Artist of the Week: Lou Taylor

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If you haven't happened upon Lou Taylor's bonkers brooches yet, let us enlighten you. Lou lives in Brighton and creates illustrations that you can wear, literally. We sat down to chat about vintage tat, Pretty in Pink and not blending into the crowd.

For those who don't know, tell us a bit about who you are and the work you produce.

I create bold, colourful graphic designs that I use to make laser cut jewellery, prints, silk scarves and cushions. I'm very inspired by stylish characters like Iris Apfel, Grayson Perry and Frida Kahlo (and so I make brooches of them!).

What do you love so much about living in Brighton?

I love Brighton as it's got the best of everything - you're close to the sea, the countryside as well as London. I love the North Laine for all its independent shops, and we have loads of incredible pubs and restaurants too. There's definitely a spirit of independence here, it's a very creative and inspiring place to be.

We hear you're also a professor at Brighton Uni. Have your studies into dress history influenced your love of vintage?

Ha ha that's not me! I wish I could call myself a Professor of Dress, but sadly not.

How does creating stuff with your hands differ from digital illustration?

I love what I do as it's the perfect combination of both. The digital part of my design process makes it very quick and easy to create designs but it's the handmade element that makes my work special. Laser cutting jewellery and digital printing of course can make things uniform, but handmade elements such as hand painted details and hand rolling the scarves gives them a personal, unique touch.

Where do you find your daily inspiration?

Everywhere! My best ideas come just as I'm falling asleep.. I think you assimilate everything then your brain makes weird and fantastic connections when you're not thinking about it all directly.

How do you decide which icons you're going to recreate in acrylic form? Frida Kahlo, Vivienne Westwood, Grayson Perry... sounds like our dream dinner party.

My dream dinner party too! I love icons with a twist of independent spirit and style. Someone who leads rather than follows.

How did your collaboration with furniture upholsterer Elizabeth Rose come about? I've been swooning over all the fabrics you designed!

Thank you! I think Liz spotted my Swimmers fabric at my printers. She's local to Brighton so we just went from there.. we both have a love for mid-century furniture and the idea of giving a vintage inspired aesthetic a modern twist.

A little birdie told us that Pretty in Pink is your all time favourite film. What do you love so much about it?

It really is! Films are a great place for inspiration. I think it's my favourite as I'd like to think I'm like Andie (doesn't everyone?!) but I totally would have picked Duckie and not Blaine. ("Blaine?! That's not a name that's a domestic appliance!")

It has the best soundtrack too - which I own on limited edition pink vinyl - woo!

You regularly collaborate with local businesses. How important do you think it is to support your fellow independent crafts men and ladies?

So important. Who wants to dress or accessorise like everyone else? I'd much rather know my money was supporting a small business or independent maker rather than some faceless corporation.

What would your ultimate lazy Sunday consist of?

A lie-in with my husband and cat.. breakfast and a wander to the sea then some vintage tat shops. And as I live in Brighton, probably a roast then a pint in the Hand in Hand (best pub!) then back home for Pretty in Pink.

Check out the rest of Lou's creations on her website or follow her on instagram. Interview by Danielle Morgan.