History helps contextualise the contemporary in order to help it fit it into every day life. We can use it as a way to provide commentaries, criticisms as well as showcasing undervalued information we may have missed. Illustration student Jade Conlin uses the past in a number of ways to shape her creative journey, an insight she was very happy to share with me in an interview.
Words by Jade Conlin
To what extent do historical events inform your practice?
I think history informs most things I do. As a child I always loved history and as an illustrator I often look to the past for inspiration. London has such a rich history that its hard to not be inspired by it.I collect various vintage magazines, text books and illustrations from the 19th and 20th century and often use elements of these within my work. I’m fascinated by anatomical illustration from the Victorian era, there were so many advances in science and our understanding of how the human body works at the time, I find it really interesting to see how anatomical illustration changed to reflect this.
In what direction for you see your illustrative practice progressing?
This is a hard question. I would like to explore how my work could be used in the world, to challenge and influence other people. I also have an interest in branding and using design to create an identity for a business or public space. The last few years have been a real journey and I feel as though I’ve only just begun, I still have a lot to learn. So I would also continue learning from other people and working collaboratively on projects too.
What has been your biggest challenge encountered during your Illustration journey at university?
I think one of the biggest challenges I have is being able to focus on one idea and see it through to its conclusion. Sometimes I find that I have so many ideas at once that its hard to reign myself in and focus on one thing. But something I’ve really learned over the last few years is that often the exploration and journey you go on with a project is as important, if not more important, than the final result.
“the bizarre and darker parts of humanity can also be beautiful”
You use a variety of mediums in your work, if you had to commit to one for the duration of your illustrative adventure what would it be and why?
I love using a variety of different mediums in my work and I’m not so sure I could ever stick to just one (variety is the spice of life and all that) but at the moment I really love collage and using different patterns and textures in my work so this is something I would like to continue exploring.
What would your most ideal project be?
My ideal project would be something that combines my love for history and the macabre. I am really interested in all things slightly peculiar, strange and unusual. I’ve spent many hours wondering around museums, shops filled with odd and curious items and vintage fairs. I love urban legends and researching these stories to find out about their origins. I also collecting items that appeal to my love of the abnormal, the weird and wonderful world we live in. I would love a project which allows me to explore these areas further and showcase to others that the bizarre and darker parts of humanity can also be beautiful.
Note: All images in this post are sourced from Jade’s Blog