What do you do?
I’m a full time freelance multidisciplinary artist, illustrator and designer based in Dundee. I have been working under the name WhimSicAL LusH since 2011. On a day to day basis I create unique, quirky illustrations that feature on ranges of prints, stationery, homeware and more. I also work to commission with individuals and businesses and help them tell their stories too – via illustration.
I love public art and am really proud that my first permanent public art piece was Dundee’s Discovery Walk (15 illustrated bronze plaques set in the pavements of Dundee’s new waterfront). I have also painted a door for the fab Open/Close Dundee project and earlier this year I created and installed a large wooden diorama mural for NHS Tayside, which was unveiled just before lockdown.
My work has featured in several solo and group exhibitions across the UK and there a number of shops and galleries throughout Scotland stocking my work. I regularly pop up at art events and markets throughout the year and sell online via my Etsy shop.
How are you connected to Wild in Art?
I’ve been part of several of the Wild in Art art trails up here in Scotland, including both Oor Wullie’s Bucket Trails and Maggie’s Penguin Parade, where I was Art Director and trail artist too. I also painted an elephant for the Big Stampede in Hamilton.
What did you like about the designs you have picked out on Wild in Art world?
I loved Leah Hayler’s floral pig. So pretty and delicate. I was just waiting for a bee to come buzzing in and land on a flower! Donna Newman’s ‘Dog Tired’ in his PJs and bunny slippers is just too cute. As is Traci Moss’ flying pig wallaby and her other wallaby with her wee joey that looks like a doll. They are all adorable and I think the kids would love them a lot.
The details in Shona Heaney’s Lighthouse are brilliant and really tell a story with the skeleton and horses under a seriously moody sky. Gill Ward’s Christchurch Penguin is super sweet and Anja Perry Art’s penguins have a dreamy feel about them with the flowing colours and textures.
What does art and creativity mean to you?
It’s part of me.
It’s adventure and exploration.
It’s a way to connect with the world and interact with others.
It’s a way to communicate without words.
It’s a way to encourage people to think.
It’s a way to help others.
Who or what has the greatest influence on your work?
Nature, especially plants, is a huge influence and constant inspiration. I grew up in the countryside, surrounded by plants and animals and it influences a lot of my work. Recreating nature in my work gives me a sense of calm as when wandering through woodland or sitting next to a river. I love that zone.
Also artists like Brian Froud and Arthur Rackham are massive inspirations. They, like me, are all about the little details in life that are so often missed because we’re in such a hurry. I love their take on nature.
What was your journey to working in the creative industries?
I have been making marks since I was a wee tot, whether it was with fingers in sand or with fancy pens as an adult. I became a full time artist in 2011 after working with children and their families for several years. I always used art to help with communication and as a therapeutic tool.
Due to my health, I had to assess my career path and I chose to follow my heart and explore something that has always been a huge part of my life. It was a scary decision to become a full time creative as it’s not always secure in terms of income but it was the best decision I have ever made.
It does require a lot of self motivation and I have to be strict with myself when it comes to admin and accounting, but being my own boss is just brilliant. I’ve never been a 9-5 type, so it suits me to be able to set my own hours, which are occasionally all night when there are project deadlines looming!
What advice would you give to budding artists?
Explore what makes you tick. What inspires you? Look up other artists and interact. Get involved. Ask questions. Share your work. Draw and create every day if you can. Challenge yourself.
What is the best thing about being involved in a Wild in Art event?
The community that surrounds it. I adore working with the other artists and helping them with their creations. I really love painting the sculptures myself too. I enjoy working as part of a team to make the trails happen. It’s probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, it’s exhausting, but also the most rewarding too.
I love the response the trails get from the public, I love watching children and families enjoying all the artwork and interacting with everyone on social media. Working with local businesses, who sponsor sculptures, can be fun as some of them have never worked with creatives before.
Then at the end of it all we raise money for brilliant charities like The ARCHIE Foundation, Glasgow and Edinburgh Children’s Hospital charities and Maggie’s Centres and see them use that money to help people.
Where can people find out more about your work?
If you look up WhimSicAL LusH you should find me! My website/blog is at www.whimsicallush.co.uk
My shop is on Etsy, just search for WhimSicAL LusH (or check out ‘Shops & Treats’ on my website).
I’d love you to join me on all my adventures too over on Instagram, Twitter & Facebook @whimsicallush.