Brighton Creatives discovered Holly Watt’s work through the world wide web on our daily exploration of Brighton talent. Brighton based, this print designer and illustrator caught our eye with her gorgeous screen prints and beautiful drawings. Drawn to her choice of colour for her textiles and her subject matter in her drawings we felt the need to find out a little more about this talented ladies craft.
Holly, I’m not even sure how we came across your work now, but glad we did!
Whats your background, how did you come to do your degree?
I’ve always loved drawing from a young age. I remember being about 5 and attempting to make dresses out of paper and cellotape and doodling all over them with crayolas – I guess that was my first experience of being a print designer! After school, I took a Btec Art Diploma at Brockenhurst College where I specialized in Textiles. I’ve always been fascinated with surface design – being able to specialize in printed textiles for my degree really appealed to me. I’ve really enjoyed learning the craft of screen printing, although it is a time consuming process, which can sometimes take a few attempts, it is really rewarding when you get it right!
Where are you from? Why choose Brighton over anywhere else to do your degree? Do you think living in this city has influenced any of your work?
I originally come from Bournemouth, another seaside town! I remember coming for day trips here when I was younger and thinking that I would love to live here one day. It is a cosmopolitan city with such a creative buzz. Art and music are things that really attract people here so it has a really great creative community. Living in Brighton and meeting like-minded people has definitely motivated me and inspired my work. I’m not sure where I would have ended up if it wasn’t here!
You’ve completed some industry experience at some top fashion houses such as Alexander McQueen and John Galliano & Bernhard Willhelm, how did you come to do these? Any advice for people looking for this kind of high end work experience?
One of the things that really appealed to me about the course was the industry year which gave me the opportunity to gain work experience. Although my original plan wasn’t to work in high fashion, when I got offered the internship at Alexander McQueen, I grabbed it. Working for John Galliano and Bernhard Willhelm gave me the opportunity to live in Paris which was an amazing experience. I think working for other people can really benefit you as a designer. I would say to anyone looking for similar work experience is to be prepared for some late nights and being sent on lots of errands and coffee runs!
Your illustrated screen printed silk shirt is to die for! How was this achieved? Is it for sale and do you sell any of your pieces?
Thank you! That was a one off as part of my final collection. I firstly dyed the fabric, I then screen printed the dark lines and I then used a paint brush to highlight the detail. This was done on different panels before it was sewn together and made into a shirt! Screen prints are harder to reproduce but I have had some interest in my digitally printed scarves which I plan on making more to hopefully sell!
A lot of your dot work illustrations remind me of my favourite type of tattoo work, have you ever wanted to get into tattooing?
I actually worked in a tattoo shop a few years back so learnt the very basics there. It is still something I would still like to pursue in the future. Many tattooists inspired me, I particularly love Guy le Tattooer and Thomas Hooper’s work – they both do some incredible dot work. I’m also influenced by a lot of Japanese artists, Kahori Maki is a particular favourite, her work is stunning!
What’s next for Miss Holly Watts?
At the moment, I have a couple of freelance projects I’m working on but am interested in collaborating with other designers and taking on more freelance work. I am also in the process of setting up an Etsy shop to sell some of my work, so watch this space!
Emilie & Jen