We’ve been a fan of bold, colouful Brighton-based artist Stephanie Unger’s work for a few years now, and her work over the past year or so has been really fantastic.
Stephanie’s verstaility has been a huge asset to her creativity: one week I’ll be painting onto a bag, the next I’ll be doing t-shirt designs and the week after I’ll be painting a mural’, her style offers a fun sense of freedom and much-needed warmth, and we couldn’t resist nipping down to her studio to get a slice of this: so without further ado…. Beach Meets with Stephanie Unger.
Hey Stephanie, how are you?
Hey, I’m good thanks!
Have you always been interested in Illustration or was there a eureka moment? If so, what sparked the fire?
I’ve pretty much always loved drawing from when I was a kid but I did go through a lot of different phases of what I wanted to do with my drawing. At one point I wanted to do comics, concept art and even animation. It was only really after finishing uni that I started going down the illustration route but even now I feel like I do things with my work that push the boundaries of illustration. Probably because I still want to do everything haha.
Can we delve into your process a little…… you’re an avid sketch-book user, is there a certain format with your jot-pads? Do you revisit things often, do you keep them neatly chronologically stored or maybe pages get evicted in fits of frustration?
I try to be very free with my sketchbooks. I don’t think of the end result when I’m drawing in them and I think it’s normally the spontaneous doodles that help me spark an idea for a new piece of work. I try not to rip any pages out of my sketchbook as there might be a doodle there that I might look back on and will want to use in the future. When I finish a sketchbook I do have a shelf where I keep them so I can easily go back and look at them if needed.
When we spoke previously you mentioned you like to cast a wide net when it comes to inspiration, and that steering clear of the more conventional avenues was important to you: what consequence do you feel this has on your work?
Yes definitely. I try and source inspiration from everywhere such as museums, antique shops, old vinyls, vintage clothing and books. I feel like finding unique inspiration helps you to create unique work.
Being a habitual Posca user how are you finding weaning yourself off of them and onto acrylic and larger formats?
Both mediums help each other. For me Posca pens are a great starting point even for when I do paintings. The limitation of the Posca pen colours helps me think more about the image itself rather than spending time stressing over which colours to use. Once I have the image roughly planned out in Posca I can then focus on the finishing the image in acrylics. Acrylics give me the freedom to adjust the colours to whatever colour I want and gives my work a certain depth that I find Posca pens can’t achieve.
You have all the necessary hallmarks of a millennial whizzkid, savvy both with traditional and digital mediums, super strong soc game, endlessly appealing/effective website, and you’ve manage to drum-up some usually un-obtainable partnerships/collabs (check Stephanie’s previous work with Basement or Grindr), do you find what you do as a ‘job’ wider than just the illustration sometimes?
Yes definitely. Every new job I get is always different to what I have done before. One week I’ll be painting onto a bag, the next I’ll be doing t-shirt designs and the week after I’ll be painting a mural. I feel like from my job I have gained a broad set of skills other than just drawing. I also have learnt to be part photographer, part handy woman and part administrator. It definitely keeps me on my toes but I love it.
I really like what you’ve been doing with Basement, your work feels spot on for them as brand, it embodies ‘cool-playful’, how was it working with them?
Really awesome. I love working for those guys, they give me a lot of freedom.
Many thanks Stephanie.