“I feel free when illustrating,” says Louise Jones. “There’s no right or wrong way to illustrate.” However, when the Melbourne-based illustrator and pattern designer was working for a wholesaler in the textile industry she got to a point where she felt frustrated with the lack of creativity. Shortly afterwards she went freelance and after starting a Tumblr blog A Side Project was approached to design a wallpaper pattern for a former Vogue writer/editor based in New York. The commission came from her interior designer and it was to create a bold floral pattern for a powder room in the editor's newly renovated Brooklyn home. “This was a dream project for me, as I have always wanted to design patterns for interiors so I felt very chuffed that my work was being recognised internationally, especially in New York!” Louise says.
Which five words best describe you? Loyal, caring, open, playful and fussy - so I’ve been told.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? After completing my Bachelor of Communication Design, I was hired as a junior graphic designer at a small design studio. I was led by two senior designers on varied design projects including website design, signage and branding. From my three years at this studio, I designed and illustrated interior and wall graphics for fashion and hospitality clients. These types of projects helped me discover my passion for illustrating and pattern design.
I decided to dip my feet in the fashion industry and landed a job as a textile designer for a wholesale company, where I was designing yardages for Target, Kmart and Jay Jays. I soon found out that creativity and originality wasn’t highly appreciated in this industry, and I became frustrated with the lack of creative opportunities. I had always wanted to work for myself, so it seemed like perfect timing. I quit my full-time job to start a freelance career, which was quite daunting as I had no clients. Fortunately, I found work through a recruitment agency, and some of my own client work too.
Even though I was enjoying working for myself, I found the freelance and client work wasn’t building towards my goals and where I wanted to drive my business. My good friend and textile designer, Shelley Steer, was also in the same situation as myself and we both wanted to be designing patterns for fashion and interiors. We decided to start a creative space where we could create our own pattern designs based on a monthly theme, so we started a Tumblr blog and named it A Side Project. I now have a small collection of patterns which has attracted local and international clients from the fashion and interior industries.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Believe in your work, and trust your gut instincts. It’s important to get feedback and help from others along the way, but ultimately only you know what feels right for you and your business.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Seeing my pattern on a pair of Abercrombie and Fitch shorts. The pattern was a custom tropical print commissioned by A&F for their Spring 2015 collection.
What’s been your best decision? Moving into a shared studio after working by myself for two years in my home office. I felt very isolated and trapped working from home, and I really craved the creative energy from working amongst like-minded people. By investing in a studio space, I felt more energised in my creative process. It was also the simple pleasures of bouncing ideas off others, seeing how others worked and just the general daily chit chat.
Who inspires you? Individuals who are passionate about what they do 9 to 5, and in everyday life. Plus all my studio buddies, they are all so inspiring and such a creative bunch.
What are you passionate about? Those that are close to me might say that I have a slight chair addiction, mostly of the midcentury era. I am also passionate about spending quality time with the ones I love, my family and friends. But most importantly my newly born baby girl, Grace, and my beautiful husband Ross.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? I'm struggling with this one, as I'm not entirely sure I would have the courage to approach someone I admired. But if I had to choose one, I would say the Dalai Lama.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? Designing and producing my own range of fabric and wallpaper, which is in the process as we speak. I also have a growing wish list of creatives and businesses that I would love to collaborate with.
What are you reading? The Science of Parenting by Margot Sunderland. When it comes to parenting, there is a lot of information out there which makes it hard to know what you should follow or not. The Science of Parenting is an evidence-based book on the science of parenting styles and their effects on children’s brains. This book appealed to us because of it’s evidence-based research, especially my husband because of his background in science.
images courtesy of louise jones