Spotlight

Spotlight Fashion illustrator Jessica Rose Bird

Championed by Roksanda Ilinčić
The Wick - Roksanda still life, Jessica Rose Bird, courtesy of artist
Above  Roksanda still life, Jessica Rose Bird, courtesy of artist
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The Wick - Jessica Rose Bird, courtesy of artist
Above  Jessica Rose Bird, courtesy of artist
Interview
Jessica Rose Bird
23 November 2022
Interview
Jessica Rose Bird
23 November 2022
Award-winning Scottish artist and illustrator Jessica Bird worked in the fashion industry and studied fashion design for four years before becoming a full-time artist in 2018. She has since combined both passions by creating her brightly coloured, chalk pastel and charcoal drawings for brands including Delpozo, Huishan Zhang, E.Tautz and Roksanda. Thanks to her talent for capturing the pace of the people and objects she draws, Bird often works live backstage at fashion shows and events.

After first visiting Roksanda Ilinčić’s studio as a PR intern some years ago, Bird has been asked back as an artist to capture the Serbian designer’s collection. Ilinčić says: “Ever since, she has been a wonderful part of my shows to illustrate each collection, capturing the behind-the-scenes motions and atmosphere through her incredible hand. I love how everything comes to life so vividly through her spontaneous, improvised strokes. We both share the love of bold colours, evolving lines and exploring the unexpected beauty through opposites. It’s been incredible to see her grow as an artist, evolving in something she was always so passionate about. Seeing her in my designs, while creating, always brings such a lovely coalition.”
She adds: “I’m truly proud and honoured to champion Jess as part of my dear community of female artists, together reinforcing the belief in supporting women, inspiring, and encouraging each other tirelessly.”

The feeling is very much mutual. Bird says: “As an artist working primarily for the fashion industry, I get a lot of my inspiration from fashion designers like Roksanda who use such amazing colours and shapes that are endlessly inspirational to me.”

She adds: “But wider than that I am drawn to interesting unique faces, unconventional and unexpected relationships between colours and objects, energy and movement. I want to hold onto the energy felt when I am creating the piece, energy that is only in that moment. When I draw live backstage at Roksanda for example, the high intensity environment, combined with a more limited selection of materials and the physicality of the moment, means I produce work that is a snapshot of those few minutes, seconds even, that I share with a model, capturing only the most important details. I want that energy to be present and felt in all my work.”

With Christmas coming up, it’s a busy time for events, and Bird. In addition to working through some private commissions, she’ll be live illustrating guest portraits at brand events. You can also catch her work in two London group shows from December 8 at FRMD in Clapton and at a group show in collaboration with Dave Buonaguidi for The Big Issue in Hackney Wick. It finishes a successful 2022 for Bird, which also saw her collaborate with Marks & Spencer on three T-shirt designs that were sold online and in stores around the UK earlier this summer.

She concludes: “My grandad bought and wore one and friends were sending me photos of strangers wearing them in the streets from around the world. To have had full trust by one of the UK’s iconic stalwart high street names, to design whatever I liked is pretty exciting.”

About the champion

The Wick - Spotlight Fashion illustrator Jessica Rose Bird

Originally from Serbia, Roksanda Ilinčić studied architecture and applied arts at the University of Belgrade before moving to London to complete an MA in womenswear at Central Saint Martins. In the decade since, her namesake label has become synonymous with sculptural shapes, its daring use of colour and innovative use of fabrics. In a nod to its art influences, its spring 2023 collection was presented during Frieze Week at the Serpentine Pavilion.

“I love how everything comes to life so vividly through her spontaneous, improvised strokes.”

Place of Birth

Alexandria, Scotland.

Education

BA in Fashion Design from Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen.

Awards, Accolades

I was the winner of the 2020 Fida fashion illustration and drawing award and shortlisted for Scottish Influencer of the Year (visual category) 2022.

Current exhibitions

I’m part of a group show at FRMD in Clapton, a group show in collaboration with Dave Buonaguidi for The Big Issue in Hackney Wick (both open December 8), and a
show with Mount Collective for Choose Love. I’m also having a studio sale/open day on November 26 at Belfast Road, N16.

Spiritual guides, Mentors

Julia Cameron, the author of The Artist’s Way. It really helped me find my way back into my practice as an artist and reconnect to my work. My mum for encouraging my creativity from a very young age and my uncle, ceramic artist Stephen Bird, for showing me that following a creative path was possible.

Advice

Comparison truly is the thief of joy – celebrate your own successes. Listen to others but above all trust your own instincts. Also, quality time with yourself is important – we are all so busy and “connected” at all times but I cannot emphasise enough the importance of downtime. Inspiration needs space and time to come through and I find it’s often in the mundane moments that creative answers can come to us – a quiet walk in nature, cleaning, writing, meditation, drawing/mark making, building something with your hands, repotting plants etc.


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Further Information
@jessrosebird
@roksandailincic
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