Featured Artist Interview: Elly Maddock
Elly Maddock is a 20 year old Surface Design student and screen printer from London. We fell in love with her highly graphic designs, filled with bold black lines and bright, contrasting colors. Her style is uniquely illustrated and reminiscent of The Memphis Group, pop art, and cartoon graphics.
PB: Please give a background on your work and style.
EM: From as far back as I can remember I’ve always drawn patterns. From a young age my parents used to say that I’d end up being a pattern designer. After an attempt to rebel against this idea by an exploration of photography and graphics, I’ve wound up designing patterns. I guess “mum knows best”!
I think my design style may well have been the result of my short attention span, which resulted in the style of my drawing becoming very graphic and simple. Over the years I’ve developed this style and now fully embrace my wonky perspective and the fact that when I draw humans they generally look like aliens.
PB: What made you want to pursue surface design through school?
EM: I didn’t actually know Surface Design was a course up until right before the deadline to apply for university. I really enjoyed screenprinting at college, but it seemed that all the courses where I could pursue this were textile design courses, which involve stuff like weaving. I hate weaving. So, when I discovered the Surface Design course at London College of Communication I knew that’s where I had to be.
PB: What keeps you focused on similar motifs? Do you follow much trend, or is it personal inspiration?
EM: I seem to be a natural pattern maker. Even though I do love drawing, I’ll always scan them into Photoshop to see if they work as a repeat.
I don’t intentionally follow trends, and I honestly wouldn’t know how to set about doing that properly. I’ve been a Tumblr user and avid blog hunter for many years now and it’s impossible to avoid trends. So as the work that I’m inspired by is constantly changes, it’s only natural that my work will change too.
PB: How do you see your designs being applied in the future?
EM: When I close my eyes and imagine where I want my designs to be, I see them everywhere: on ceilings, floors, furniture, clothes, accessories, plant pots, credit card machines, man hole covers, and so on. I love practical things that are beautiful too. I basically want a creative empire… Elly’s Empire doesn’t sound too shabby!
PB: How do you see screen printing moving into a future that is so digitally focused? Are all of your designs inspired by how they will work with the screens and ink?
EM: I don’t fear for the future of screen printing. Not only are there hundreds of people in the world like me who love screenprinting, there are also hundreds of people who love the aesthetics of it. There will always be a demand for screenprinted items as the quality of the print is in its own league.
I’m lucky in that my designs naturally lend themselves to the method of screenprinting so I don’t have to change them much to turn them into prints. Generally all that’s needed is a little bit of separation work and they’re good to go.
PB: How do you want to use your motifs in the future?
EM: I really look forward to developing the style of work I do currently. My final major project starts this February. I’ll have five months to create a collection of designs, which will then be transferred onto many different surfaces for my final pieces. I’m going to try and make “Elly’s Empire” for our end of year exhibition in June.
PB: How has using Tumblr helped promote your work, connect you with other artists, and inspire you?
EM: My work was featured twice on Tumblr radar and it really helped my blog. Without the feature, my blog wouldn’t be anywhere near what it is today. When I see people appreciate my work, it really motivates me to create more. From a following, I’ve been able to discover some really interesting and visually yummy blogs, which lead me to a constant stream of creative inspiration on my news feeds every day.
PB: Who are some artists and designers you’re inspired by?
EM: My all time favorites are the Memphis Group. I’m so ridiculously in love with the work they created, in particular the work by their main pattern designer Nathalie Du Pasquier. Her patterns are refreshingly unique.
More recently I’ve been inspired by an artist named Luke Pelletier. His use of color and illustration combined with what is clearly raw creative talent results in some amazing work. He actually just released a book, which is a visual sensation.
PB: What are some of the color palettes you can’t stop using?
EM: I wouldn’t say I have a color palette because no colors seem to be off limits to me. Although I do generally veer towards bright and bold shades. I do love to clash elements and I will throw in the occasional dark one just for a bit of contrast.
PB: What are your future plans as a Surface Designer?
EM: Ohhh, the dreamy future plan is to create my own business. I want to buy a van and get all George Clarke on that small space and turn it into an amazing mobile print studio. The studio would then enable me to go around to festivals and events as a stall to sell my products and designs, with the added edge of being able to hold print workshops.
Of course this all depends on whether or not I pass my driving test and whether or not my money tree sprouts leaves!