Lauren Mortimer is Central St. Martins graduate, who gained a degree in Fashion Communication with Promotion in 2009, and is a London based illustrator with tender love of nature. Her favorite tool is a pencil, with which she creates playful images, usually of children and animals. But her repertoire of works is growing as she challenges herself with various projects: illustrating album covers, books, magazines, websites and even designing vintage style tins for a tearoom in Paris.
1Granary would like to thank Lauren for telling us about her work and sharing with memories of fun times at Charring X.
Tell us about yourself/ what is your background and how did you get into CSM?
I’m originally from London, though I was born in Tucson, Arizona. I was always very creative so, for me, it was a very easy decision and a natural progression to go to Art College. (I did Photography, Fine Art, History of Art, and Graphic Design for A-levels, just to give you an idea!) I had always been more of an artist, but on my art foundation, fashion suddenly became an exciting direction for the future. St Martins was the best college, so I applied!
How was it to be FCP student at CSM?
It was fun! It was the smallest fashion course, with only 12 of us, so we all knew each other pretty well. The White Project was the second project we did, which involved us organizing the fashion show and directing it. I remember wearing a white boiler suit, standing amongst fallen leaves that we’d collected that week. I did sometimes feel that we sometimes didn’t work quite as hard as some of the other fashion students, and in the first year, we all had so much fun! (It got a lot more serious after the first year though!)
Any cool projects you done at school that you go back to even now?
I loved the album cover project that I did. I’ve done album cover commissions since leaving college, so yes, you could say I’ve gone back to do that project.
Are there crazy and fun stories you would like to share?
In the second year, we felt that St Martins had lost its rebelliousness that it had always been known for. We all managed to get up onto the roof at Charing Cross Road, and ended up getting told off by security.
What are your most cherished memories?
Although I only graduated in 2009, St Martins seems like a really long time ago. I think the most cherished moment I’ll take away with me is the Charing Cross Road leaving party. Set up by the Fashion department, it was an amazing night! Pulp played in one of the studios, and upstairs in one of the life drawing studios, we drew and wrote on all the walls. I drew on the easel boards, and people danced on the tables. It was crazy! Like I’d imagined it was back in the 70’s. After that night, I felt very proud to have studied there, and particularly at Charing Cross Road.
CSM student is … Too cool for school.
Why did you choose to become an illustrator?
I love it! It was natural for me! I remember during my year in industry, my friends were much more excited and passionate about the fashion industry than I was. I knew then, that when I graduated I would pursue illustration. I started from scratch, trying to build up a portfolio, and exhibiting, and doing as much as possible. I can’t believe how far I’ve come since then.
What is your favorite technique/media? Why?
Pencil. For such a simple tool, you can do so much with it! You can create so many tones and textures, and if you make a mistake, you can just rub it out! (I know illustrators who use ink, for example, who go through loads of paper to just get that one image that’s right.)
What are you working on now?
I’m illustrating a couple of books. One is about the Boston Tea Party, published by Penguin, so that’s very exciting, and the other is a literary cocktail book, so I have to draw very funny, if not surreal images of cocktails inspired by famous novels. I’m also designing three vintage style tins for a tearoom in Paris.
What is your dream project in future?
That’s a tough one. I’ve worked on very different projects this year. I’m still learning as well, so different projects challenge me. My dream project would be working with someone I really respected, and was able to create something that I loved and that other people loved too.
What and who inspires you?
Henry Darger and Marcel Dzama are my favourite artists! I get a bit giddy when I look at their work. They both have such narrative in their work, and are both quite dark in their own way as well. I love nature; it really inspires me! I watched Samsara the other day, and it made me really emotional. The world is such a fascinating and beautiful place. You can’t mess with nature! But in London, it’s easy to forget about it!
You are happiest when…surrounded by beautiful things and nature.
I’ve finished sketches, they are approved and I can get on with the finished drawing! I have friends and family around me.