A little Q&A with Cotton On that provides a little insight into Laura Wells of PHOLIO.
1. Tell us about how you came to live in the States
I have never lived in the one spot for more than six years at a time, it’s just how it always happens! It was coming up to my sixth year in Sydney so when the opportunity presented itself to head to the US for my husbands work it felt a little fate-like. We packed two suitcases each, our dog Django and that was it!
2. Tell us about where you live now. Best places for food/exploring/relaxing.
I am living in Lafayette, Louisiana the Deep DEEP South, right next door to New Orleans. I don’t think you can get more Southern than our little town. It is the home of the Cajun people and Zydeco music. Being so close to New Orleans we are never short of a jazz or blues band swinging into town. Everyone here either plays an instrument or is creative in some capacity. The visual art here has a strong folk influence from the communities Cajun and French Creole roots. As the people here are mostly from generations born and bread they have been able to preserve their history through the art and music scenes very well. The food scene is no different, it is strongly rooted in Creole/Cajun flavours with little influence from outside cultures. Crawfish boil ups are the signature dish here and it is not uncommon to see turtle soup and ‘gator on the menu of local restaurants and there is a fried chicken stop or barbeque pit on every second corner!
3. What do you miss most about Australia?
We miss our Aussie tribe of friends and family a lot, I’m fairly sure we are the only Australians in the village, and potentially the only expats!
4. What do you do when you’re not working?
When I’m not working I hang out with my 18 month old daughter, India, who was born here, and Django our dog. Eight months of the year it is HOT here - dense, humid, sweaty, HOT - so we are out of the house super early for a park trip or a walk in the forest, as you need to be inside by 9am in the warmer months. We hit the road quite frequently - As I write this I am sitting on a beach in Costa Rica! Our next big trip will be at the end of August, driving from Lafayette up to Yellowstone and back – dog and all.
5. Tell us about your illustrations for Cotton On
The illustrations for Cotton On are selected from an on going series of continuous-line Portraits. The continuous line technique is a classic visual artists’ technique used to study a subject’s form. After several years away from the studio I was using this technique to get back into my art practice. It took some courage but a couple of years ago I decided to post one of my line drawings on instagram and it all just grew from there. A few years in, the one-line works have now become a key part of my art practice.
I enjoy the continuous line process as it forces me to go with the flow of my pen. Although I sometimes still get caught up in doing drawing after drawing of the once subject, trying to reach perfection, the line is teaching me to not over think things and loosen up!
6. Where does your inspiration come from?
Inspiration form my line drawings comes from various sources – a life drawing class, a face angle I see in a publication, a photo of a friend, or quite often the person looking back at me in the mirror.
7. What’s your creative process?
My creative process is just to start, From there I let the artwork drive the process. I usually give my work some time and space and come back to it with fresh eyes – sometimes when you come back to it you see that it doesn’t need any more. Knowing when an artwork is ‘complete’, for me, is often the hardest step in the creative process.
8. What did you want to be when you were younger?
A mermaid… I’m not kidding… I used to dress like Jessica Alba in ‘Flipper’. Overalls and a bikini were not appropriate attire at the best of times but I refused to wear anything else.
9. How did you become interested in art?
I don’t know exactly how or when I became interested in art but I’ve always been a ‘maker’ – building, experimenting and creating things since I was little. Growing up overseas we travelled a lot and visited many of the big art museums and exhibitions so I was exposed to art and art history from a young age. It was actually my Grandmother who first discovered I had artistic talent, and although I was never pushed into visual arts, I think having a little natural ability gave me the confidence to work harder at it.
10. What’s your life motto?
A ‘motto’ that I always remind myself is – ‘Expect nothing, appreciate everything’. I also came across a quote more recently which I have adopted as a mantra to help combat the fear of failure - ‘Courage is not the lack of fear. It is acting in spite of it.’ – Mark Twain
11. Describe your personal style
My style is ever-changing, it can change daily depending on what mood I am in. I would say overall though my style is a little earthy, unisex with a side of bling. Day to day you will find me in a loose flared linen short, oversized shirt- always half tucked in as ‘polished’ does not suit me – and a stack of rings. These days I stick to basics with my clothes but go a little bolder with accessories – I have a mean sunglasses collection.
12. Favourite musician/band right now.
Jon Batiste, Gary Clark Junior and The Swamp Donkeys (a local jazz band)
14. What made you want to collaborate with Cotton On?
When Cotton On approached me to collaborate I saw it as a great opportunity to further share my artwork. It was however their ethical and sustainable framework and considerations that was the deciding factor. In the fifth annual Baptist World Aid Australia Ethical Fashion Report which assesses 114 fashion companies, comprising 407 brands – Cotton On ranked in the top 10.
15. Tell us about what you are seeing with the line art trend currently taking off.
I have definitely noticed more and more line artworks coming into the spotlight. I think that minimalist art is having its moment as with all the busyness and constant imagery we experience in today’s life, the simplicity that line art can achieve, provides a visual break.