Heather Landis is a visual artist and designer based in L.A. Heather’s use of colour and imagery gives her illustrations a vintage but modern feel. Scroll down to read our interview with Heather and see a collection of her affordable modern art prints, typographic art and underwater photographic illustrations.
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When did you first realise you wanted to be a visual artist?
When I was accepted into Art Center I already knew I had an interest in Photography and Illustration. However, it’s one thing to have a passion for something and another to and make a career out of that passion. When I started I wasn’t sure where I was headed, but I figured a great education would lead me in the right direction.
Where does your creativity come from?
Where does creativity come from? I have no idea! Where do our thoughts come from? They seem just to appear; I like to think it’s less about where an idea comes from and more about where they go. I think there’s a combination of discipline and intuition working harmoniously.
I am a big fan of your Abyss Of The Disheartened series. I have number IX on my wall; it receives more comments than another piece of art I own. How did you create this series?
I love that you have that in your home! Whenever people tag me on Instagram sharing their personal space with my artwork on their walls, I’m always flattered. It’s wonderful that you can share something like that with complete strangers! Abyss of the Disheartened was a photography based project. Everything shot is basically what you see; there is retouching done to clean up the image for printing, but, it’s all in camera effects, styling etc.
What is your favourite Heather Landis design?
I did some work for Korn Ferry and Applegate Farms last year. They were completely different projects from what I usually do. Working in collage for a business magazine and for a food producer were great platforms. On a personal note, I’m always changing my favorites. I’m only 100% happy with a single work for about the 5 seconds after I finish it, then I’ll find something I wish I had done differently. Oy.
You only really stop because you have to move on to another project. It’s a love/hate process in case you can’t tell.
What inspires your more recent typographic work?
I really like the idea of creating aesthetically pleasing images along with verbiage that’s playful and engaging. It seems like it’s a way of communicating these days, so we might as well do our best to make it beautiful and clever.
What is it about vintage images? Why do you use them in your designs?
I’m drawn to the styles of the Golden Age of Magazine Illustrators. I love the palates, designs and fashion of that era and the dramatic poses. I create a lot of composite work which can be either collage or painted as final pieces. These illustrations have a great irony to them now. Everything seems so simple and straightforward in a way that seems naive now, but they’re also idealistic and sympathetic. I think they work currently with a modern twist for both the commercial world and for fine art.
Who are your biggest influences? Who do you admire most? Who or what inspired you to do what you’re doing now?
My biggest influences come from artists in Illustration and Fine Art. I love the work of Alexandra Levasseur, Matthew Billington, Oliver Jeffers, Coby Whitmore, Lee Jin Ju, David Fullarton, Kris Knight, Jane Hableton. To name a few.
I admire people who work hard at creating good work no matter what. Balancing your style with the commercial work can be tricky. You want to please the client, create something genuinely new and interesting for their audience, while still having a finished product you’re proud to include in a portfolio.
I’m currently freelancing in the Illustration industry now for several reasons. For example, I’m a super introvert, so I simply can’t get enough time by myself. I love to work alone, and I knew that I wanted to work for myself. So I love the options and independence I get from freelancing.
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