Happy Wednesday everyone! I’m happy to share our next interviewee from the UK who is an award-winning illustrator in the realm of paper sculpture, where she utilizes her talents to manifest exquisite solutions over a wide array of brands and clientele.
She has had many accolades including the 2010 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade poster (featured above) and the Kleenex “Feelings” campaign, which alone won up to six awards including the The Big Won 2010, where she won 1st place as Top 10 Press Campaigns in the World. All that being said I am pleased to introduce Gail Armstrong, I hope you enjoy the interview as much as we did!
Tell us a little about your background – what path led you to what you’re doing now?
I am based in London, UK and studied at Glasgow School of Art where I completed both a BA(hons) and a PostGraduate Diploma in Graphic Design and Illustration. I originally moved to London to work as a Graphic Designer, but continued with my passion for paper and image making alongside that. After a long period juggling 3 simultaneous careers in Graphics, Illustration and lecturing in Art and Design, I took a break to have 2 children. This was an excellent opportunity to sit back and reflect, and now I work solely as a paper sculpture illustrator (although all my other experience comes in very handy!).
Who is your favorite new artist of 2011/2012?
Rob Ryan isn’t new, but his work has really stood out this last year or so. The other artist I recently discovered is M J Forster – superb use of colour. What I’m really looking forward to at the moment is the up-coming exhibition of David Hockney’s latest work – what I’ve seen of it so far looks really fresh and interesting and has a great energy.
What is a source of inspiration that is not art/design related?
That would probably be London – I’m very fortunate to have London and all it’s resources on my doorstep and living in the south East of the city, I have the Kent countryside equally close. The biggest source of inspiration is the variety of interesting people I know here, from all different cultural backgrounds and working in different spheres. It makes you see things from a different perspective and challenges your own perceptions and that, in itself, creates ideas and inspirations.
What would be your dream creative project?
I would love to work on a set of images for a children’s story which is then animated. I like to work on sets of images so I can focus on different aspects of a character or scene and to see those brought to life would be magical. Otherwise I’d love to see my pieces scaled up to create a stage set – an entire world made out of paper with people interacting with it would be pretty amazing.
Are you involved in any upcoming shows or events? Where and when?
I currently have the original sculpture of “Yes & No” from the Kleenex campaign touring the UK in the Images 35 exhibition organised and selected by the Association Of Illustrators.
If your work had a soundtrack, what songs would be on it?
Probably the music I listen to most when I’m working – favourites for a while have been Elbow (Seldom Seen Kid and Build a Rocket Boys), Florence and the Machine (Lung) and Kate Bush. I guess you could draw similarities between them and my work – all very multi-layered and crafted and (hopefully) timeless. The other album I put on when I’m working- especially if it’s late and I have a deadline and need a bit of a boost to see me through – is Muse (The Resistance)
If you had an extra hour each day what would you do with it?
I completely overfill every day so that’s a real luxury. If it was a rain-free hour every day, I think I’d definitely spend it in my garden, either pottering with plants with BBC radio 4 comedy or drama playing in the background or just sitting quietly and enjoying it.
Does paper quality matter in your art?
Not really – it’s more a case of using what’s appropriate to the image. I often scan textures, objects and indeed, poor quality papers, and then print them out on a better weight and quality of paper for what I’m making. I have a huge and overflowing stock of papers I’ve gathered over the years, everything from bespoke hand-made papers to foreign newspapers.
What tools do you use?
Apple mac for the digital aspects of my work and a scalpel and 10a blade, cutting mat and UHU glue for the craft side of things.
If you could collaborate with anyone in this world, dead or alive, who would it be?
So many people I don’t know where to start!!
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our viewers?
Just that I appreciate how extraordinarily fortunate I am that I’ve been able to make a living doing something that gives me so much pleasure. With every new piece I make I face a new challenge and learn something new. I’ve been enjoying some lovely commissions in the last few years and worked with a variety of very imaginative and creative people – long may it continue!
Thank you so much Gail for taking the time to answer our questions and share your work with us. We look forward to more of your astounding work in the future. To our viewers, be sure to post below with your thoughts and if you know of any artists that work in the realm of paper that you would like to be interviewed be sure to shoot us an e-mail.