1. What’s your story? Where are you from?
I am Lee Foster-Wilson and I am an artist, illustrator and maker of shiny things from Cornwall, UK. I live with my husband and two small children in the middle of the countryside, close to the coast. I have a studio here and spend half my day being a mama and half my day running my business! I started Bonbi Forest 12 years ago after finishing my Fine Art degree in Brighton and it has taken many guises over that time…from hand printing limited edition band merchandise to selling the work of other independent makers. These days I focus solely on my own work and alongside illustration, I also make jewellery and pins, hand printed scarves, art prints and cards…I also have my first book, Creative Marker Art and Beyond, coming out this September!
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.
My work focusses on motifs from nature, lots of brightly coloured florals and animals. I love to use limited colour palettes and keep my line hand drawn and slightly on the naive, playful side.
3. What is your favourite medium and why?
I mostly use marker pens of all kinds to make my artwork but I also paint digitally with specialist natural art brushes.
4. What is your artistic process like?
I mostly start with a colour palette and something in mind that I would like to draw and go from there. I don’t tend to sketch much, I just like to go for it!
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?
I am greatly inspired by the natural world and our relationship to it, how we place our human values onto animals and mother nature. Nature just does it’s thing no matter what, we are constantly trying to control it, yet unchecked it forges on…Tree roots breaking paving slabs, weeds growing in hostile places, millions of insects living in even the most tickety boo of gardens and wild animals, despite man’s best efforts, still going through the yearly life cycles. I find that inspiring and like to use slogans that reflect that in my work too!
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?
Aside from my family and children, art is my life! I get a bit weird and antsy if I haven’t had the chance to create for a few days…it’s kind of just part of who I am. I find I am constantly looking out for interesting things to draw and photograph…I mean, who doesn’t need 2000 photographs of leaf shapes and rows of jars full of stuff found on the beach?!
7. Where did you study?
I studied Fine Art Painting at the University of Brighton. It probably wasn’t entirely the right course for me but I had a blast, made some incredible friends and it taught me how to be very self-motivated!
8. Where do you see yourself in five years?
I love to make things for a living but I have been doing more illustration and surface design recently which I really want to do even more of…
9. What about in ten?
If there is still a demand for my work and I am still drawing daily and making a living from it I will be one very happy lady!
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?
I want it to add to the colour and delight in the lives of people who like it, make them smile and hopefully inspire them to live their best life…
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?
Anything with a pescatarian vibe, especially if it is asian cuisine!
12. Favourite book?
I have so many, this is really hard to choose…I recently read ‘What I loved’ by Siri Hustvedt…I enjoyed that immensely.
13. Favourite genre of music?
This is really hard too, my taste is so mixed! At the moment I am listening to a lot of female led music…I guess it’s just where I am at right now but I am currently listening to the likes of Christine and the Queens, Haim, Bat For Lashes, Maggie Rogers etc, a lot. I am also really looking forward to the next album by The National. Not female I know but a favourite of mine…
14. What are your hobbies?
When I am not working and drawing I’ll be hanging out with my children…we can quite often be found on any of the numerous beaches we live so close to. I love to beach comb (sea glass nerd alert!) and I also occasionally get to saddle up and go for a horse ride. Before children, dressage was my main passion alongside art so I like to get a whiff of horse and make sure I can still ride a few times a month!
15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
It’s not something I’ve ever really considered but I guess it would probably be something to do with horses…