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