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Nikki Farquharson

Hello! I'm a 24 year old freelancer based in London, England.
I love colour, pattern, shapes, communincation and typography.
Pens, pencils and paper are my favourite and primary medium.
I also run a colourful project at: www.randomgotbeautiful.com.

How would you sum up your work?
My work tends to end up in a variety of outcomes as I like to showcase different ideas. They can vary from being quite simple to massively detailed. A heavy focus randomly shifts between colour, pattern and typography. I also have a passion for creating books about language and communication, in which I design and occasionally bind my own.

How did you become a designer/illustrator?
I've always been interested in visual messages and communication. I chose to study graphic design and ended up studying that subject for a total of six years. My degree course focused a lot on graphic and conceptual design and ideas. This was really helpful to me, but simultaneously I wanted something different so I started to draw. I found myself mostly drawing shapes and patterns. I decided to take illustration more seriously after I graduated.

What is your mixed media work about?
Mixed Media Girls are experimental works combining found imagery with personal illustration. A mixed media girl illustration is initially inspired by the original photograph. I change the girl's surroundings by including abstract details in bright colours and meticulous patterns. The final outcome is often playful and eclectic. I personally see the girl as either a prop to the pattern or just part of the canvas. I have always loved creating detail with lines, patterns and shapes. But later, I decided to add girls to put the patterns into context. Sometimes it is viewed as the other way round but I don't mind that. Creating mixed media work for clients is slightly different. The illustration should be secondary to the real imagery. I try to enhance the photography rather than drown it out.

Describe your other work in more detail?
My books are very simple conceptual ideas referring to language and communication. I'm interested in how we interact with one another and how different people have a natural and mutual understanding on simple common things. I'm always thinking about 'the next book' and like to create a series that would become available to purchase in the future. The typographic illustrations are like a bridge between my books and my abstract illustrations. I love type so I try to make it fun, playful and visually interesting, to me at least! Random Got Beautiful is an online public participatory site that I started while I was still at university. I have a fascination with other peoples random spontaneous photographs, and I wanted a way in which I could continually look at different ones but in one easy location. I decided that 'colour' would be a nice simple incentive to get others involved as it was creative but at the same time, didn't limit itself to only those who were "creatives". I wanted anybody to be able to take part. I jokingly refer to myself as a jack of all trades but a master of none, because I do many different things. A lot being on a trial-and-error type basis.

What kinds of materials do you work with?
I draw and colour by hand because I enjoy the process and prefer the results. I use pencils, fine liner pens and a lot of felt tips. Some mixed media work contain real imagery. The photography is either given to me or I get them from magazines. Most of the time they are literally cut and pasted on, but other times I'd add them using a computer program.

How much time do you spend to complete an illustration?
If there is no deadline then too much time. I’m the biggest procrastinator in the world! That is my worse habit.

What inspires you?
Almost everything. Things that I see, hear or randomly notice can trigger an idea for a new book or an illustration. Seeing a lot of hard work and passion displayed by other people in various design fields (art, design, sculpture, music videos etc) also inspires me to work on what I do.

What advice would you share with someone who is entering the world of art and design?
I'd share advice that was recently given to me. “Be prolific.” Create a lot of work and then create some more. Getting a personal site is easier than ever now. Everything has gone digital crazy. Sending a link or a pdf portfolio to people can be the perfect catalyst to get noticed. Send your work to mags, brands, studios etc and join online design communities just to get that initial ball rolling. It’s all about letting people know you exist and then the rest will hopefully come from that.

holiday matinee artist series t shirt 2

Holiday Matinee Words Shirt

Support the seamless union of doing good and looking good with this Words tee, part of the artist series started by champion-of-awesome-people-and-projects Dave Brown of Holiday Matinee. All proceeds for the shirt—which features an evocative succession of rhymes designed by artist Nikki Farquharson—benefit Plantit 2020, which plants and maintains 20 trees with every purchase.

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