illustrator kerrie hess

Kerrie Hess is living many people's dream life. She was born in Melbourne but has worked in London as a graphic designer for The Independent newspaper magazines. During this time she was commissioned for illustration work, and now works for clients such as Chanel, Alexander McQueen and Vogue Australia. More recently she has moved to Paris, where she is currently based, with her husband and son. For pics of her Parisian apartment, which was featured in Madison magazine and shot by Carla Coulson (interviewed here) go here. Kerrie has also just released her first book - Shoestring Chic.

Which five words best describe you? Romantic, loyal, creative, eclectic, and positive.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I started working as a graphic designer in London for The Independent Newspaper magazines, and began to illustrate for them on the side. I realised that although I still love design, illustration was my real passion. More and more illustration work started to just trickle in from there, including Vogue Australia, which have been one of my best clients for the past 11 years! I feel so very lucky to be able to work as an illustrator full time and genuinely feel excited to get up in the morning for work.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Politeness and hard work can take you a long way.

What’s your proudest career achievement? Probably getting Shoestring Chic published. Especially as there were several rejection letters along the way! In the end I was so happy to have found a small publisher that really gave me creative license with the book which is a real luxury in the creative world. Client-wise, working for Chanel, and Christian Louboutin are obviously proud moments. And on a local front, I have adored working with Vogue on the Fashion's Night Out campaigns recently; as well as windows for Sambag and their new range of tote bags in partnership with The Australian Ballet.

What’s been your best decision? Having my son Marcel. He's nearly three now. And always manages to remind me to stay in the present moment rather than dwell on the past or even think too much about the future. I think creative people in particular have trouble staying in the present!

Who inspires you? My parents actually. They are such glass half full people that it's mad. Creatively, I am inspired by the likes of Grace Coddington for styling, Collette Dinnigan for dresses, Diane Von Furstenberg for an incredible career and Kelly Wearstler for homewares.

What are you passionate about? I'm passionate about simple things. Time with my son. Doing work that I feel proud of. Dark chocolate and raspberry tarts. Chatting as often as possible with my family. The perfect cashmere sweater. Crunchy 'traditional' baguettes and stealing a moment for a cup of tea on our tiny balcony to gaze over the rooftops. These things are really the initial thoughts behind Shoestring Chic. I love fashion and always try to buy less but buy better. But if I had to choose between a great holiday, or an expensive handbag, I would always take the holiday. Little luxuries and great experiences are my passion. Plus my wardrobe here in Paris is so damn small that I literally don't have room to buy anything that I don't really love!

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Alfred Hitchcock.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? I try to not make too many long-term lists. Otherwise I find myself thinking that 'I'll be happy when...' rather than just being happy right now. That said, I would like to polish my French and teach my son how to ride a bike. On the travel front, I am dying to get back to London and also visit New York while I am living on this side of the world. I always come back from New York feeling inspired.

What are you reading? I am an absolute book worm who is resisting kindle! I love turning actual pages and my favourite book haunt here in Paris is WH Smith in Concorde. (Which is one of only a couple of English language bookstores in the city.) I am currently reading French Lessons by Ellen Sussman. It's truly captivating. I also loved Heaven, Hell and Mademoiselle by H. C Carlton.

images courtesy of kerrie hess portrait carla coulson

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