a good year creatively?

Essentially, you want to look back on the year and be proud of what you’ve achieved. It’s important to have a balance between commercial and personal work, as naturally one feeds the other. And if you can make the ideas in your head a reality as well as take time out for yourself and spend time with friends and family, I think you’ve got the markers of a pretty good year!

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Hattie Stewart

Which piece of work from the last year has been your favourite to work on?

It’s been a really exciting year for me, I’ve had three solo shows, each with a different focus which meant I could concentrate on different elements of my work. The show at House of Illustration meant working on a totally new scale, which was a challenge and one I got a lot from. I could freely paint, create and explore new ideas, and funnily enough my most recent show was then a series of 100 much smaller pieces all in one scale.

Which piece of work from the last year do you feel has been most significant to your portfolio/career?

My first solo show of the year at KK Outlet, Doll House. It gave me the chance to bring together elements of my work from 2014 with new ideas in a curated space and a lot of my work since has sprung from that show. It’s always a bit nerve-wracking taking time out from commercial projects to develop personal work but I feel it is a lot stronger for it.

How has your work evolved over the last 12 months?

I’ve had three solo shows this year which have each sparked change in my work. I’ve also worked on my first book, which will be published in the new year. Every project has influenced the other and I’m lucky to have had the time to explore each in their own right. I’d say my focus this year has been playing with scale, detail and where I apply my work.

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Hattie Stewart: House of Illustration

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Hattie Stewart: Hello-cheeky

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What’s been the most important thing you’ve learnt in the last year?

I wanted to focus on personal work this year, which inevitably meant taking a step back from commercial projects. I’ve learnt more than ever to trust that gut feeling, and I think that my solo shows alongside working with Stylist has opened up the floodgates of what I can do and the creative options available to me. Working with Stylist I had the chance to bounce off ideas with a big team rather than working in isolation at my studio, as I do when conceptualising my personal projects. It was a great balance and a super nice learning curve!

Who has been the most influential creative for you in the last year?

Oh my… There are many! One of my favourite things to do is read about artists who have come before me. But a marker from this year was visiting the Sonia Delaunay exhibition at the Tate Modern. I had wanted to focus on smaller details within my work for a while and the Delaunay show helped me to decide that that should be the theme for my show at the No Walls Gallery in Brighton.

Describe 2015 in five words.

It went alright, it did.

What are your hopes for 2016?

To carry on creating!

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Hattie Stewart

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