London based "professional doodler" Hattie Stewart transforms banal day-to-day imagery with humoured magazine vandalism and mischievous character illustrations. Through various collaborations, the rising artist is cementing her name in the art and fashion world. Having recruited her dark cartoony quirk for Beni's forthcoming album campaign, we were curious to find out how much of this ink reflects her personality.
When did all of this doodling begin? I imagine you weren't too attentive during school.
I definitely got distracted easily and did spend a lot of my time doodling in the corners of notebooks.
My uncles on either side also drew cartoons so I would always draw with them. I remember having a project in year 5 where we had to draw an alien and I was staying at my uncle Terry's in Sheffield. I was desperately trying to draw your stereotypical alien and he said to me "Have you ever seen an Alien? Well then if you have absolutely no idea what an alien looks like, you can bloody draw anything you want". As a 10 year old that blew my mind. It was one of those small moments that stuck with me and definitely informed how I draw today.
I hated life drawing throughout education because of this thought, why bother spending time drawing things I can already see? I've got my own world to create!
Are there any particular cartoons or comics that have had an impact on you both as a child and as a practicing artist?
'Beryl the Peril' from the Dandy annuals and 'Madam Mim' from Disney's The Sword in The Stone.
What initially drew you to defacing magazine covers?
I like to challenge the monotony of fashion publications with cheeky interpretations as I feel a lot of it nowadays is stale and unimaginative. I take my love for the print world to another step, using magazine covers as a medium for creating these graphic illustrations. I love how the illustration can completely turn the original image on its head. More than anything I just want people to take pleasure in looking at my work, I want them to be able to get lost and play in it, even if that is just for a split second. I don't want them to take themselves too seriously and to laugh at the pretentious intensity these magazines sometimes possess by seeing it warped into something pleasurably ugly.
Your work has a very playful and tongue-in-cheek tone. I take it this is a window into your personality. When are you serious?
Never. No, actually I take my work seriously but not myself as an artist. I think that's important. I call myself a Professional Doodler as I feel this encompasses both sides of my working attitude.
Where does the dark side of your drawings come from?
I honestly couldn't say. I've been intrigued by the darker side of the human psyche and loathe anything cute and twee. I guess I'm aware that the stylistic nature of my work could at times come across this way so I'll always add in a little dark. Everyone needs a little darkness now and then.
You've been involved in fashion collaborations with Urban Outfitters, House of Holland, Adidas and Marc Jacobs amongst others. Why do you think your style is so compatible with fashion?
I think it's because I have a flexible and bold style. When collaborating you can play around with designing characters, typographic slogans, print design, doodle bombing (illustration over photography), Animation, in store pop-up presentations and shop window displays - there are so many possible ways to collaborate.
With the internet today and the fast exchange of information, I think if people aren't open to collaboration and are looking for recognition purely within their own brand then they're automatically losing out on so many opportunities. In order to get a step ahead and recognized, you have to start thinking differently and expand your horizons and capabilities.
Prior to taking on this series of record covers for us, have you had many interactions with the music world?
A couple. I was the Creative Director on a video for UK Grime artist Scrufizzer last year where we created some really awesome animation over live action. I also recently collaborated with Azealia Banks and Jam Sutton on a cheeky project. I'd definitely love to do more.
What do you listen to in the studio?
A lot of Northern Soul and anything from Motown or Staxx. I especially love Led Zeppelin and Cream. It really depends on my mood to be honest. Oh, and I am obsessed with Tame Impala.
When are you at your most creative?
What are you the most proud of?
Probably the fact that I am able to do what I love for a living. Pride however is a very dangerous thing and best avoided at all times.
We've received a lot of out of office responses from you. Can you tell us about the work you've done abroad this year?
Sorry about that! I've been in New York and L.A working on some campaigns for Old Navy, which saw me doodling over their print ads, billboards and in-store, as well as creating animations for their Roman Coppola directed TV spots. It's all been an intense but incredible experience. I haven't drawn as much in the past few months but it's taught me so much about my work and how to be a better illustrator both professionally and mentally.
This interview was torn from the sheets of our Modulations newspaper, a free press now available at all good UK indie record stores for a limited time.
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