A sharp eye

From paper and prints to fashion and famous faces, Laura Cartledge meets a Brighton artist making her mark. When Lou Taylor talks about turning thermal flasks into brooches and spider plants into earrings you might think she uses a magic wand not a scalpel. Lou Taylor Brighton Printmaker Aug14 JPETBut it is Lou’s skill and craftsmanship with paper that is making this Brighton-based artist stand out from the crowd, with her graphic designs revealing themselves to be papercuts on closer inspection. “You can’t mix colours like you can with paint but it is very fun,” she smiles. “There is that nice ‘what? how?’ question, when people realise. “Paper has become quite a fashionable medium to work on, it has a real immediacy,” Lou adds. “You sit down with the scalpel and quite quickly you start getting ideas. “It’s great to make lots of repeat cuts and then suddenly you have a hundred flamingos.” Lou prides herself on her quirky creations, with her original subject choices one aspect of her work which has attracted attention, including from London’s prestigious V&A museum. “I’m designing a Christmas card for the V&A,” she explains. “One of the team bought a flask and it led them to my website.”
new (2)From lipsticks to collars, tropical islands to tattooed ladies, Lou’s work is certainly as varied as it is eye-catching but her introduction to the art form was quite different. Lou grew up in an artistic family and it was her mum, a painter, who would spark a passion for papercuts. “Four or five years ago she brought me a Rob Ryan book and I thought ‘I like that, wonder if I could do it’,” she recalls. “I did a couple of pieces for friends but the more I did the more I realised it wasn’t my style. “He’s very whimsical and likes to tell a story, I like bright colours and repeat motifs.” It is this combination which makes Lou stand out. “I don’t think there are many people who make and repeat them,” she agrees. “I think it is more of an old fashioned way.” However, Lou’s work is anything but dated and by developing her own twist on the technique she has pushed the boundaries into new territory. One of her pieces, from the retro swimmers inspired range, really showcases Lou’s scalpel wizardry. Syncro 1,444 gets its name from the number of squares she painstakingly cut out from the background. JeanieSpiderDeskBroochTurqbackground“I’ve never done that again,” she laughs, “people looked at me like I was crazy. It took about three days. You have to be really patient. “The swimmers have been really popular actually without knowing it, I have tapped into the swimming and art deco markets.” Lou’s affinity with paper also sees her use it as a way of testing jewellery designs. “I only want to design things that I want to wear,” she explains. “It’s fun, it’s making your own wardrobe, and making pieces in paper first helps me to work them out. “It’s different from the acrylic I use for the jewellery, but they are both fragile in their own ways.” There’s no doubt Lou likes a challenge, in fact at the moment plans are in motion for a collaboration with model Felicity Hayward and she’s transforming her papercuts into fabric prints. “Fabric has opened up so many other possibilities,” she enthuses, “like making scarves and my swimmers print will be on wash bags.” And this is all at the same time as crafting for a very personal project – her wedding. “I am getting married in October and I am making all the paper flowers,” she confesses. “I’ve got huge hopes of making hundreds of them – wish me luck.” There seems to be no stopping her, making it a surprise to learn that just three years ago Lou was doing something very different. new (1)“I used to work for the council,” she recalls, “but I got made redundant and it gave me the kick to do what I always wanted to. “It was sad but it’s the best thing that’s happened to me. I used to think ‘what if I never get the chance to give it a go’.” For more information about Lou’s work visit www.lou-taylor.co.uk

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admin August 26, 2014 Culture and Events, Fashion and Beauty