Interview: Kate Forrester

This month we have been interviewing our contributors here at Jackie Magpie and hearing more about their various creative careers. This week I had a chat with illustrator and hand lettering artist, Kate Forrester about the inspirations behind her beautiful, intricate creations. Originally from Brighton, UK, Kate recently upped-sticks and moved to the Middle East where she learnt how not taking a place on face value can unearth some hidden gems if you give it a chance…

So Kate, You are currently living abroad, working as an illustrator. In light of this experience how would you say that your time outside of the UK has affected your work in a positive way?
Honestly, I have found this time abroad more creatively inspiring than any other time in my life. I am currently living in Abu Dhabi which, on the surface is not as exciting as it sounds! It is a pretty ‘beige’ city and at first I couldn’t see past the endless sand, luxury hotels and ridiculously gigantic shopping malls. I did feel quite creatively stumped for a while. But I soon discovered a wealth of inspiration for me lay just beneath the surface: in the people that I met, some of the local traditions and the surreal experience of living amongst such a mixture of language and cultures.

Stylistically I have always worked with pattern and lettering so the intricacy of islamic art, persian ceramics, papercut ketubahs and arabic calligraphy appeals to me and I think they has informed my work on some level.

Can you describe your ideal studio set up/ location if you could choose anything anywhere?
I have a little fantasy of working in San Francisco one day. I have never been to a city with such a creative soul, full of good people, optimism, excellent coffee and unpretentious charm. So maybe a little studio in the Mission district, with lots of plants and light and shared with one or 2 of my best artist friends would be a dream.

If you could commission yourself the perfect brief right now what might you choose to do?
That is so difficult,as there are tons of things I’d like to try. I think a really gorgeous branding job would be ideal – but one that allows me to develop lots of different areas of design and illustration for a new product. Maybe a boutique hotel for which I would design everything from their logo to the wallpaper in the rooms!

As the founder of Jackie Magpie you clearly have a love for seeking out inspirational nuggets that shine that little bit brighter…Where do you tend to find inspiration for your work?
Personally I feel most inspired when I step away from the computer screen, people-watch and let my mind wander. I always get the best ideas at inappropriate times when I am far away from paper and pens – I write on my hands a lot! My recent travels in the region have been a source of inspiration to me. I have returned from all of these journeys with piles of pretty, pointless trinkets (must be the magpie in me!) and a head full of pictures. Generally I also feel inspired by great photography, lush twisty plants and ugly urban architecture – There’s plenty of that where I live!

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