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It's impossible not to love Bex Williams' expressive charcoal animals, and we've always thought her art was a fantastic addition to the Wraptious menagerie. So naturally, when her designs were nominated for a prestigious 'Henries' greeting-card award (see here!) we were all over the moon! Before she leaves for the glitz and glamour of the awards ceremony, we took the opportunity to ask her a few quick questions about her artistic style and future ambitions
1) How long have you been drawing for? When did you know you wanted to become an artist?
I've been drawing and painting in one way or another my whole life. My first love was pencil, then pastels, next oil paint and now, my true love, charcoal. In terms of when I decided to become an artist - I didn't really. I work in a creative industry, namely as a creative director in advertising, but don't think of myself as an artist. I love art and do it when I can in my spare time.
2) Which artists have inspired the way you work? Any favourites you think we should check out?
I'm by no means an art expert, but I do take an interest. I've always been most inspired by impressionist artists like Munch and Monet. I love the feeling and human spirit they manage to convey. When it comes to drawing, I'm a huge fan of Egon Schiele. His sketching has so much sass! Valerie Davide is my inspiration when it comes to charcoal (animals) - it was seeing her work that made me want to explore my own furry and feathery charcoal creations.
3) How long does it take for you to create an image, and what's your process? How often do you draw?
The time it takes depends on me and the subject. Most of drawings took no longer than 2 hours and Owl only took 45 minutes! I don't really have a process. I find an image I like and set about drawing the piece using it as reference. There are three different stages I suppose: the rough drawing outline, the roughly filling in all the dark and light areas and rubbing them together and the final fiddly bit. That's putting in all the detail using more charcoal and a putty rubber. All this layering makes for a picture with personality, but makes it almost impossible to to fix in place! Transporting my work is a nightmare!
4) Of all the images you've created, which are you most proud of and why?
My favourite animal is probably Gorilla. It's the piece I was most technically happy with. I was very pleased with all the detail I was able to include.
5) How did you start to promote your work? What tips can you give us?
Simon has done this bit for me! I have a website, Facebook and Twitter for 'she draws animals', but I'm not very active.
6) What's the most challenging aspect of being an artist? What's the best?
The most challenging part for me has been motivation. Because art has always been a hobby that I dip in and out of, the hardest part has been adapting myself to commercial art. I find less joy in my work when I'm doing it to a brief or for commercial purposes sadly. But on the flip side, it's amazing to think people have my animals up in their homes, are stocking them in their shops and have even used the range on their wedding invitations. That's undoubtedly the best thing.
7) What is it essential to know before you launch a career as an artist? What advice can you give us?
Just do art. Don't create things to sell them or to make money. Make beautiful things that you love and then get them out there. Put them on social media and you never know what might happen. Look at me - Simon spotted my work on Facebook and here we are!
8) How do you get motivated on slow days?
I don't annoyingly. I really have to be 'in the mood' to create. If I force myself it won't be good and I won't be happy with it. I have the luxury of having a different day job, so this works ok.
9) You've recently been nominated for an award at the Henries (and rightly so!) What other goals would you like to achieve?
It's incredibly exciting and flattering to be nominated for a Henries award. As an amateur artist doodling in my bedroom, I never dreamed my animals would take me to a glitzy industry award show! I'm really grateful to Simon and Wraptious for believing in my work and putting so much time and effort into promoting it. Without you guys I'd be nothing at all.
10) Name three things you can't live without.
Arsenal, dogs and my bike.