Want to get involved?

email : papergirlbristol@gmail.com for more information about the submissions address and how you can get involved.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Interview: Lily Reilly

Hello Papergirlers! We've got a treat for you this Sunday; we've asked our very first participant in Papergirl Bristol 2015 to answer a few questions about her professional practice as an artist. So without further ado, we give you Lily Reilly from Cork, Ireland. Check out her blog here: petaltopetal.blogspot.co.uk

Why do you do what you do?

When I finished school I wasn't sure what I wanted to do so I took a year out- which turned into two years out. I have always been creative but during that time I started drawing and developing my own style in my free time and just loved it. I then met my husband and we both applied to study design together. We both got in and when we graduated he became a graphic designer and I went on to train as a teacher. At this point I was doing my own artwork in my spare time and was getting commissions. Shops were starting to stock my greeting cards and I thought that it was such an interesting area to work in, why not give it a go and see if I can survive! We moved to Berlin for two years and I worked at a fantastic stationery store which just made me realize what area I wanted to work in even more. When we moved back home to Ireland last year I set up a studio in our home and I run my little business from there. I come across different challenges almost every day and it isn't easy- if not working from home and for yourself can be harder sometimes as you have to be very self motivated and push yourself. Some of my friends don't understand why I don't just pick a 9-5 job and leave my work at the door when I get home (I can work until 10pm at night and almost always work 7 days a week so it's not very sociable!) but I don't do this for money, I do this because I love it!  There is something fantastic about working towards my own dream and not somebody else's. I have made much more money working for other people in the past, but at the end of the day happiness and a higher quality of living are more important to me. 

What’s your creative background?

I studied Design Communication and then trained as an Art and Design teacher at Crawford College of Art and Design in Cork City. People often see that I studied at the Crawford and start talking to me about illustration courses but in relation to what I do with my own artwork I am self-taught. When it comes to the application part of my designs, photography, branding and those aspects of the business I learnt that when studying design. 

What's been your most influential experience?

Probably going to Rob Ryan's shop 'Ryantown' in Shoreditch and seeing all the wonderful ways that he has applied his designs to different products. The ceramic tile murals of his papercut designs in the shop are amazing! 

What art do you most identify with?

I love detailed work. As my own work is so time consuming I really appreciate the work that is skillfull and detailed and that a lot of effort has gone into. I also love work from the Arts and Craft Movement, and the whole ethos behind it- although it isn't always attainable, I feel that it is right. 

What’s your favourite piece of art?

That's an almost impossible question as I have so many! My husband and I have a lot of art in our home and one of our favourite pieces was a wedding gift from my Mother in Law (who is a traditional artist that trained at the Crawford College). It's an original chalk pastel piece of one of the Skellig Islands off Co. Kerry and it's so photo- realistic. People often think it is a photograph until they get up close and are blown away. 

What kind of research do you do for your work?

I work on every part of the business myself so sometimes I can spend a lot of time researching. I need to find out things like the best companies to order prints and supplies from. Some shops here will only stock work that is printed in Ireland and that can be quite a challenge as quality and cost are both important factors. A lot of people don't realise that each order costs a lot of money and is a big investment so I have to do a lot of planning before I get any new products made. 

What is your dream project?

I have a weakness for stationery so I would love to collaborate with a greeting cards company on a range of notelets or something like that. I would also love to collaborate with a clothing or accessories company. My list of dream projects is endless!

Professionally, what’s your goal?

I would love to collaborate with a company like Wild & Wolf, where the standard of quality is very high and designers can be part of the process. I have licensed my designs to different companies in the past and have been horrified by the experience so I decided to never license again unless it is with a very established company that creates very high quality products. Choosing to be an artist can often mean that you have a lot less money and feel pressured into making money from all the companies that contact you with blanket emails looking to license your designs. However, designers seem to forget that the products that these companies are making are representing them as artists. Why be associated with something poorly executed and low quality when you could have your work printed on beautiful high quality products? I'm not against mass production, collaborations just need to be done the right way and when they are they can really open doors for independent designers. I hope to always stay true to what I believe in as I have seen some brilliant designers really sell out. They end up with a lot of money in the bank but the products that are out there with their name on are misprinted and faulty and I don't think that is a great legacy to leave behind. Everything is online now and in the future, when I am old and can't pick up a pen to draw, my children (and hopefully Grandchildren!) will be able to look back at my life and what I have achieved, how I answered questions in interviews and what I believed in. I hope that they will be proud of me. 

Look out for more interviews with our artists in the future. If you feel like you really want to be interviewed, or want to send your work to be included in the project then please get in touch: papergirlbristol@gmail.com

1 comment:

  1. Lily sounds like a highly principled and honest girl and I really admire her approach to art and business. I looked at her artwork and it is lovely. I wish her success in achieving what she hopes for.