MADE BY HAND

LUKE ED­WARD HALL CROSSES ARTIS­TIC AND COM­MER­CIAL BOUND­ARIES WITH HIS DE­SIGNS, IL­LUS­TRA­TIONS, FAB­RICS, CE­RAM­ICS – EACH A SIN­GU­LAR CRE­ATION.

The Australian - Wish Magazine - - MOTORING - STORY MITCHELL OAK­LEY SMITH

In­sta­gram can, on oc­ca­sion, cause you to stum­ble upon some­thing quite re­mark­able. Be­tween the memes and self­ies, the work of Lon­don-based artist Luke Ed­ward Hall stands out as unique, his im­ages show­cas­ing much of his hand­i­work as dis­played and used in his eclec­ti­cally dec­o­rated Lon­don flat. And in an age of mass pro­duc­tion, that which bears the hand of the artist – the one-off – be­comes more valu­able. “I work by my­self, and I’m not a big busi­ness,” Ed­ward Hall says from his art stu­dio in Cam­den, inner Lon­don.

“Ev­ery­thing to my name is cre­ated by me, whether that’s hand-painted ce­ram­ics or small-scale runs on var­i­ous prod­ucts, and when I do col­lab­o­rate with a larger brand or busi­ness I try to be care­ful about keep­ing ev­ery­thing con­trolled so that it still re­tains some­thing unique. I like the idea of things be­ing spe­cial when there is just so much stuff out there.”

While he grew up al­ways paint­ing and draw­ing, the Hamp­shire-born Ed­ward Hall had no idea he would make a ca­reer out of it. In­ter­ested in fash­ion as a teenager, he went on to study menswear fash­ion de­sign at pres­ti­gious Lon­don art school Cen­tral Saint Mar­tins. Upon grad­u­a­tion in 2012, Ed­ward Hall went on to work

for renowned ar­chi­tect and in­te­rior de­signer Ben Pen­treath for two years, whose Lon­don bou­tique, Pen­treath & Hall, has since hosted a pop-up of Ed­ward Hall’s works. “I al­ways wanted to set up my own thing,” he says, and with the rising pop­u­lar­ity of In­sta­gram, and thus the ex­po­sure of his de­signs and art­works to a broader au­di­ence, Ed­ward Hall be­gan re­ceiv­ing spe­cial com­mis­sions. “I re­ally made an ef­fort to put my­self out there, post­ing im­ages and de­sign­ing fab­rics and re­ally shar­ing my world, un­til fi­nally I got enough work to set up my own thing.”

In the years since es­tab­lish­ing his self-named de­sign stu­dio in late 2015, Ed­ward Hall has amassed a sig­nif­i­cant client list. His de­signs and il­lus­tra­tions have been com­mis­sioned by Bri­tish lux­ury house Burberry (chief cre­ative of­fi­cer Christo­pher Bai­ley hosted an event at the Re­gent Street flag­ship store to cel­e­brate the cam­paign); Amer­i­can hand­made slip­pers com­pany Stubbs & Woot­ton; and iconic ho­tels in­clud­ing the Parker, Palm Springs. “Ev­ery day is dif­fer­ent,” he says of this unique mix, which has seen his art re­pro­duced across vel­vet slip­pers, ce­ram­ics and menus, as well as dis­played as sin­gu­lar pieces of art. “When I set up my busi­ness it was my dream to work across a range of dif­fer­ent projects, and what that means is that one day I’ll be do­ing some il­lus­tra­tions, the next paint­ing pots, the next sourc­ing pieces for an in­te­rior de­sign project ... it’s def­i­nitely what keeps it feel­ing fresh.”

As part of its re­cent re­design by Martin Brudnizki (see our story on page 48), The Blooms­bury Ho­tel in Lon­don now fea­tures Ed­ward Hall’s art­works through­out its bar and restau­rant, fit­tingly named after the Vir­ginia Woolf char­ac­ter Mrs Dal­loway. And in ev­i­dence of his global reach, Ed­ward Hall has also col­lab­o­rated with Sydney-based jew­ellery de­signer Lucy Folk on a cap­sule col­lec­tion of lim­ited-edi­tion pieces, in which mo­tifs from some of his draw­ings have been re­pro­duced on gold neck­laces, rings and ear­rings.

“He popped up in my In­sta­gram feed,” Folk says of the col­lab­o­ra­tion. “I loved the sim­plic­ity yet in­nate quirk­i­ness of his work, whether in his use of colours, medi­ums or the dif­fer­ent sub­jects he draws. There’s a sub­tle beauty to them, and I felt like there were some sim­i­lar­i­ties in the way our pieces are con­ceived. I think the col­lec­tion is re­ally spe­cial and quite elab­o­rate.”

The com­mon thread in Ed­ward Hall’s work, and part of what has pro­pelled his as­cen­sion, is his affin­ity for the past. Not that what the 28-year-old artist cre­ates seems by any means out­dated. In­deed, the whim­si­cal naivety of his free­hand style – which brings to mind a mix of ref­er­ences as dis­parate as Pablo Pi­casso and the Mod­ernists, David Hock­ney and the Blooms­bury Group – seems, in to­day’s dig­i­tal age, in­cred­i­bly mod­ern. “I’m ab­so­lutely in­spired by the ro­man­ti­cism and nos­tal­gia of the past,” he says. “Peo­ple of­ten ask whether I should have been born in a dif­fer­ent decade, and it’s true, I love read­ing about dif­fer­ent eras, es­pe­cially the 1920s and 1930s. Not ev­ery­thing [I cre­ate] nec­es­sar­ily has a his­toric thread to it, but what I’m pas­sion­ate about is mak­ing things by hand, which is of­ten re­ally rare to­day.”

That Ed­ward Hall’s work is both pro­duced com­mer­cially and ex­hib­ited ar­tis­ti­cally is ev­i­dence of his cross-dis­ci­plinary ap­peal, and fol­low­ing his in­clu­sion in a group ex­hi­bi­tion, Young Bright Things, at the David Gill Gallery in 2016, as well as his cu­ra­tion of an ex­hi­bi­tion, Young Hearts, of art and ob­jects made by artists un­der 40 at auc­tion house Christie’s, his work will next month be on show in a solo ex­hi­bi­tion at Alex Ea­gle Stu­dio (see our story on page 60).

“I’ve been work­ing to­wards this and I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to it, think­ing of things that I can cre­ate to add to it, like a book, per­haps,” he says. “There are some dream projects in the fu­ture – I re­ally love work­ing on ho­tels and around food – but this ex­hi­bi­tion is keep­ing me hap­pily busy right now.”

“Not ev­ery­thing has a his­toric thread to it, but what I’m pas­sion­ate about is mak­ing things by hand.”

Clock­wise from top left: an in­te­rior for Tal­is­man an­tiques shop with mu­ral by Luke Ed­ward Hall; Flower Prince vase; Orb Glim­mer; Anti­nous drinks ta­ble with The La­quer Com­pany; Luca cush­ion; Ro­man Viper

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