We caught up with East London based artist Daisy Emerson for this weeks creative blog to discuss her amazing portfolio, her work on iconic Mayfair street Savile Row, Oscar Wilde’s opinions on art and bad jokes.
You specialize in typography, lettering and illustration. Which is your favorite medium?
I always start with a pencil, everything I create is hand drawn so it’s the best way to start every new piece. The medium I use is dependent on the project, for example if it’s a piece of hand lettering I’ll go on to use anything from black fine liner, coloured posca pens, felt tip or gold or silver pens. I also do signwriting, so for this of course I use a lot of lettering enamel which I love using! It’s thick and creamy and the smell gets right up your nose but the finish it gives is absolutely beautiful, it comes in all sorts of colours too. I love being able to use a paintbrush to create lettering, somehow it feels so much more hand crafted and it’s a lot more satisfying when it’s done.
I am an illustrator specialising mainly in hand drawn typography and lettering. I have always loved letters, words and fonts and I always seem to come back to them so that’s mainly the kind of work I create now. I do a lot of large-scale illustrations and wall art which is predominantly within retail, fashion & lifestyle, pop-ups and events. My work spans across projects for Scotch & Soda in their London Showroom to live illustrations for John Lewis including signage for them at events and festivals. More recently I hand painted windows for Fudge Hair as part of London Collections: Men. A few weeks ago I also painted four fascias for luxury goods store Pickett on Savile Row which was really great to do! The work I create for brands brings spaces, walls, windows and activity to life.
What is your favorite material to work with?
I love to work big, I like painting onto wood, metal, glass using lettering enamel. Painting with that onto glass is amazing as the finish is so smooth and the paint produces a hardened glossy finish, which looks really rich.
What is the piece of art you are most proud to have produced?
Well recently I have completed a personal project of mine that I am quite proud of! I have hand painted six big steel signs in lovely bright candy colours and metallics. They took me a good few weeks to produce but I’m really happy with how they’ve turned out. I guess I have put my own spin on the traditional signs by painting them the way I have in the fonts I have used as well as the bright colours.
Which artists have influenced your work? Who is your favorite living artist and why?
I am really influenced by a lot of street artists like Faust, Ben Eine, Gary Stranger. There is always so much great street art in and around London which is amazing, I feel very privileged to be able to see some brilliant pieces of large type on walls even when I am just out and about. I am also really inspired by the signwriters out there who are all doing it for the love of it, Frisso, Archie Proudfoot, Ged Palmer, NGS, Dapper Signs, I think there is a real resurgence of signwriting and that’s evident in such recent exhibitions Business As Usual at Book Club.
Are there any recurring themes in your work and what are they?
I try and always use a gold or a silver in most pieces…I guess typographically there are definitely some fonts which I just love to draw over and over again which I’ll repeat in my work, like an old favorite I always come back to…
Picasso famously said “I begin with an idea and then it becomes something else” Does this apply to your pieces or do they always mirror the original idea.
I think your ideas always evolve out of something you originally thought of, that’s the best bit! You will suddenly have a moment of inspiration or an idea which you get excited about half way through the original idea, this can be really satisfying if it will work for the project. You have to be careful not to run away with an idea as your client may be expecting something completely different but I guess that’s the nature of the job, it’s all about staying on brand but adding your own personal touch which is really nice and very important.
What project are you working on at the moment?
I’ve got some smaller projects on the go like a couple of hand lettered logos, I am also hoping to start a new alphabet project soon which will hopefully be made into prints. I also have another shop front I’ll be signwriting a logo onto in the next couple of weeks once it’s got it’s lick of paint on!
What piece of art inspires you the most?
There are too many to list! I am loving RYCA’s stuff at the moment, there’s so many good pieces I see on Instagram every day too. I try to follow a good selection of illustrators, artists, typographers, designers, signwriters….the lot! It’s really exciting when you come across an amazing Instagram page which inspires you too.
What single item could you never live without in your studio?
Hmmm, apart from the obvious like pens and pencils, probably my big white desk and my lovely old chair I sit on, I got it for £16 in a junk shop, it’s black painted wood with a deep purple velvet seat and I love it.
I think my work makes me happy, it’s what I am happiest doing and I feel I was meant to do. It takes a while to gain confidence in what you do but once it’s there it can be incredibly satisfying. I think being creative can help in other aspects of your life too!
Oscar Wilde once said “All art is useless” What are your thoughts on this?
For me, you like a piece of art and it’s pleasing to you then it’s served a purpose so, no, it’s not useless, it’s great and everyone should take an interest in art in some stage of their life!
Know any good art jokes? Or bad ones? We’ll start things off here….Vincent van Gough walks into a bar, and the bartender offers him a drink…No thank you, said Vincent, I’ve got one ‘ere.
None, that’s really useless and boring I know…!
So there you have it. Not only are we Daisy’s newest fans down at Halo HQ but she has also confirmed something we already knew, we are not very good at jokes. We will stick to the day job and sincerely hope Daisy does too.
Catch up on all of Daisy Emerson’s projects on her website and social media links here: