Harrods Sweet Street

I’m excited to share a project I worked on with one of my great clients Harrods. The team recently launched the Sweet Street area on the fourth floor of their inimitable Knightsbridge store, and wanted to make the entrance from one side have impact.

 

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I was asked to create a piece of wall art for this; which would give a good teaser to the sweet shop space, but also be tasteful and in keeping with the wider store area.

The project was a new challenge for me; when you get used to being commissioned for similar types of project, you can run the risk of getting too comfortable with the relatively small remit of work that you do. With this in mid it was so nice to be trusted by Harrods for the project.  It also felt good to push myself out of my self imposed comfort zone and do something that felt at times scary and daunting, but also great, to rely on and be confident in my own ability.

 

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For the design I wanted to create something quite free and playful; picking up the existing colours in the pop up, and incorporating a sense of movement. The process from my initial drawings to installing the illustration into the space was pretty quick, and it was a cool learning experience to see the attention to detail and work that goes into a massive store like Harrods, to keep it looking beautiful and to such a high standard all the time.

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Excuse my night time iphone photographs! The wall art is in Harrods now, so go and treat yourself to a colourful sweet treat and have a look.

To commission a piece from me head here

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My love affair with the vintage photo…

I never really planned it this way, but a good proportion of the work I do as an illustrator consists of commissioned portrait work. I kind of fell into doing this; I always did it for my own friends and was used to doing similar stuff commercially but when my friend Sophie asked me to do a little drawing of her and her mum for her birthday present, I said I couldn’t do that and it wouldn’t look right. She characteristically insisted (I love that about her) and her mum loved the drawing. From doing this little piece as a favour, (I think she paid me in a delicious lunch made by her at the design studio we worked at together at the time) I got asked to do another and then another. Through good old word of mouth; the main medium that I’d never underestimate, and some sharing online I now do hand painted pencil and watercolour portraits and send them to a range of different types of people all over the world.

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I have painted families, groups of friends, lovers, brides and grooms, grooms and grooms, brides and brides! beloved pets, people that have passed, people right at the start of their lives and people towards the end. In short with my pencil I’m lucky enough to be asked to capture something special and meaningful for such a wide range of people. When someone comes to me wanting to trust me with an image that’s special to them and having me paint from it it’s so great, as it’s never going to be the same experience twice. I learnt quite early on the kinds of images that work well with my style, movement, laughter and candid shots work best, and I’ve been sent grainy camera phone images right along to studio professional posed photographs, and made them work.

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One type of image I really fall for when commissioned by someone is a vintage printed photograph. This week I just completed a drawing from a regular commissioned client, who sent me a photograph of his parents from their wedding, 40 years ago. There’s something so beautiful about these types of images, from the 70’s and 80’s which I just love so much. I think working from a printed and scanned photograph already gives the image a painterly feeling, which works so well when worked on in paint. Perhaps my love for these types of image is a reaction to the flood of images I see on a daily basis as an instagram…and general internet user. The beauty of these images isn’t supposed to be in highly edited perfection, but in capturing a moment, and as time goes by and fashions and aesthetics change, I as the viewer can appreciate this little capsule even more.

 

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I’m in one of those age brackets who even in my thirty years has seen the way we take photographs change almost year on year. From my dad’s beautiful Canon film camera which he carried around for much of my childhood documenting sunny days in the garden, my family’s swathes of clashing 80’s print and ice creams dripping down mine and my brothers little chins, to my teenage use of disposable cameras; posing withfriends with Spice Girls inspired not-yet-self conscious sass. Through to university days of bringing a cheap digital camera out with me to parties; sending it on a pass the parcel around the room and finally collecting it at the end of the night and posting the results to an unedited album on facebook, for everyone to greedily devour along with their hangover breakfasts the next day. Now to modern day with instagram posts, constant documentation and sometimes false realities, it’s definitely a strange metamorphosis. Perhaps it’s seeing this change that gives me this love for the older, an aesthetic not yet tinged with the need for likes.

I’ve shared some of my favourite vintage image work that I’ve done over the last couple of years or so. There’s something about these images which range from a Wedding in 1970’s Texas, to a very cool 1980’s dad and a family portrait where you can almost feel like you’re in an living room that sits somewhere between Abigail’s party and Mad Men.

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Perhaps it’s the domesticity combined with the element of the ‘special occasion’ of these images that draws me to them so much. I love that now we can take ten pictures next to a far flung waterfall on holiday and not think anything of it or document what’s happening every day if we want to, and find some beauty to that, but I think I’ll also always love the singularity of the vintage photograph. To bring me back to that feeling I have when I’m painting; of capturing a moment that’s special.

Shop my commissions HERE

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♡C&T ♡

instagramrsvp_front_instasticker_insta I was so excited to be asked to design and paint my first ever wedding invitations. This also included RSVP's and little stickers to stick to the envelopes. I feel they turned out so well, and I even got sent pictures of people opening them and sending snaps to the bride. I'm super happy to be doing the place cards and more drawings for the actual weddings. For wedding enquiries email me! nyongalice@googlemail.com ♡

The ultimate personalised gift...

This year has been amazing for commissions. I have completed some amazing projects, and I really feel like I'm creating memories for people which makes me feel good. And the feedback I'm getting is great too! I am planning many more (as long as people keep asking me!) so do email me if you'd like one in the run up to the Christmas months. Here are a few recent paintings I've done for various clients...

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nyongalice@googlemail.com to discuss your idea.

Birthdays...Birthdays....Birthdays

I've been drawing lots of birthday cards, both for my own friends and for people who commission me. I feel like the approach you can take for someone on their birthday ranges loads, and it's great to experiement. At the top, I painted a cake for my mum, which I was super happy with. If you like cake themed offerings, visit my etsy and check out my TROPICAL CAKE CARD  

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Above is a card for my friend Jessica Skye, one of my favourite yogis, DJ and all round super woman. Below is a card I was commissioned to make for a birthday. Love the animated faces.

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Granny

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I was really touched to be asked to complete this commission, celebrating three generations 💗 Hollie was kind enough to give me a little back story behind the commission:

"A little back ground if you want, this was a picture was taken of granny about a year after she fell down some stairs and sustained a huge brain injury that basically changed her life. When she was able to leave the hospital she never returned home and went straight into a care facility where she spent a few months before she passed on the 12th September.

This picture was taken about 1month before she died, She was allowed back to our house on a day visit and we sat in the garden and I painted her nails and ate croissants!"

I really love my job sometimes! Thank you Hollie. alice@alicenyong.com for commission enquiries. 

Crown and glory

MILLIE Whatever your thoughts on flower crowns, especially around festival season...(see Beyonce below) there's no doubt my pal Millie can pull one off. Hence my painted birthday card for her last week. I also used some gold ink for the birthday letters which can't be seen in the scan so well.

If you'd like a similar card for a friend, I am taking commissions, email me: nyongalice@googlemail.com.

May you all wear your crowns with pride/shame this summer. x

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Braided Birthday

NIC Another painted birthday card for my amazing friend Nicola, inspired by her sassy look at Notting Hill carnival last year. Really happy with this one, Happy Birthday Nic!

I'm very close to having my own little range of printed cards available online to buy. I'll also be offering customised commissions so you can have your own personalised cards made.

The shop should be online next week, stay tuned!