Thursday, 11 July 2013

E-interview with Surface Pattern Designer, Wendy Flynn

This month's e-interview is with an artist from London who specialises in Surface Pattern Design and Illustration, Wendy Flynn.

Wendy's website
          Wendy's blog
Wendy on facebook
         Wendy on twitter

As usual, I began by asking Wendy: 

When did you first realise that you were an artist? 
I suppose when i was very young, it is all i ever wanted to do. I was always drawing and making things as a child and helping everyone else with their drawings in junior school! 

Have you had formal art/design/illustration training?
Yes I  have a BA in graphic design from Bath Spa; I spent most of the time in the colour darkroom and on the computer and they didn't quite know how to pigeon hole me at the end of the course as none of the other Illustrators were using those processes, which seems bonkers now as so many people only use the computer! It was only 1998! You were well ahead of the rest of us then, Wendy!!!

So, Wendy, what was the most important thing you learnt from your course? Tricky but I think it was actually something a tutor on my foundation course told me which was: to subvert the brief, i.e make it my own. That was my turning point on my degree course. I was having a really hard time in typography class and had contacted my old tutor. His advice to make it my own totally changed the way I worked. And my B+ in typography that term is all down to making an illustration out of tin foil and pink fake fur! I wish we could see it!

What is your favourite medium? 
I love Ink and a dip pen or a sharpened stick and adding colour in Adobe Photoshop.

Which artists/designers/illustrators inspire you, Wendy?
Orla Keily  for her simplicity and Miroslav Sasek for his great Illustrations

That looks like my Early Seventies Kenwood I see there, Wendy!

I see your business name is Doris and Fred, named after your grandparents. How long has your business been up and running?
Seriously, as Doris and Fred, since I graduated from the ABSPD course this year, although I was using the name before that for freelance work and my etsy and folksy shops since about 2008.

You mentioned your etsy and folksy shops - where else do you sell your work? 
These are my other outlets at the moment -


Do you enjoy the business side of things, Wendy? 
No! I hate talking about my work! I find it very hard to sell myself and really hate talking money! I think i need an agent!

Have you had any training in the art business? 
I took the Rachael Taylor course which has been really helpful.

Why did you decide to specialise in Surface Pattern?
I worked in a trend studio for 6 or 7 years and I learned to make patterns there, I really enjoyed it and have just sort of carried on, I tried a few other artistic avenues but have come back to pattern now that i have a family as it is (I hope) something I can do from home and juggle around family life. 

Do you find that the business side of things takes up more time than you would like?
Yes and the social media which seems so important takes up a lot of my time. I can relate to that completely!

Are you working alone or do you have help? 
I work alone.

Do you enjoy that?
Yes actually most of the time I do although I am easily distracted so sometimes I should have someone to pull me back to what I should be doing. I suppose it would be nice to work with a few others but I also like that as I work from home, I don't waste time getting to and from a studio and can work when ever I have the time.

Do you paint or draw regularly?
Yes I draw regularly and even more so since doing the ABSPD course, I had forgotten just how much I enjoy doodling. I do need to get back into making a mess with paints and such but at the moment, I just don't have the space.

Are you still doing what you originally set out to do?
Yes, I think I am; it is just taking me a little bit longer to get there than I had planned.

That's to be expected with a little boy to take into consideration! How many hours per week do you manage to work?  I would say 20 - 30 hours a week. I have help with my little boy 2 days a week and then pretty much work everytime he naps and in the evenings

Do you have regular contact with other artists?
Only online, but that is a great support. Yes, I think that's great too!

What is your biggest achievement - or the one that pleases you most - so far? Having my designs in Urban Outfitters In the US. It was only as a freelancer but it felt great to see designs that I created from scratch on their website and in stores. Wow! That IS an achievement, Wendy!

Is there anything you would like to change about your art business
I would love more time on it but while my little boy is small I need to give him my time and enjoy him, there will be plenty of time, once he is at school, to concentrate full time on Doris & Fred.

And finally, what are your plans for the future?
To find an agent and build my portfolio, then take over the world! Well, maybe not the last bit! But an agent would be beneficial to me, I think. It would allow me to focus my limited time on creating new work and still spend time with my family. 

Wendy, I'm sure all our readers will join me in wishing you joy and success in all your endeavours and in thanking you for taking the time and trouble to answer my questions. I'm sure your replies will provide someone, somewhere with just the information or inspiration (or both!) that they need!

If you have enjoyed this interview and would like to get to know Wendy and her work better, here are the links to her website, blog and social networking sites - 


Betsy B. said...

Judy, thank you so much for introducing us to Wendy.
Wendy, it was great to hear your story! I love your work. Congrats on being with Urban Outfitters. I look forward to seeing your future work.

Judy Adamson said...

Hi Betsy - thank you so much for your comment. I'll pass on your kind words to Wendy.

Wendy said...

Hi Betsy, Thanks very much for your lovely message. watch this space!