The first time I came along with Kerrie Hess’s work, I was impressed! I remember that my wish was to have all her illustrations on my walls. They are full of class, fashion, elegance and color. They are also chic, unique and timeless. Kerrie Hess is a famous Australian illustrator, with great talent, and this is so obvious, is not only my opinion. She is also a wonderful and gracious person, who when I asked to give me an interview was more than willing and I am more than grateful for the honor. You will understand that Kerrie Hess is an amazing professional and a great woman, with whom we talked about many interesting things. We also have the opportunity to learn about her work and we came one step closer to her beautiful, oh so beautiful drawings!
Lina Grivogianni: Would you like to tell us how did you decide to become an illustrator?
Kerrie Hess: Drawing and illustrating was something that I did all throughout childhood, and after studying Graphic Design at university I thought I would try illustrating full time… It’s now been fourteen years now since then, and I truly feel lucky every day to still be doing something that I love.
Lina Grivogianni: How difficult was it for an Australian girl to work for such famous clients as Chanel, Chloe and Lola, Harpers, Bazaar, Kate Spade , L’avion, Louis Vuitton , Myer, Net-a-Porter, The Brown Trading Co, Vogue and so many more.
Kerrie Hess: Not that difficult really with the internet now making the world so much smaller! Plus living in Paris last year was great for face to face work with some of my favorite French fashion brands. Working with Louis Vuitton Paris in January was certainly a high point! (And I did pinch myself a little bit during that job.)
Lina Grivogianni: Your work, perfectly depicting the wonderful world of fashion, has created some ‘timeless’ images. Who is your favorite designer and what inspires you?
Kerrie Hess: I am quite inspired by the work of Australian fashion designer Collette Dinnigan. Likely because her designs are timeless and in many ways ‘trendless’, which is something I strive for in my illustration work. I tend to avoid illustrating too many trends so that my work (hopefully) doesn’t date. I also love the simple quirky aesthetic of Kate Spade New York, and have been lucky enough to work with these both brands and designers. Additionally I really admire the work of Oscar de la Renta, Marc Jacobs and Diane von Furstenberg; as well as Australian designers Sass and Bide, Ellery and Dion Lee.
Lina Grivogianni: Recently, in the summer, you had an exhibition, “The Ethics of Style”, tell us about it. What was included and how did you prepare that exhibition?
Kerrie Hess: This was a group exhibition of six fashion illustrators from around the world, and was all about sustainability in fashion. My relationship to this is that my limited edition prints (www.kerriehess.bigcartel.com) all use local paper, inks and packaging to where I live. Rather than have my prints printed overseas which would be less expensive but involve a bigger carbon footprint and less chance for me to check the quality before every print goes out! I happened to exhibit ten pieces in the exhibition, and it was exciting to see a sea of red dots when I arrived at the opening. Lovely and unexpected!
Lina Grivogianni: It’s obvious that you love fashion. Do you follow fashion religiously? How do you choose what to buy and how to dress?
Kerrie Hess: I do love fashion! But I’m not a slave to it. I like to buy most pieces that are classic and timeless as well as the odd extravagant piece. And I do try and avoid anything that might be ‘out’ next season. If in doubt, I would say buy less, but buy better. Having had to live with the size of a small Parisian wardrobe taught me to only buy high quality pieces that I loved.
Lina Grivogianni: What is the most important piece in a wardrobe in your opinion?
Kerrie Hess: I can’t split between a little black dress, fitted black blazer and dark slim fit blue jeans.
Lina Grivogianni: What makes an illustrator great? What makes an illustrator shine and be one of the kind, like you?
Kerrie Hess: Thank you for the compliment! I think the number one thing is that you have to love what you do; because that will translate into your work, as well as be unique. Confidence takes practice, and reminding yourself to enjoy every job that you take, helps too.
Lina Grivogianni: Which time of the day do you prefer to work?
Kerrie Hess: I am always most productive in the morning post coffee! Dark chocolate by my side.
Lina Grivogianni: You have published books and you have also a series of cards, how did you make the decision to do all that?
Kerrie Hess: Writing and illustrating Shoestring Chic was a side project that I was thrilled to see published. I had written and illustrated a few children’s books, but was dying to work on a book title in fashion that I felt passionate about and could bring to life with illustrations. Greeting cards have really been an extension of that. I would love to do more of these in the future… It’s just a matter of making time!
Lina Grivogianni: Do you have any plans for the foreseeable future? Which are they?
Kerrie Hess: I am really enjoying living back in Australia, so just catching up with friends and family and setting back up here has been my most important plan. Trying to find a balance between work and family is my goal for 2014. Spending quality time with my son Marcel, and setting up home is my main focus.
Lina Grivogianni: Which is your biggest dream that hasn’t come true yet?
Kerrie Hess: I think the key for me is to not think too far ahead and try and stay in the moment. I always believe that the best is yet to come… That said, something that I never expected to happen was to see billboards of my work up in Paris earlier this year for Printemps Department Store!
Lina Grivogianni: Have you ever been to Greece? I believe that the scenery and the colors would be a huge inspiration for you.
Kerrie Hess: Only to Santorini, but it was one of my most memorable holidays. I fell totally in love with the white washed walls, and crystal blue water, chic cafe’s as well as the black sand beaches. The latter being something that we never see in Australia! And Greek food is quite amazing too. I didn’t want to leave!
Lina Grivogianni: Macaroons and Fashion: how close are they?
Kerrie Hess: Yes, Macaroons are probably the most ‘fashionable’ food trend… Although they were being replaced by Choux pastry when I was leaving Paris! I think the brand La duree is probably responsible for the macaroon trend.
Where you can find more information about Kerrie Hess illustrations :
• limited edition prints: www.kerriehess.bigcartel.com
The interview will be also published in Greek in the next days…. Η συνέντευξη θα δημοσιευτεί στα ελληνικά, τις επόμενες μέρες.