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Meet the artist: Clair Rossiter

Falmouth University alumniClair Rossiter had been on our radar for a while - her bold, colourful works of art giving us a sense of childhood nostalgia. When Clair agreed to do a collection exclusively for Whistlefish, we knew exactly what we wanted, little did we know the finished product would come out even better than we could have hoped.

Already, staff in the office have put in their orders - adamant they're for Christmas presents but admitting they'll be hard to part with. Here's a bit more info on the lady behind the prints...

So Clair, where are you currently based?

I’m currently living in Sutton, which is just outside of London. It’s where I grew up, and my studio space currently doubles up as my bedroom!

Are you trained or self-taught?

I did a degree in illustration at Falmouth University which was wonderful- I learnt so much and loved being able to live and breathe illustration for three years.  Cornwall has a very special place in my heart after spending so much time there.

So, how did you become a full-time illustrator?

After I graduated I was involved in New Designers, a graduate show in London. A lot of my initial contacts came from there. I knew that I wanted to pursue freelance work, so I emailed and posted my work to as many different magazines and publishers as I could. After a lot of perseverance I realized that this could potentially be my ‘proper’ job - a job that you can do in your pyjamas and often doesn’t feel like work.

Any mediums you prefer?

I mainly work in gouache and colouring pencils, but I’ve always enjoyed mixed media so I try to incorporate lots of different mediums. Quink ink and bleach is a great and magical combination that I use often. Collage is also beginning to feature much more in my work at the moment, a process that I’m really enjoying.

Sounds fantastic. Any preferred subjects for this mixed media work?

In my personal work dreamy night skies and multi coloured houses often appear! Maps and travel have constantly come up in my work over the past few years as well. Food is another subject that I love, as it leaves a lot of room to experiment more freely with media.

How would you describe your work?

People have described it as whimsical, and I hope it’s got a sense of joy to it too.

We can definitely vouch for the joy element! How do you stay inspired?

Places and buildings continue to inspire me, art exhibitions, other illustrators, even Pinterest...

We love a bit of Pinterest too. How about at home? What's that like?

Cosy! It has to be seeing as I live and work from the same place. I try and fill my tiny studio space with beautiful things to keep it an inspiring place to work, so there’s lots of lovely pottery and artwork that I’ve collected over time.

How about when you're away form home, where’s your favourite place to visit?

I have a real soft spot for Cornwall so that’s always high on my list. Lots of happy holidays have been spent in St Ives! Other than that I really enjoy exploring new cities - Barcelona has to be one of the most inspiring places I’ve been to.

You love Cornwall. A girl after our own heart! Where’s your favourite place down here?

Falmouth will always be my favourite place in Cornwall - full of lovely friends and happy memories! Padstow was probably my favourite map to illustrate as I love painting fishing boats and other sea-related things!

You've achieved so much already. What’s been your coolest ‘pinch me’ moment?

Seeing my first range of cards in Paperchase after graduating probably. It’s so exciting to see your work published when you’ve dreamt about it for most of your life!

What’s next for you?

I’m working on a few picture books over the next few months, which will keep me busy! I hope to keep enjoying what I’m working on and explore as many different areas of illustration as I can over the next year. I’d love to develop some more personal projects over the next few years, if I can make enough time to do so!