veronica-rowlands-1[1]

G: Tell us about what do you do?

I’m an East London Based Fashion Illustrator who has a very distinctive quirky style. All my illustrations are inspired from vintage toys, mostly dolls, which I then dress in cutting edge attire! The result is very unusual, colourful and fun.

I was inspired to start doing this when a child, when my favourite hobby was visiting museums and galleries and sketching the various exhibits. One museum which particularly caught my imagination was the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green, and I also begged my parents to take me to the V&A. As I grew up and became interested in fashion (and subsequently studied Surface Pattern Design at Swansea Metropolitan University) I continued with my hobby, and realized that old toys from bygone eras look amazingly trendy when given a modern tweak. A cool pair of glasses makes a Victorian doll look bang up to date! A wooden doll from circa 1800 looked trendy as a lining for a man’s suit at my degree show. In my latest collection, I sketched an old key form the Museum of London Docklands and found it looked good as a hair-slide on one of my fashion dolls. I also sketched a crown from the Tower of London, which one of the models is wearing. The current trend for “vintage” items has added to the popularity of my work.

I have up until now concentrated upon making individual gifts for friends and family as wedding and birthday presents. I have also sold a number of greeting cards and pictures. However, I now intend to take on individual commissions e.g. for new baby, wedding gift, children’s illustrations, birthday, Valentines etc. The unique selling point of my work compared to competitors is the sheer originality and inimitable style. I will shortly set up a stall at Spitalfields Market and will see where my business goes from there. I am willing to undertake any freelance work as a challenge!

veronica-rowlands-2[1] G: What were your most successful projects/exhibitions so far or what projects did you enjoy the most so far?

I exhibited my Fashion Dolls at The Curious Duke Gallery in Old Street (February 2012) at the ‘Style’ Fashion Illustration Exhibition, which generated a lot of interest and was a very exciting experience. The Idea Store (Canary Wharf Library) also invited me to exhibit my work there during May 2012 and the Wharf newspaper subsequently interviewed me and wrote an article about my work. This collection was particularly topical as the dolls’ clothes were in red, white and blue. They have formed the basis for my current exhibition at The Brady Centre (see below) and I have expanded on the theme to embrace, the Olympic Games, Royal Jubilee and GB theme.

My work was singled out for an exclusive exhibition with an Olympics theme by Tower Hamlets Council, which will take place at the Brady Centre for Art, (Brick Lane) from 6th– 31st August 2012. I’m really thrilled about this as my collection is inspired by the business districts to Brick Lane, so it will be exhibited in the prime spot where its concept was born.

veronica-rowlands-3[1] G: What are the main challenges maintaining your business and how are you overcoming them?

My main challenge is undoubtedly the competitive nature of the industry, and getting known as I am not long out of university and only moved to London last year. However, I am hoping to be able to overcome this by making a name for myself by the unusual and unique style of my work. I am willing to experiment and would welcome any new commissions.

G: What would you say has been your most memorable experience while developing your business?
I think my favourite part has to be looking at past sketchbooks and seeing how my style has developed over time.

G: Why do you choose Shoreditch to run your business in?
I just have to visit Shoreditch to be filled with inspiration, so I feel it’s the perfect area to show my work.

G: How would you describe the art scene in Shoreditch/East London?
Very Contemporary and can be quite alternative.

G: What is your view about the recent development of Shoreditch?

I feel they merge well with the style of the area and are a few minutes away from the independent shops in Brick Lane.

G: Who/what are your favourite Artists/Businesses in the area?
I enjoy visiting the Sunday Markets on Brick Lane; they are an Aladdin’s Cave of treasures and I always find lovely pieces in ‘Rockit’ (Vintage clothing).

G: What are your favourite places in Shoreditch?I love the atmosphere in the ‘Big Chill Bar’ (Old Truman Brewery) for an evening drink and at lunch times can be found at the Beigel Shop (Brick Lane).

G: What does the future has in store for Shoreditch?
Hopefully plenty more art events and independent shops/businesses will keep popping up.
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