Amy Higgins is a Fine Artist & illustrator based in Belfast. She studied painting for 3 years and then did a masters in Fine Art, and realising she has a passion for illustration.
We got a chance to talk to her about her creative journey and what inspires her.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to set up your
I am not a business, per say, but I do tend to try and sell artwork and collaborate with people as much as possible. I have a real passion for illustration and design. I studied painting for 3 years and then went on to do a masters in fine art. Painting is my first love, and art in general is what makes me happy so illustration has always been there in the background, like a comfort blanket. Only recently have I begun to realise it’s something I could make into a career. I love making and creating; sharing my artwork with people is a very rewarding feeling that gives you a unique sense of self.
What/who influences/motivates you?
I take inspiration from so many different things; textiles, architecture, interior design, a particular colour, a feeling, a book… the list goes on! As a painter I’ve always contextualised my art practice with readings around various theories, cinema and other artworks whereas illustration is a completely different ball game, I could pick up a pen and draw anything in a very particular aesthetic and it would immediately be one of “mine”. I take inspiration from anything and everything that interests me, it’s kind of like a pictorial journal, or a notation of the world around me.
What has been your biggest hurdle and your proudest moment or accomplishment with your business?
My biggest hurdle would definitely be realising the fact that illustration is a way forward, on a personal level, and a step to the future. It’s something I have only just discovered can be a pathway to so many prosperous future realities; sociable, personal and of course, vocational. I’ve realised how to get there is to keep the energy and fun about the work and to keep pushing forward and reaching out to people, to keep asking people who you admire for advice and having the buoyancy to email professionals and be completely transparent.
My proudest moment, to others, would be on the small scale, but I’m only starting out so I would have to say doing craft fairs and selling work – chatting to people about my inspirations and others wanting to understand my thoughts and processes definitely makes me feel proud. It gives me the courage to continue.
Who is your design hero?
I have so many cool people on my Instagram at the minute that I worship for illustration and design, my favourite I think has to be Lily Windsor Walker who creates floral designs with a really lovely colour palette. I really enjoy the work of Margaret Jeane in a design sense who is a painter but has a real illustrative side and intricacy to her work. In my own illustrations I obviously have a lot of techniques I would employ when I’m painting so that’s always an influence in my style, as well as many contemporary, and even historical, painters.
There is an art project based in England for the artistic talents of adults with learning difficulties, the collaborative work is amazing, it’s so kitsch, colourful and fun, something I strive for in my own work.
What are your future ambitions for your business?
I want to keep moving forward with my work, pushing boundaries and reaching out to people. Chatting to people about ideas around potential products and designs are a process that I intend to continue. I would love to set up a shopping page on my website for prints, illustrations and drawings as well as maybe some merchandise; I love a cute tote bag with a kooky design, so maybe that could be the one. I love making greeting cards too, so I’m looking in to supplying cards to stores like Paperchase and Oliver Bonas, my two favourite shops.
Could you give some advice for any young, emerging design entrepreneurs?
I’m not at the top of my game yet but would definitely advise emerging design entrepreneurs to keep going, keep making work and try to collaborate with as many people as possible. Ask for advice, have integrity, be open, and always, always have your sketchbook with you!