Beyond Creative:: Helen Lang

I’m always keen to highlight and showcase new and talented creatives so when Helen Lang got in touch and showed me her new collection I really wanted to share it with you. There is no denying that Helen is extremely skilled as an Illustrator so I wanted to find out what 2012 had in store for her…

HOP: Congratulations on being featured in Katie Treggiden’s first book ‘Interviews: Volume 1’. Since then what have you been up to and how has 2011 treated you

HL: 2011 was a really interesting year…A MASSIVE learning curve for me ! Despite economic doom and gloom in the news, last year was an excellent one working on an exclusive product range with John Lewis, (you can see the range here: having my work stocked in The Tate, and working with a variety of prestigious clients such as Boden and Burger King. I also had confirmation of 2 children’s books which have been commissioned by Templar publishing too…. so fingers crossed that things are just as good this year!

HOP: So what do you have in store for 2012

HL: I’m exhibiting at Pulse in June (eeeeek!) to showcase new products. If anyone else is exhibiting their please do come and say hi (‘ll be at LP28 in the Launchpad section)!! I’m also completing my second pop up book for Templar and hopefully John Lewis will be extending the range of accessories in their exclusive product range. Getting a bigger studio space is also a priority for 2012. Although my working space is pretty tidy, I’ve got larger volumes of screen prints and stock and i can’t wait to get beautiful storage so this looks amazing ! Things have expanded rapidly at the end of last year and home is starting a look a little like a 1950’s warehouse so that’s a must to get things organised there!

HOP: Tell us about your new collection? What was the concept behind it

HL: I’m developing a new range of Alphabet screen prints…last year I produced two Alphabets ‘London A – Z’ and ‘Animalphabet’ which were extremely popular and I am continuing this theme throughout my work. I just love the Alphabet and find it a typographical challenge to pick a theme and manipulate the lettering to fit this theme. My most recent Alphabet is ‘Musicalphabet’, which contains a whole host of musical icons from Adele to Zappa! It’s screen printed in 3 colours including metallic gold on textured, off-white fine art paper. Each print is signed and numbered in a limited edition of just 200 prints.

HOP: Where do you gain your inspiration

HL: Work and artwork inspiration can come from absolutely anywhere! I get inspired by lettering on old packaging, graffiti, music flyers, interior and music magazines, adverts etc; inspiration really comes from everywhere. Work ethics and business inspiration comes from illustrators and product designers such as Rob Ryan, Ella Doran, Orla Kiely, Emma Bridgewater and Cath Kidston. Their abilities as artists and designers to promote and engage people in their work, so much so that they are now household names. I find that REALLY inspiring.

Inspiring conversations with my friends Matt Karsenti (Soulem Productions) and Helen Edwards of East End Prints are always good for getting a positive direction and a refreshing point of view on where work can go. These two friends have the same focused and hardworking attitude in running their businesses (as I think I do) and it’s interesting to hear how their self employment is going.

HOP: What is a typical day like in the world of Helen Lang

HL: A walk with Desmond my border terrier  makes for an early morning wake up routine and I usually return to a cuppa and a stack of bourbon biscuits. That’s breakfast done and then I usually settle into catching up on emails. Sorting out any orders, the day can be full of art working and completing a project or it could be broken up by being the accounts lady and chasing invoices. It could also be researching new clients, marketing work updating the website, etsy shop…all manner of things !!

HOP: What are your New Years resolutions

HL: Less procrastination and more productivity.

HOP: What advice would you give someone wanting to go freelance

HL: Network, be prolific, keep at it, get industry experience if you can, competitive shop so you know what is happening in the market and generally be very nice to people….. and use twitter!

Also…I know it can sound cheesy, but always answer the phone with a smile on your face. It always works for me!

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