1. What’s your story? Where are you from?
My name is Ella Smith, I’m a 19-year-old Graphic Design student at Norwich University of the Arts (England) and about to start my second year of study. I’ve been brought up within a creative family, so I’ve been drawing and painting for as long as I can remember! I started getting interested in the graphic arts in my early teens, first being heavily inspired by Pop Art, Bauhaus and Swiss-International Design which then developed into an interest in packaging and branding.
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.
Possibly the main thing I am passionate about is keeping things simple. I never like to overcomplicate things unless it is intended for a specific purpose. I absolutely love colour and try to use a diverse colour palette, but limit it to 3 or 4 within each piece.
3. What is your favourite medium and why?
I like to work with a mixture of mediums. In recent years I love to work with drawing patterns and illustrations with a fineliner pen, then scanning them in and developing them digitally. I also like to have more of a structure by working with an isometric grid using harsh colour balances (as shown with the Rio series of illustrations). Furthermore, one thing I am truly passionate about is print – in a world that is increasingly becoming digital, I love to refer back to a printed form. The smell, feel and look is something that will always treasure, instead of viewing everything on a screen. I also really enjoy referring back to old-school techniques with lino cutting and screen printing.
4. What is your artistic process like?
I always start with researching the topic area by looking at imagery and digging deep into the etymological meaning, which gives me a strong starting point when it comes to sketching. This is a vital stage as all of your ideas will stem from a pencil and a piece of paper. Once I’m happy with the composition, it is then ready for development.
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?
I like to take inspiration from anything and everything, man-made or natural. Seeing some current design/illustration work on social media, a summer holiday or even a recent trip to the cinema can all inspire me to create new work.
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?
People often undermine the importance of the arts, but when you realise that everything man-made you see was created by an artist in some form then you can really understand the significance of the industry. The chair you’re sitting on was designed by somebody.. the building you’re in was created by somebody.. the TV show you’ve just watched was produced by somebody.
7. Where did you study?
I am currently studying Graphic Design at Norwich University of the Arts.
8. Where do you see yourself in five years? Working in an agency?
I would have graduated by then and I hope to be working in a creative design agency – wherever that may be!
9. What about in ten?
Still carrying on with the above answer! ^
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?
This all depends on the individual pieces as they will all have a different purpose. For illustrations I like people to smile and look at it in a way they’ve never seen before. For graphic design work I like people to engage and interact with it, and possibly even try to make a difference to the world.
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?
I absolutely love Tapas style meals with any sort of cuisine, this way you can indulge yourself in many flavours and spices, instead of having a basic plate of food. The Mediterranean is always a favourite!
12. Favourite book?
My favourite book is 1984 by George Orwell. Regarded a modern classic, this dystopian thriller is guaranteed to keep you immersed from the first to the last page, creating a negative imaginary world that is hugely convincing.
13. Favourite genre of music?
I like a wide variety of music – on one hand, I love alternative and electronic rock, and on the other, I like guilty pleasure and feel-good funk.
14. What are your hobbies?
Any creative projects I like to indulge myself in, whether that’s designing a t-shirt for somebody or even making a mini holiday video. I love to travel – I’ve been lucky enough to explore a number of exciting cities around the world, immersing myself in their cultures and living the way the locals do I aspire to do. Photography has also been a firm hobby of mine, I’m always borrowing my Dads’ camera and tripod capturing portraits of people and cities that I’ve travelled to. Lastly, I’ve been dancing since I was three years old with Ballet, Tap and Modern. I have loved the thrilling experience of performing in shows at theatres, it is a great source of exercise and teaches you a lot of discipline.
15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
A career without the inclusion of art or design feels incomprehensible to me, but I’ve always been intrigued by police and detective work. I like the idea of digging deep into cases and working together as a team, however, this may have been more appealing than it actually is due to the number of crime dramas I’ve watched!