in the studio with illustrator becky hatwell
we spent the morning with illustrator becky hatwell in her east london studio. becky is a friend of thought and also designed our sock boxes for this season. inspired by nature, becky created the abstract artwork using acrylic paints. read on to learn more about becky.
becky wears the olwen jumper and straight leg jeans
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your job?
I am an abstract artist who creates layered, colourful abstract artworks; a style discovered through an organic and intuitive painting process, exploring what feels right in the moment. This gentle, but expressive style has evolved through my love of landscape; informed by colours, memories and moments in nature.
I am also a part-time Art Director at Wonderbly, the lovely personalised book company, where I help visualise marketing campaigns from concepting, to photoshoots, to final designs. They are a lovely, talented bunch, who are always feeding my creative inspiration!
What are the steps you took to get you to where you are today?
I have always had a creative side of me. Since I was little, drawing and making have been a big part of my life. I studied illustration and I've always worked in this and graphic design. Working alongside some talented people in my creative jobs, (including working at Thought many years ago!) have helped build confidence in my abilities, and also enabled me to learn about the commercial side of making work. Finally, going freelance in my design & art direction gave me the flexibility and confidence to choose to spend more time on my art, which is ultimately what nourishes my soul! Getting my studio last year was a big step for me. I'd been painting out of my bedroom for so many years and it was so nice to finally get my own space, focus, create a mess, and not have to clear it up at the end of the day!
What was your inspiration behind the sock box paintings, and how did you develop your abstract style?
My inspiration behind the sock boxes came from a few places. I looked to the cutouts of Matisse for simplistic natural forms, and was also inspired by the shapes and varying colour tints in French Artist, Inès longvial's beautiful portraits. Using these as inspiration, I did initial line drawings and a rough tonal colour palette for each one. Combining my abstract style with more natural organic forms, the SS22 sock boxes were created! My abstract style has developed through years of experimenting with colour, layers and texture, pulling from nature as my main inspiration. My first large abstract commission came from my lovely manager Emma at Thought back in 2017 and I have never looked back!
What are you doing to live more thoughtfully?
I am trying to make small, conscious decisions to live more sustainably. In my studio, I always reuse cardboard and any packaging I receive from other parcels. Any packaging I do buy, is from eco-friendly or sustainable sources and I try to reuse any plastic food pots for paint mixing! I also give old tshirts & clothes a second life as rags. I have a giant reusable drinks water bottle that keeps me hydrated whilst I paint!
At home - I cycle everywhere! I don't know what I would do without my bike. I will use public transport if necessary, but rarely will use a car, especially for small journeys. I try and choose clothing that is timeless to build my wardrobe, often buying second-hand or vintage, and thinking about the cost per wear. TRAID in Dalston has been a favourite of mine for finding some special second hand pieces! I'm also much more conscious now of the fabrics I'm buying, trying to opt for natural & sustainable over synthetic.