Illustrator, muralist and AOI Member Coco Lom has been recently interviewed by our friends and insurance company Williamson Carson, as part of their online journal articles. Titled “The one to watch: Coco Lom’s joyful & colourful art and photography is making waves”, we share an excerpt of the piece below.
Coco Lom is a young, London multi-disciplinary artist quickly making a name for herself. Known for her love of patterns, shapes and colours, Coco’s work has been seen underfoot on the Nike 5k Run route, as well as on walls and community planters across London. She’s been commissioned by clients including The Royal Parks Foundation, Shoreditch Studios, The Tree Council and Hackney Arts. With an upcoming exhibition at The Book Club in Shoreditch and a short film in the pipeline, we caught up with Coco to discover more about her inspirations and how she uses photography to inform her work.
You’re known for your love of pattern, shape and colour. Can you tell us about your journey and how you arrived at this point as an artist & designer?
I did an Art Foundation at Kingston Uni and then went on to do Illustration at Norwich University of the Arts. The course at Norwich was amazing as it encouraged us to explore all sorts of ways of making, from film, animation, textiles, photography and sculpture. I loved how varied our workshops and briefs were. When I graduated, I wasn’t sure which direction I wanted to go in or if I wanted to be self-employed, so I spent some time assisting and shadowing a range of creatives. I worked with set builders making giant puppets for The BRIT Awards, I worked with prop makers to design sets for music videos, and I even worked with food stylists and learnt how to tame a mountain of jelly! It gave me an insight into lots of different creative worlds and helped me discover the parts I particularly enjoyed, mural painting was one of them. While I was assisting, I started to get some personal commissions and decided to set off on that journey which, four years on, has led to me having my own business.
You’ve worked in a lot of mediums, creating art prints to clothes, installations and small and large scale indoor and outdoor murals. You’re also a photographer, capturing the amazing details that are often overlooked in daily life. Were you always inspired to work across such a large range, and what role does your environment play in your work?
I love working in lots of different areas and my work has always been quite varied. I enjoy researching and making in different ways, from photography and scanning to painting, filming and hosting creative workshops. It’s also super exciting to see my patterns and designs come to life on new things! Whether on a wall, piece of clothing, or in a community space. Environment plays a big role in my work, with the location and background of the space inspiring my commission designs. School, shop, venue or event, I love getting a new brief and a new world to explore.
Your photographs often inform your artwork. Can you tell us a little about your process?
Yes, photography is a massive part of my process! A lot of my inspiration comes from the different shapes, colours and patterns I see in the world around me. My photos often become the starting points for my projects and designs. For example, Shoreditch Studios, a photographic studio in East London, commissioned me to paint a mural in their entrance. The first thing I did was spend a day at their studio exploring and taking images of all the equipment cupboards and colourful props. Petrol blue scaffolding poles, coiled cables, bright yellow ladders and all sorts of bolts and clips! I then cut, collaged, and photocopied my photos back at my studio to create my final designs. It’s important for me that my murals are in some way inspired by their homes, whether it’s the location, the activities happening inside the space, or maybe the people within it….
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