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Introducing... Anna Chilton

First, the bad news: you can't buy Anna Chilton's beautiful drawings – on various ceramic items – and her striking print designs – on wallpapers, t-shirts and more – today.

The good news: you're getting the inside tip-off about this fresh talent early – and one day soon, when she's left art school – I know! – if not before, her stunning work will be in demand from retailers a-plenty. (Sharpen those elbows, buyers.)

I caught up with Anna, who is south London based and studying Surface Design at UAL’s London College of Communications, to find out a bit about her and about the inspiration for her work... as well as when we'll be able to get hold of some of her beautiful designs, especially these simply drawn, characterful animal portraits.

Let's start with the most important question: any chance we'll all be able to buy your designs some time soon?
Yes, I finish my degree in June and then the plan is to develop the ceramics collections and make steps to get them manufactured. I am looking to find a buyer for my ceramics so I can start getting them out there.

And meanwhile...?
I imagine I will work towards a market stall and online shop in time for Christmas so check the blog! [Link below.]

What inspires your gorgeous animal illustrations – the drawings are so full of character...
I first started drawing animals when I designed a range of cake tins. The designs were drawings of anthropomorphic Indian animals mixed with package design of the colonial era. It sounds weird when I say it like that so I better explain!

It started off as an interest in the beauty of the British/Indian colonial aesthetic and became more satirical as I learned more about the brutality of British Empire. I drew Queen Victoria as an elephant and a plantation owner with the head of a rhino [above]. I was surprised at how much character came though in the animal’s faces.

The Tiger mug [top three images] is from a set of three called Big Lazy Animal where all the animals used, instead of being scary, are all sleepy and a bit ridiculous.

Where did the inspiration for the pattern in your wallpaper come from (I wondered if it was a graphic reinvention of this photo)?

It was from my last show called Diamonds and Cloth. I do a lot of hand drawing and the wallpaper came from some drawings I did of crumpled cloth. It’s interesting how everyone sees something different in this particular piece.

How did both collections come about? 
The white ceramic animals were a college project and the tiger mug was something I did for a Christmas stall. The wallpaper was for a competition. I am always busy on something and have sketchbooks full of ideas. I never have time to do all of them!

Where and when will we see more Anna Chilton work? 
I am working towards my final show at the moment, which involves some wall hangings. I’m hoping to bring a modern twist to this rather old-fashioned product. I’m still developing the pieces but you can expect plenty of illustrative work and a lot of narrative. This will be at London College of Communications in Elephant and Castle, London, on 19 June.

I am also hoping to show at this years’ New Designers at London’s Business design Centre on 25-28 June, so look out for the London Collage of Communications stand.

Then I’ll be living between London and the south of France where I have some cheap studio space lined up to give me the space I need to try and get some products out into the world.

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