Artist Interview: Olivia Linn
Pattern designer Olivia Linn created two beautiful new cushions for us as part of our Make it in Design 'science and space' brief. We love her space-themed illustrations, and asked her a little more about her work and inspiration.
How long have you been an artist?
I have always been very passionate about creating art. However it wasn’t until I got my illustration degree at SCAD, that I felt comfortable calling myself an artist.
How did your particular style develop? What were your influences?
Like many others I was intensely searching for my style in the beginning without much success. I decided to do a year project, where I made a small illustration every day in one particular sketchbook (dating them to keep track). Already by mid-year I had discovered my style. As for my influences, I draw a lot from travelling and experiencing different cultures.
Which artists have inspired you?
A lot of artists have inspired me over the years. One of my all time a favorites is Ola Volo. I find her art just absolutely stunning and captivating.
How did you take the step to start selling your art?
I started freelancing at the end of college. I sent out unsolicited applications, as well as promo postcards and emails to art directors. I landed a t-shirt design job right out of college and used the opportunity to get experience and learn the ins and outs of working in a fast paced design industry.
How did you start promoting yourself?
I sent out lots of emails and postcards. I would not say it was very effective in the beginning - actually I got most of my work from posting my designs online. The best promotion I had was very happy clients. I went above and beyond to deliver and used word of mouth to get more work.
What's been the biggest challenge you've had to overcome as an artist?
I think a lot of artists can identify with struggling selling themselves. I love everything about creating the work, working to briefs, solving problems creatively, but I dislike the administrative stuff especially cold calling.
What's the best piece of advice you could give to emerging artists, from your experience?
Draw, paint, doodle, whatever you do, do it every single day. When you have no work, keep working on personal projects. The more you create, the more creativity you will have, the more jobs you will attract. Submit to competitions. Get your work out there to be seen.
How did you find the live brief process? How did you decide on a design?
I loved the live brief process. It was very open to creative interpretation and all styles. I sketched different ideas and picked my favorite sketch and just went for it.
In an ideal world, what would you be doing?
In an ideal world I would be living of freelance illustration and design work, maybe even well enough to be able to do pro bono work for organizations I would like to support.
What three things could you not live without?
This is a hard one. Excluding the basic needs, I would say I would have a hard time living without friends, books and art supplies.