Lockdown Art | Suzanne Washington
last updated 14 August 2020
For Suzanne Washington, the UK Covid lockdown was an opportunity for her to experiment with developing her style. Like many people, Suzanne found the lockdown a time of intense creativity. We caught up with Suzanne to find out how her art has changed and what about lockdown helped her find her style.
How has the lockdown has affected your art style?
I feel I have been a lot more free with my work during this time by reacting to how I am feeling or what I am thinking about, rather than trying to think what people might want to see from me I feel I have been more true to my authentic self and style. I’ve loved exploring my natural style, which is very quirky and doodle-like! But also quite decorative, as I love to add extra details that could possibly be a finish such as foil. I am a trained textile designer so elements of embroidery and pattern always creep into my work. I tend to be more of a maximalist so I try to cram as much into a piece as possible.
What have you been working on during the lockdown?
I have been working on really punchy, fun, tongue-in-cheek doodle-style pieces with my illustration portfolio. I think a lot of people took the opportunity of lockdown to get creative, and I just felt the need to create everyday. I have re-discovered my love for crafts and have dusted off my sewing machine and acrylic paints and pulled out all of those ‘rainy day’ projects that you never get round to doing. I have done some decorating too as I love styling my home and I love crafting things to give my home a personal touch. Anything from yarn wall hangings, acrylic painting to clay! It’s really been a wonderful creative time for me and I have had a lot of fun playing around!
“I feel that creativity is contagious and if you do a little something it starts to snowball…”
Tell us about your working routine and set up during lockdown.
I always work from home anyway, so this is no change for me. I am so lucky that I have my own room as a studio. My process is super simple; I doodle ideas in my sketchbook whenever they come to me, and then I sit down with an audio book on and render my icons by hand, drawing with simple black ink on paper. I have always worked this way because I studied printed textiles and we had to produce clean, crisp black art to translate to silk screens. I then scan these in and vectorize in Adobe Illustrator, then collage my piece together before exporting to Adobe Photoshop to add in texture and final details. Sometimes I’ll hand-paint elements in watercolour as well.
What’s inspired you most during the lockdown?
I’ve been watching a lot of video tutorials online; anything from cooking to upcycling and DIY projects, and also I am lucky to have a little garden so I can get out and enjoy the sun and fresh air. I really felt for people who didn’t have this, so I was very grateful. I plant a lot of wild flowers so we have a lot of birds, bees and bugs to watch!
Have you ever suffered from creative block, and if so, how did you get through it?
I have in the past and I used to really struggle with it. It still gets me frustrated when a piece isn’t ‘happening’ and I can’t get into creative flow. But I think that there is no fighting it, you can either take a break and do something else like gardening (something physical to give your mind a rest) or do something creative that is just for fun! I feel that creativity is contagious and if you do a little something it starts to snowball. For example I love to style my home and pottering around styling a corner or a ‘shelfie’ is both creative and mindful. I find while I am doing something like this the cogs get oiled and things start to flow again!
What advice would you give to artists who are struggling to find their style?
Keep drawing, keep exploring, developing, experimenting and learning! Something I am only just starting to realise is that you have to do you. Just create what inspires you and try not to worry what anyone else is doing!
What would be your dream project to work on or client to work with?
I have always wanted to create some kind of oracle deck. I love tarot cards and have a few decks purely for the artistry, but I would love to work closely with an author or motivational speaker maybe to create an inspiring divination deck. My new work is really punchy and different so I’d also love to see it large-scale somewhere it could really make an impact such as a hotel or restaurant!
Follow Suzanne on Instagram here.