Today we’re excited to feature illustrator Holly Sharpe! She has an amazing collection of work that spans from illustrations simply done with pencil, to those done digitally. We love how different her pieces look, but that you can still tell they are made by her. Her aesthetic really stands out and has caught the attention of companies like Marks & Spencer, Marie Claire, and Chloé; all whom she has worked with. Her illustrations are so vibrant and detailed, yet the brush strokes and drips make them free-spirited. With this unique take on illustrating it is no wonder that Holly is getting calls from some big names. We’re sure there is only more to come in her future and can’t wait for you to hear more about her!
: How did your art career start?
: It is definitely not something that happened overnight. In some ways it has been a work in progress most of my life. I went to art college and after graduating from there I went on to do freelance work as a textile designer and then secured a full time position. Meanwhile I was trying to keep up my own drawings and illustrations on the side. This was all great experience and I probably wouldn’t be doing what I do now if I didn’t take those steps to break away and do my own work full time.
Sorry, that was a long-winded way of saying, my art career started by 1. Getting a 1st class honours degree and then 2. Working very hard and getting lots of experience!
: Describe the style of your work?
: I would say my work is delicate but powerful. Usually it has attention to lines and detail and when I’m not sticking with monochrome, lots of bright colours. I don’t know how to describe my style as such, but a lot of people tell me that I have a very distinct style and that it is “different”.
: What is the greatest lesson you learned while pursuing your passion?
: Tough one, I’ve learned a lot along the way. I would probably say, to believe in yourself, stand strong with that belief and don’t let people take advantage of you and your work. I am a pretty positive person and I hate to be cynical, but unfortunately there are a lot of people/companies out there that will prey on an artist’s ‘desperate’ need for work and take advantage. So remember to value your work and what you do, even when some people don’t.
: What can others do to bring their work to the next level or gain clients?
: Keep trying, keep pushing your work to get better, try new things, and don’t stay in your comfort zone. Try and have a clear focus on what it is you do and what it is you want to do/achieve. Who are your dream clients? Try to offer something unique but focused. It is better to master one thing, and for that thing to be crystal clear, than to try and offer a million different styles and have no clear direction. Clients need to know what they are getting.
: Who are some of your favorite artists, musicians, creatives etc.?
: Ah, so many… a few of my favourite artists are – Stina Persson, Lucian Freud, Egon Schiele, Conrad Roset, Kelly Beeman, Alexandra Levasseur, and Paula Bonet. As for music – this changes a lot, and I am always on the lookout for new musicians, but generally I love electronica-type music with nice female vocals. I love The Knife, Grimes, Kavinsky, Phantogram, Poliça… Oh and Arcade Fire is always a band I go back to. Right now I love working to, or doing yoga to Dr. Toast, his music is incredible.
: How have you overcome obstacles and discouragements in your career?
: When I think back, I have realized that I’ve developed a pretty good knack for forgetting about the things that didn’t work, or didn’t go ahead. It is important to have something of a mourning period for the biggies that can be a bit heartbreaking, but you cannot dwell on them. I just try and move on and work towards a new aim. I focus on the things that did work, which is always a boost and outweighs the obstacles and discouragements.
: Name one of your careers greatest highs?
: Doing a cosmetics collaboration with Marks & Spencer earlier this year!
: What career/artistic goal are you working towards next?
: Ah, so many, my head is a bit all over the place at the moment. But I think my main goals are to have worked published in a book (or publish my own book…?!) and also to get more exhibitions across the globe.
: What inspires you to create?
: Everything. I’m sure a lot of artists say this, but sometimes the inspiration to create, is more of a need, an urge, almost an unexplainable desire to create something beautiful.
: Tell us a little bit about who you are.
: I am an artist/ illustrator from Scotland. I love to travel, meet new people, and do yoga. I have brown hair, green eyes and a stupid laugh.
Keep up with what Holly is doing next and make sure to follow her on social media for more!