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.FORANNA

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 yettinged 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

 

A sketchy update

I have been away from my blog recently, (read over a year!) and it’s not until I sit down to write a post that I realise that I’ve really missed this space to share my work and thoughts. I work as a freelance illustrator and designer, and for promotion, collaboration and generally working out direction sharing online is a massive part of what I do.

I’ve obviously been using Instagram for sharing a lot of this, which feels like a really instant and reactive medium. But this also has it’s downsides, which are being really widely talked about everywhere, and which I definitely have to check in my own use of the platform. So I’m going to make a concerted effort in how I work to come back to this space, and nurture it and journal my own work progress.

I thought for my first post in a while I could go into the projects that I’m working on at the moment, and what’s really inspiring me, and I can follow these up with slightly in depth posts later down the line.

A project that I’m really loving at the moment is with my amazing friend Holly Gisselle Yoga BIRDOFPARADISEWe started off with a weekly instagram challenge we set ourselves, which was to do an illustration of a different yoga position every week, with a readable and approachable write up from Holly of how to implement this into your daily routine. Chatturanga DandasanaWe’ve kept this up and have started our own instagram for this @illustratedyogis where we are illustrating sequences, and are beginning our own journey to create prints, postcards and other products to make yoga accessible and beautiful within your life.

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I’m really excited to see where this goes. Follow our journey HERE

I’m also continuing my work with commissions which I previously talked about, and working on expanding this, to encompass a wider range of projects including weddings.

IMG_2085 I have worked with brides across the last few years, to create personalised wedding stationery, but I now have sets available for purchase on my Etsy site, and website which can be personalised with my own watercolour portraits.

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These include Invitations and Save the dates which are personalised with a portrait of the couple, this can be anything you like, and really work to show the individuality of the couple. I am very much open to the individual couple’s interpretation, so if this is something you’d like to know more about please don’t hesitate to drop me a line!

alicenyong.com/weddings-and-bridal/

I have also been really enjoying seeing my other business The Mark Makers grow and evolve over the last few years. I started it in 2016, as a way to experiment with my love of props, colour and sets, as well as drawing and making marks on paper.

DSC_7167Since this I have done private workshops, hen parties, drawn in restaurants, drawn at a yoga retreat, taught kids, and met many amazing people along the way. UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_26c4I’m always adding dates to my site, so check it out, and give it a follow on instagram for more details.

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www.themarkmakers.com

Keep up with what I’m doing on my instagram, but also check back here! I’m going to be posting more and more as I go. I’ve also updated my website, which has a little blog section too, so all of this content will be there too. Thank you for reading!

Alice x

♡C&T ♡

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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.

Christmas is coming…

I have launched my Christmas cards! It feels like a long while away, and until this week I was clinging to sandals with the best of them, but if you’re sending them far away it’s great to prep.

They are at my usual market price of £2.50 each and 5 for £10 everywhere! Just because I’m feeling festive. They’re all printed from my original drawings and paintings, and A6…They will probably be a limited edition, and are available on Etsy or at My christmas markets this year. I will be at Etsy Made Local in Crouch End Saturday the 3rd of December, and Urban Makers East on Sunday 11th December.

Ho ho ho

www.etsy.com/uk/shop/AliceNyong

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