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Class of 2017: BA (Hons) Fashion Illustration graduate Holly Farmer

Christopher Preece
Christopher Preece
Written by
Josh De Souza Crook
Published date
23 May 2017

Next up on Class of 2017 is BA (Hons) Fashion Illustration graduate Holly Farmer. Originally from Nottinghamshire, Holly moved to London to explore mixed media art. Her final project is a surreal narrative of poetic storytelling and whimsical character design. We sat down with Holly to find out more about illustration art, Brexit and future plans for LCF BA17.

BA (Hons) Fashion Illustration graduate Holly Jade Farmer for LCFBA17.

BA (Hons) Fashion Illustration graduate Holly Jade Farmer for LCFBA17.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the moment you knew you wanted to study fashion?

I would describe myself as being a mixed media artist. I am someone who likes to experiment with a range of media but particularly I use my iPad Pro to draw as well as using inks and watercolour. Recently I’ve been experimenting with spray paint and craft such as embroidery and beading. I wouldn’t say that there was a moment I knew I wanted to study fashion, but it almost came naturally. I have always tried to depict my imagination through doll-like characters and I also enjoy drawing colour and pattern so Fashion Illustration seemed like it would merge those two interests.

Talk us through your final project…

For my final project, I wanted to try and capture a surreal narrative with the use of poetic storytelling and whimsical character design. I also knew I wanted to be able to produce the final outcome completely myself, using handmade and organic materials. Whilst working on my project I learned to make my own recycled paper and I developed my skill in bookbinding (something I learned in my first year at LCF). I also aimed to capture something symbolic about the narrative, and in order to do this, I decided to create headpieces which pull my characters and worlds into a 3D form.

Promo cards ❤

A post shared by Holly Jade Farmer (@holly.f) on

What is the story behind your final piece of work?

My final piece is a symbolic poem/short story of a young girl who is cursed into a life of melancholy as she ‘pulls out the bud of a beautiful flower from Miss Gloria’s garden tub’. The poem is an extended metaphor teaching the beauty and fragility of nature. The story revolves around the girl learning her lesson and how her actions have impacted those around her. In the end, it’s a happy story, but I wanted it to capture surrealism using poetry whilst also combining naive and experimental imagery.

What techniques or theories did you use to create your final piece of work?

I created the comic book using a range of paper types, and hand bound it myself using a Japanese stab binding technique. The headpieces were a challenge as I’d never created something like them before, but it was extremely fun to embroider, paint and stitch them whilst keeping my story in mind. My favourite part was that I used my hand made recycled paper on one of the headpieces and it worked really well as it is soft and creates the illusion of petals.

BA (Hons) Fashion Illustration graduate Holly Jade Farmer for LCFBA17.

BA (Hons) Fashion Illustration graduate Holly Jade Farmer for LCFBA17.


Have you been in the media?

Yes, I am lucky enough that I have experienced many amazing external collaborations and projects whilst studying at LCF. Most notably I worked on a few iPad Illustration projects with Apple alongside my tutor Sue Dray. I’ve also been featured in projects with Little Simz, Red Bull studios, Microsoft Surface, Miss Selfridge and Company Magazine.


Have you met or been inspired by any speakers from the industry whilst at LCF?

I was particularly inspired by a talk held by artist Gary Card, as his work is colourful, bold and confident. I like that he can venture into multiple avenues with his work as it is so versatile. I’d like to be able to do that.

Describe your work and aesthetic in five words…

Dark, figurative, circus, dolls, and experimental

Do you have a muse? If so, who and why?

I do not consider my work to be based on a specific face or person, as I am more inspired by fictional characters and the beautiful dolls that I collect. I like that I can shape them to whatever I want them to be, yet I do think that my work is subconsciously influenced by the experiences I have with people I meet and the places I go.

BA (Hons) Fashion Illustration graduate Holly Jade Farmer for LCFBA17.

BA (Hons) Fashion Illustration graduate Holly Jade Farmer for LCFBA17.

What influences your style and work?

I am inspired by a range of different things – beautiful dolls, Japanese manga, art nouveau, circus, animation and many more things. I’m also influenced by words with poetic and symbolic meaning, like in songs and stories which are why I decided to write a story for my final project.

What are your plans for the future?

I hope to be lucky enough to work full time on my creative work and freelance projects. However, I don’t think I’d mind teaching art part-time or running my own workshops to pass on my ideas and passion to others. In the short term though, I need to focus on expanding my body of work and honing my skills and personal style.

How do you think your course and LCF will help you achieve this?

LCF has already given me a brilliant platform to introduce me into the industry and I think I’ll be able to secure work placements and opportunities due to my experiences and the skills I’ve learned here.

BA (Hons) Fashion Illustration graduate Holly Jade Farmer for LCFBA17.

BA (Hons) Fashion Illustration graduate Holly Jade Farmer for LCFBA17.

Have you heard that LCF is moving to east London? What do you think about the move?

At first, I felt quite upset to hear that LCF is moving, as I absolutely adore Lime Grove. To me, the smaller and more welcoming feel of the school is what inspires me. You are more likely to bump into people and get to know the space. Yet I do think that in the end the move will probably bring about a great new creative community and I just wish I could study at LCF to be able to witness it!

What music do you listen to whilst you’re working? Is there one particular track or artist that you like?

I am a huge fan of Bjork and Placebo. At the moment I listen to their albums on repeat. It depends on what mood I’m in, but when I’m painting I need to be listening to music. Although I do have to turn it off if I want to think about a concept or draw a storyboard as it distracts me.

What do you think Brexit means for the fashion industry and studying in London?

It’s still too early to really comment on how the decision will impact us, we never really know what is going to happen and it’s a shame that our government is too unstable that we can’t put our trust in them.

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