With her talent so evidently eminent and seemingly effortless, for Hallie Heald, illustrations are a labor of love. This LFW AW14 we catch up on Heald’s world, as she interprets exclusive street style images taken by Lloyd Ramos for XXY during fashion week.
Your work is extremely striking, what initially inspires your illustrations?
For me, faces have always been a challenge. So, on September 1st of 2013, I committed to paint an illustration (mainly portraits) a day for three reasons…One: to prove or disprove the saying “practice makes perfect.” Two: to conquer my fear of drawing/painting people. Three: to show my taste and pay homage to photographers, stylists, models, and editorials that informs it.
Both working with colour and monochrome, your illustrations express so much character, do you have any preference as to which you work with, and what encourages your use colour for one piece and monochrome for another?
The choice of color or monochrome depends on the pose and attitude of the figure. I like to choose the really successful parts of a photo and enhance or edit them. I have started changing small things (mainly color) but now that I understand more about painting the face, I want to loosen up and experiment with different ways of diverging from total realism.
You’re clearly extremely talented with your pieces spanning from portraits of people, animals and illustrations of accessories. Is there anything you tend to steer away from illustrating?
Not really. My plan is to develop a weekly theme to keep it interesting such as- chefs with style, accompanied the next day by their signature dish. So be on the look out for upcoming themes!
In three words how would you define the signature style that every one of your pieces maintains?
Gritty, Loud, Unpredictable.
You interned twice at the innovative lifestyle brand, Anthropologie , how did both experiences impact on your awareness for detail and your work as a creative in general?
Anthropologie gave me an eye for large composition and seeing the potential in any material. I would test myself while sitting in class or just walking along the street to choose an object and come up with an installation idea. This regard for a variety of materials translates to my fabric/material choices when I design and sew; I’ve made a collar by embroidering garden netting, a rain vest made from PVC plastic filled with pouches of body wash, a track suit from checkerboard alpaca.
Tell us a little bit about your education and how your BA has developed your current skills.
My BA in studio art provided me with a range of media, but more importantly, the space and time to develop my own work and to saturate myself in realms of thought beyond strictly Art. The benefit of being an art major is that I can multi-task. Over one night, I’ll watch a weird documentary on snake-handling, listen to Elvis or a David Sedaris audiobooks while I am working. This constant flow of influence foments into all my artistic output.
It seems logical looking at your illustrations and your eye for detail, that you’re also a freelance stylist, How did your enjoyment for styling first develop?
Just as in art you are creating a composition. Styling is similar in that, you are setting a tone and mood through every element chosen. I am just starting out so I hope to learn as much as I can, while still bringing in my personal taste.
So what’s next for the talented Hallie Heald?
After I graduate, I am moving back to New York to work on a freelance team as a stylist, and hopefully get some freelance illustration work. I’d like to go to grad school, but I think I want to gain at least a couple more years of work and experience, so I can make a more informed decision regarding where I want to go. Long-term goals are: to continue to work hard, not take myself too seriously, and get a French bulldog named Wilber.
Illustrations: Hallie Heald
Images Inspiring Illustrations: Lloyd Ramos
Text: Fenn O’Meally