What got you interested in fashion illustration specifically? I’ve always loved painting but it was during my art foundation course at Abingdon and Witney College when I became engrossed in fashion illustration. My fashion design teacher spent a life drawing session showing us new drawing techniques and encouraged us to experiment with new ones, and after testing out a few I eventually found my style. To start with I loved looking at fashion illustration and began to do some illustrations for myself; people seemed to like them which gave me the motivation to do more! Though there are loads of different styles of fashion illustration, I love the playfulness and spontaneity that they all seem to illuminate.
Your art includes watercolour, pen and oil on paper, tell us about this creative process and your decision to use these materials. It mainly depends on aspects such as what I am trying to convey, what mood I am in and how much time I have! Oil paints are slower drying and allow for a much more realistic and lifelike image whereas watercolours are faster and I feel allow more impulsiveness and fluidity. Watercolour paints and paper are also cheaper with oils, so I usually experiment more with them- sometimes I have to make a lot of mistakes before eventually creating a successful painting. I also like combine watercolours with other mediums such as pen or ink.
What have you learned as a History of Art Student? Do you directly apply what you’ve learned academically to our art outside the classroom? I’ve learnt a lot about art on my course but we mainly focus on the historical and political context of art rather than on techniques and processes (although I have occasionally taken inspiration from artists I have learnt about.) However, what I learnt during my art Foundation has had the biggest impact on my work; I learnt so much in one year but it was mainly the people I met in that time that inspired and influenced my work.
What elements are you drawn to when creating your work? I’ve noticed a lot of concentration on the eyes, is that intentional? I love painting eyes; they have the ability to convey so much emotion. When creating a more abstract portrait I usually keep the majority of the face minimalistic and apply the most detail to the eyes and the area around them. I also find eye contact very powerful in an image, and like to play around with the figure either engaging in eye contact with the viewer or languorously gazing strait past them, or even at someone else.
Tell us more about your involvement in creating portraits and photography. I have done a few portrait commissions, some of couples, babies, grandparents’ etc. which is different from the work that I do for myself as the most important thing for portraiture is capturing that particular person’s personality in one image, whereas in my own paintings I’m free to create my own story. During my art foundation course I focused a lot on photography and used Photoshop to manipulate or enhance images I had created. A great deal of my painting is strongly influenced by fashion photography that I have looked at, especially photographers such as Antonio Mora.
What do you intend to do after graduation from the University of Manchester? I hope you continue to create such beautiful pieces! I would love to make a career out of something I am as passionate about as painting, but I am not sure what I will be doing after I graduate. I would love a career as a fashion illustrator or in visual merchandising, but whether I do it for money or not it will always be something I will continue to do for myself.
Website and Photos: http://daisybernard92.wix.com/daisybernardart Interview: Kathleen Cerrer