KRISTJANA S WIL­LIAMS

HER­ITAGE-IN­SPIRED FINE ART WITH A CON­TEM­PO­RARY TWIST

Computer Arts - - UNCOVERING LUXURY BRANDS -

Ice­landic artist Kristjana S Wil­liams stud­ied graphic de­sign and il­lus­tra­tion at Cen­tral Saint Martins and quickly gained crit­i­cal ac­claim as cre­ative di­rec­tor of Beyond the Val­ley for eight years.

In 2011, Wil­liams be­gan cre­at­ing fine art pieces, art prints, fur­ni­ture and more. Her in­spi­ra­tion comes pri­mar­ily from lay­er­ing na­ture upon na­ture and “the sym­me­try in all things liv­ing”, which stems from the artist’s child­hood.

Wil­liams sup­ports her artis­tic prac­tice by pro­duc­ing a grow­ing col­lec­tion of home­ware and in­te­rior prod­ucts in­clud­ing wall cover­ings, fab­ric and cush­ions sold on her per­sonal web­site, and via brand col­lab­o­ra­tions. She has a par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est in her­itage brands and nar­ra­tive-based art­works, fus­ing rich colours and hints of Vic­to­rian en­grav­ing to il­lus­trate their rich his­tory. “Clients like and re­spect the nar­ra­tive aspect of our work and the in-depth re­search be­hind it. I don’t re­ally li­cense my work be­cause of the be­spoke na­ture of most of the her­itage brand work I do. It’s best suited to nar­ra­tive, which is what I re­ally thrive on – whether it’s a com­mer­cial or client com­mis­sion or pri­vate com­mis­sion.”

PENHALIGON PER­FUME

In 2016, renowned Bri­tish per­fume house Penhaligon com­mis­sioned Wil­liams to cre­ate be­spoke nar­ra­tive­based pack­ag­ing il­lus­tra­tions for the brand’s new range of fra­grances, af­ter the head di­rec­tor came across her art­work in the Con­naught Ho­tel. “They wanted to cre­ate a new col­lec­tion that was based on this make-be­lieve aris­to­cratic fam­ily,” says Wil­liams. “Their team had al­ready gath­ered a lot of his­tory and had been think­ing about the pack­ag­ing for ages – writ­ing down ideas.” The prod­ucts sold so well that Penhaligon grew and ex­panded the col­lec­tion. It’s a cre­ative col­lab­o­ra­tion that con­tin­ues to this day. “I think it of­ten de­pends on the com­mer­cial suc­cess of the prod­uct and how suc­cess­fully you meet the brief,” adds Wil­liams.

COL­LAB­O­RA­TION

As a part of the com­mis­sion, Wil­liams de­signed a num­ber of large-scale art­works to ap­pear in store win­dows and at point-of-sale, pro­mot­ing the new col­lec­tion in bou­tiques through­out the world. “The process was very col­lab­o­ra­tive and I re­ally en­joy work­ing with feed­back, so all the in­for­ma­tion we get I use to fuel my cre­ativ­ity,” she con­tin­ues. “With pack­ag­ing, you have to be mind­ful of lay­outs and folds and how the art­work works on this sur­face, but I think the more you do it the bet­ter at it you get. We al­ways make up ev­ery­thing

phys­i­cally in the stu­dio first, and do some ex­per­i­ments to see if the de­sign is work­ing.”

GET YOUR WORK SEEN

Es­tab­lish­ing your place in the art world takes time, and Wil­liams urges artists and in­te­rior designers to take ev­ery op­por­tu­nity they can to show their work to the world. “Re­search and look at all the dif­fer­ent art fairs and get your work out there what­ever way you can, how­ever small you need to start. Even just tak­ing a few things and mak­ing posters and stick­ing them up on the wall, or send­ing out a small post­card,” she says. “If peo­ple see your work and like it, the op­por­tu­ni­ties will come in. Don’t worry about get­ting re­jected from the fairs either – it’s very com­pet­i­tive. Just ap­ply again the fol­low­ing year. Peo­ple do re­mem­ber you and peo­ple ad­mire per­se­ver­ance!”

KRISTJANA S WIL­LIAMS PHO­TOGRAPHED BY LEIGH KELLY

Penhaligon’s shop in cen­tral Lon­don

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