WOW - A LONG overdue Beach Meets chat today with the AMAZING Rosy Nicholas: prop maker, illustrator, set designer, fashion designer, teacher, and craftswoman extraordinaire. We first met Rosy back in 2008 when she was working at Lazy Oaf - whom she still occasionally freelances for - and her Grace Jones/Prince/Ancient Egypt inspired graphics resonated with us (who wouldn't that resonate with!?), and it's been great to follow her career since - working with Nike, Louis Vuitton, Lazy Oaf, Ace Hotel, and lots more: even a TV appearance on 'Kirsty's Crafty Christmas' with Kristy Allsop!
Be sure to check out Rosy TV in the link too, it's brilliant: Rosy's personality really shines through on it, and, as well as being a handy guide to making some bonkers stuff, it's pretty funny.
Rosy's currently 'taking over' our Depop page, where you'll be able to get a series of one-off pieces. Go check it.
Hey Rosy, how are you today?
I'm ok thank you... Actually, I feel a bit weird because I just went to see Manchester By The Sea which was rough. Jesus Christ. Never cried so much in one film. Even if you added up the millions of times I've watched E.T in the past 30 years where I cry without fail every time, there were still probably more tears out of my face today. It was really good though.and funny, you should go see it!
What does your normal working day look like?
I've always been a better night time person - especially work wise, so mornings are mostly Radio 4 and pottering around doing life chores whilst I'm waking up. Once I'm in the studio I can be doing all manner of different things, which is probably the best thing about my job. Sometimes i think being master of none is actually my downfall, but life-wise it makes for a varied and fun working experience day to day, whether its drawing, sewing, painting or gluing.
My studio is above a cafe, and I try not to get too distracted by the smell of cheese toasties wafting up at lunchtime. My first studio in east London was next to the Mangal in Dalston, that was torture and I ate a lot of kebabs in those years. I was a really chubby child, so maybe I'm destined to be distracted by food my whole career.
Your book 'Dress You Up!' was recently published; how did you find it: making guides for something that, I guess, comes super naturally to you?
I quite enjoyed it, I do a lot of workshops and teaching so I guess I'm used to explaining things to people in a step-by-step way. But because of the book layout, every make had to explainable in 9 steps max, so that was a bit of a challenge.
I had to really consider my language and a few times the publisher told me that my directions to "poof" or "squiggle" something wasn't technical enough.
I guess the end goal was for it to be easy to follow but also still sound like my voice and be fun at the same time. It was my first book so I wanted to cover a lot of the basics. Hopefully if I do another one in the future I can get a bit more radical with the ideas.
What's your favourite piece from the book?
Many of my shoes currently have a furry pom-pom on them right now, so I guess that means it's the piece I wear the most myself; Although my favourite to make was probably the collage crown where I did an Elizabeth Taylor tribute. I've always loved magazines and still rip out pages I like and cut out any nice faces. I guess it comes from my childhood where we didn't have computers or a printer at home so cutting up old magazines was the best way to make collages or cover my school books.
...and what do you think's the most addictive to make?
Probably the pom-poms because little coloured balls of fluff are just so satisfying.
Rosy TV is fucking amazing. Tell us about it.
Wow thanks! I make them with my brother Ben, and the graphics are by my friend Chrissie Abbott, who also did the design for my book. Ben and I have made things together since we were little and our whole childhood was basically watching television, films, and then later on added hours of MTV as well. So, all our references are tv/film/music/Hollywood-based, and I've tried to combine these references with my love of craft and making things yourself. We're going for a Wayne's World/The Word type of experience: Essentially, I wish i was Katie Puckrik (a whole load of references for the over 30's right there).
What would your dream job involve?
Being Katie Puckrik and someone paying us to make Rosy TV full time. I think we need more craft on telly, I miss Tony Hart and even Neil Buchanan a bit! I went to the Josef Frank show at the Fashion and Textiles museum last week and I left being 100% sure I wanted to print fabric for the rest of my life... So I'd like to try that!
I also decided i wanted to dedicate my life to papier maché after I went to Mexico a few years ago: I'm clearly quite impressionable depending on what I've done that week. I'm quite bad a making decisions - and that includes career ones - like trying to be a freelance creative in London.....but never mind, I'm having a nice time and actually, I might try and make that papier maché dream come true this year!
What other artists are you feeling at the moment?
I've had quite a good run of exhibition-visiting recently including the Ken Price at Hauser and Wirth which was GREAT, and my guy Hockney at the Tate. I'm looking forward to catching the Paolozzi show at the Whitechapel too. In a more-local-but-equally-as-inspiring-way, my friend Patrick Savile's show at DreambagsJaguarShoes is well worth a pop-in when you're going down the Kingsland road. I'm also really looking forward to Rhys Coren's show at Seventeen gallery this week, he's brill.
What are you working on over the next few months?
At the mo I'm working on an illustration for Hoi Polloi, the restaurant at the Ace hotel - I did a menu for them last year that was really fun, so this is a little visit back there. Later in the Spring I have a collaboration with Jigsaw coming out: some of my drawings will be on rain macs and canvas accessories. It's been a big learning curve job-wise but having my name on labels in a high street store, that my mum can go and see will be a real thrill.
And of course, my Depop shop with Beach!
(Featured image shot by Katie Bagley)