"Art and fashion can be so influential in shaping the way we see things, and to create discussion and advance movements."
Tell us a little about yourself. Who are you, and what do you do?
I am a graphic artist and curve model, with a passion for body positivity and women empowerment. I digitally create intentional art pieces for the home and surface pattern designs for female-led fashion and homewares brands inspired by women’s bodies and feminine shapes.
How does creating art make you feel?
When I’m creating something, I get completely lost in and time flies. Sometimes I get an idea in my head and I feel like if I don’t get it out, I could explode. It’s so therapeutic and I feel very lucky that I get to make a career from it.
Did you know you would always be an artist?
No definitely not. I never even considered it as an option. I was always very creative as a kid, but I didn’t see myself as an artist because I wasn’t creative in the traditional sense of being able to draw or paint really well. I left school thinking I had to get a ‘real job’ and studied journalism and public relations, before landing a job as a media advisor with the Queensland Police. I decided to go back to study graphic design and learnt that I could illustrate digitally. I left my job and started Heidi Lou Design.
Why is art important in today's society?
Because times are tough! With everything going on in the world, I think it’s so important to have creative outlets, and beautiful things to bring us joy. Art and fashion can be so influential in shaping the way we see things, and to create discussion and advance movements.
What influences your style or approach to creating art?
I’m so inspired by femininity. A lot of my drawings are of women’s bodies. I also draw lots of flowers, fruit, animal print and butterflies. I take a lot of inspiration from magazines, old books, vintage stores, fashion and nature to create my pieces.
How has your practice changed over time?
When I first started my business, I was taking on whatever graphic design jobs I could get (think a logo for a plumber). I slowly changed my creations over time to lean more towards graphic art and away from graphic design and focus on working with female-led brands to create artwork or surface pattern designs, or to create my own art prints for sale.
What jobs have you done other than being an artist?
I worked in a video store as a teenager (best job ever!), then I worked in admin for a fuel company while I was studying, then a media advisor for the police before starting Heidi Lou Design. Oh and I’m also now a curve model signed with Eve Global modelling agency.
Some would say the artistic life can be lonely? Do you agree, and if so what do you do to counteract it?
I’m naturally introverted so I love working in my office on my lonesome all day. I recharge when I’m alone. Some days I will work from a cafe or meet up with a friend to work in the library together. And I’ve built a really supportive online community who I love to connect with. Otherwise, I could never go back to working for someone else. I love what I have now.
Name three artists you’d like to be compared to?
Just three? I’m inspired by Tahnee Kelland, Bonnie Gray, Karina Jambrak, Cass Deller and Sharnee Thorpe. They all have really distinct styles that I’m drawn to and they have worked incredible collaborations, paving the way for female artists.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
My favourite quote is ‘what is meant for you will not bypass you’. To me, it means to trust in the universe, and to know that everything happens for a reason.