Summertime! Brooklyn artist + illustrator Claudia Pearson helped us create a whimsical collection of tea towels and servingware that celebrate the season. From backyard barbeques to darling dachshunds — don’t miss Claudia’s cute collection for west elm! Claudia answers some questions about her inspiration, process and studio space in a quick Q+A…
What inspires you?
Surrounding myself with family — my two sons and husband, friends, great food, and a beautiful environment inspire me to create work that evokes all of this. Traveling to faraway places influences my illustration and most recently, when it’s been harder to get away with two children, the simple pleasures like a Saturday at the farmers market.
I recently took over the apartment beneath where we live and now have a wonderful, sun-lit studio dedicated to my creative needs. I can leave my home and walk down a flight of stairs to be in a peaceful place with no distractions.
How would you describe your work?
I first create my illustrations by hand, drawing with a pencil or a dip pen and Indian ink. Once I transfer it to the computer I then start layering and having fun experimenting with textures and pattern. Despite the use of the computer, I believe my work retains an organic and handmade feel and I love the blend of analog and digital. The ability to push and pull layers around allows me to try the unexpected and quite often discover new techniques.
Who are your favorite artists/designers and why?
Growing up in England I have a strong connection to David Hockney‘s work. His line drawings and compositions are beautiful. Then moving to New York I fell in love with Maira Kalman‘s work and her strong sense of humor.
What’s your approach to decorating?
I have quite a “laisser faire” approach to our home. It’s definitely an eclectic blend of vintage, new design mixed with modern African. We have lots of windows in our apartment — 13 in total — so plants play a prominent role. I also collect African barber shop signs so these grace the walls alongside paintings by friends and graphic screen prints. We have lots of art books and the various collections of LEGO models my sons are working on.
Tell us about your collection for west elm. How did it come together?
The line was born out of a great brainstorming session I had with the west elm creative team. Known for my graphic, food themed tea towels, we set about developing ideas around the beach BBQ. With this in mind, I researched images that evoked those late summer beach days surrounded by close one’s and started sketching. Then the fun layering and coloring part happened.
Other than west elm, where can we find your work?
In 2008 I started my own product line of tea towels, recipe cards, prints and coloring books. It’s been going really well and I sell every weekend at the Brooklyn Flea in Fort Greene. I’m also working on some great projects with Chronicle Books, the first of which will be available Fall 2012. I’m also collaborating with local chefs on cookery books and hope to start working on my second children’s book later this year.
SHOP CLAUDIA PEARSON + WEST ELM