If you’ve been out and about in Brilliant Brighton over the last few weeks, chances are you’ve seen our wonderful Brilliant Brighton banners brightening up the city centre streets! The banners (funded by local businesses to add fun to the city centre over the summer) have been designed by local artist Rosie Apps, following a call for commissions earlier in the year.
Find out more about our banner artist’s inspiration, processes and love of our fantastic city in our q+a:
Hi Rosie, how long have you lived in Brighton?
I moved to Brighton in 2016, after living in Sydney for a number of years. When returning to the UK I knew Brighton was where I needed to be. I had visited many, many times over the years and its awesome creative scene, incredible dining/bars, green stance, eccentricities, accepting attitude, and beach lifestyle really are unparalleled. Like many others, I adore it.
How did you become an artist?
I’ve always had my fingers in many creative pies, whether as an illustrator, artist, writer, editor, creative strategist, musician, or performer – and to be honest, I’ve spent many years pursuing as many of them as I can! This has led to my very diverse career path which has included working as a singer, performer, marketing for a record label, mural painter, writer, creative strategist, social media marketer, and, of course, as an illustrator! But when I started to take my ‘doodles’ more seriously? That was probably in my early 20’s, 15-odd years ago. When working in the music industry I shared some of my illustrations online and they started to gather attention, landing me some of my first gigs.
One of my first was being picked up by MTV to create installations/artwork for their whole London office space – a pretty epic first commission! After that, I just continued to keep illustrating and refining my style over the years and since then I’ve had the absolute pleasure of creating and illustrating on some brilliant projects and working for some incredible clients such as Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Converse, Posh Totty, Jetstar Airways, Officeworks and Bondi Beach Council (Australia) to name a few! I’ve still got my fingers in lots of creative pies and I feel very lucky with all the different projects and clients I work on.
Can you tell us a little about the processes behind your work?
My style is bold, colourful and detailed using a mix of black linework, accentuated by eye-popping, rainbow colours. My work also often draws inspiration from my love of travel, places I’ve visited, or where I (or you) call home. I like to celebrate each of our ‘special places’, whether it’s championing the places we live, holiday, or just places we connect with. Over the years this has led to me creating a number of intricate, beautifully illustrated hand-drawn maps which have proved popular.
My process mostly starts the same, with me sketching on paper, so I can get my initial ideas down first. I then toy around in my sketchbook to firm things up, before going digital on the computer, usually in Illustrator using my Wacom tablet. This is where I finalise any line work and add any colour. If I’m painting murals or ‘real life’ work, the process is of course slightly different, but the sketching process always remains the same. The only difference is I get my paints out at the end, something I love!
Where do you work from?
I work from home. Usually, wherever I can find a quiet spot without my children running circles around me which is easier said than done!
What was the inspiration behind your work for the Brilliant Brighton banners?
My first thought was one of a real sense of responsibility (!!) – I adore Brighton, as I know many, others do too, so I was thinking about how I encapsulate our love for Brighton within the banner space. My next thought was of CELEBRATION: how can I connect directly with residents or visitors and encourage feelings of pride or happiness to be in Brighton the moment they look up and see these banners? I felt the best way to do this was through typography/words to get directly to the point. I then knew to celebrate the beauty of Brighton, I needed to include a lot of COLOUR. So my choice of such a vibrant palette is designed to evoke these uplifting feelings. Hopefully, I’ve achieved what I set out to do.
How did it feel to know your work had been chosen?
Incredible. I was absolutely over the moon. I remember seeing the amazing banners a few years ago by the lovely Ilona Drew and thinking ‘I wish I could do something like that’. So when I saw the call out for artist submissions, I knew I had to apply as it really is a dream commission. When I was told I had been chosen as the artist for this year’s installation I was DELIGHTED. I’ve loved working on it, so thank you for choosing me.
How does it feel to see your designs in situ in the city centre?
A real pinch myself moment! I’m so proud. I can’t wait to take my two little boys on a bus ride around the city so they can spot the banners from the top deck. Ultimately, I hope these designs bring as much joy to others as they gave me creating them.
Does living in Brighton inspire your work at all?
Absolutely, how could it not? It really is a unique place to live, visit or spend time in – I’ve yet to find anywhere quite like it. So the designs are 100% inspired by Brighton, yes. In my wider work, my work is also inspired by the sea, the beach, and that sort of lifestyle. I also like to include a bit of tongue-in-cheek humour or little ‘quirk’ in my work, which also feels rather inspired by Brighton’s vibe too, doesn’t it?
It does indeed! What do you enjoy most about being an artist?
Oh, so many things – the freedom, fun and challenge of creating something out of nothing is just brilliant. I also love seeing my artwork on display or published. I get a pinch-myself moment every time someone buys one of my prints or chooses to display my artwork in their house. As an active collector of art prints and knowing how sacred wall space is in my house, the fact someone chooses MY work to hang on their walls really is the highest of compliments to me!
Finally… what do love most about living in Brilliant Brighton?
It just has a proper buzz about it. There’s really no other way to describe it. Walking through North Laine, The Lanes and city centre, dipping in and out of shops, boutiques and cafes with a coffee in hand (essential as a mum of two!), finding little gems and being part of that energy…winding down along the beachfront. I also love all the street art and graffiti everywhere – the little paste-ups, stickers, and bigger mural pieces, the more curated galleries…etc. The creative scene in Brighton is simply incredible, whether it’s art, music, or fashion. I just feel people are creating here and importantly there’s a feeling of creative movement. As a creative, that’s a great and very infectious energy to be around.
View Rosie’s designs on our Brilliant Brighton banners displayed in North Street, Western Road, Bond Street and Market Street (and proudly supported by Gaydio) until September.