You may have seen Edie Lawrence’s beautifully grotesque artwork around, she has directed, edited and produced videos for Pixx, Goat Girl, Hotel Lux and Meatraffle, revamped the interiors of Brixton’s beloved Windmill and featured in the latest Death Issue of hate. We caught up with Edie to learn more about her work, inspirations and why she finds it so hard to create anything aesthetically pleasing!
How did you first get into art, illustration and animation?
I’ve been painting, sculpting and drawing for as long as I can remember. I’ve always had a big interest in cartoons and comics so when I was younger I would subconsciously take a lot of inspiration from them. I remember as a kid I used to have the miniature Star Wars toy sets and paint a lot of models, unaware that these interests of sets and models would stick later in life. It wasn’t until I moved to Brighton to start a degree in Illustration that I was introduced to the idea of becoming an animator myself. It hadn’t really crossed my mind before then. Illustration allows you to explore different mediums and ways of working and I knew I didn’t want to tie myself to one medium too early. Those few years in Brighton allowed me to test the waters. I think I like animation because I can mix my passion for model making, film, drawing and storytelling into one.
What’s your favourite medium to work with?
It really varies. It’s nice to be able to switch between mediums and projects. As much as I love getting lost in the clay world I’m creating, I feel I go a bit mad when I’m sat in my blacked out room for too long. Sometimes I find it helps if I open up the blinds and paint / draw something, and start picking up pieces of what looks like the aftermath of a plasticine bomb that has gone off in the centre of my room. I’m lucky I work with different mediums- it means I can be constantly creating. I feel the best way to get rid of a creative block for me is just to switch the materials I’m using for a bit.
Can you talk us through your process? How do you take an idea and turn it from clay into something with such life?
Clay allows you to create something even more grotesque- you can easily caricaturize and over exaggerate features. You can really dig your fingers into eye sockets and cheekbones to make the person look even more hollow and gaunt. As it’s 3D it allows you to make these features ‘pop’ even more than a 2D cartoon.
You’re really involved with music/bands; making album covers and videos. Who are some of your favourite artists at the moment? Who would you love to work with?
I’ve been listening to a lot of blues and soul lately. I’d love to do a colab with Brittany Howard, her image, lyrics, and voice are great yet she seems so humble. She was speaking about being constantly told throughout her career that she didn’t have a shot at success due to her gender. I think that’s really relatable as a woman working in the film/animation industry. It’s important to have figures like Brittany around. Empowering women doing it completely their own way and merking it. It’s what young female creatives need to be surrounded by, especially in a time where things seem to be going more and more politically backwards, and women most certainly aren’t our world leaders main priority.
Your style is really unique! Where do you find inspiration?
I’m mostly inspired by people and various characters I come across day to day. I have a dictaphone attached to my keys. I’ve recorded some great cackles outside pubs and slurred arguments on the night tubes. I’ve also recently discovered ‘Animated Britain’ which is BFI’s free online archive of cartoons, which dates back to the early 1900s. I’ve found some really good short films on there. One of my favourites is called ‘Max Beeza and the City in the Sky’ which was released in 1977. It’s a story about how polluted the entire world has become and the planet is covered in a fog blanket, so poisonous that the remaining humans are evacuated into a sky scraper that’s 12 miles tall. The whole animation is set in that tower. The illustrations in it are really beautiful and it’s also a storyline that’s sadly even more relatable to our global crisis today.
What project are you most proud of so far?
I’m lucky to have collaborated with a lot of really talented musicians and although each project’s been pretty different from one another, they’ve all been successful collaborations. I’m completely self taught when it comes to animating so each project I’m developing and teaching myself a lot through trial and error. They’ve all been really supportive and keen to get me and my work involved which makes it all even more exciting. I think out of my portraits Boris and Theresa May might be my favourite…
Do you think it’s important for artists to get involved with politics?
Yes, definitely. Although some of my work seems a little more light hearted than other bits it’s all responding to something about society in a satirical way. To me our current politicians already look like a series of collectible cereal packet rubber clowns, so I find it quite easy to depict them that way out of clay. I struggle to create anything aesthetically pleasing, most of my works come out quite grotesque without necessarily trying to. Personally, I think it’s way more interesting to be saying something in your work, rather than for it to just be something pretty you can imagine on the front of a greeting card.