British artist Hattie Stewart calls herself a professional doodler. This autumn she has teamed up with Swedish watch brand TRIWA, and yesterday she travelled to Stockholm to finish off their collaboration with a site-specific wall painting in the brand’s newly opened pop up store. We’ve met her.
British artist Hattie Stewart has been a doodler as long as she can remember, scrawling in schoolbooks and illustrating her own toys. As she got older she did not cease to be a doodler, but she did add the word professional in front of it. Professional doodler. She began studying at Kingston University in London in her early twneties, working her way into the worlds of art, fashion, and advertising. This autumn she has collaborated with Swedish watch brand TRIWA on two watches as well as two art works, and yesterday she travelled to Stockholm to finish off their collaboration with a site-specific wall painting in TRIWA’s newly opened pop up store. We met with Hattie just as she was to begin painting, to talk about her background, her style, and the importance of collaborations.
– I don’t remember the first specific time I draw, but I’ve definitely done it ever since I was very young, Hattie says. I used to draw my own toys, and I usually spent more time drawing them than playing with them. It’s always been something that is naturally integrated in me. Both of my uncles are cartoonists, so I also had it with me from both sides of the family. One of them taught me how to think, and the other one taught me how to draw.
When did you decide that you wanted to do this professionally?
– I call myself a professional doodler, so I just basically put the word professional in front of the thing that I do all the time anyway, Hattie laughs. I’ve always known that drawing is something that I wanted to do, so I’m very fortunate to be able to do what I do now.
With their spontaneous and frivolous expression, Hattie’s drawings definitely share some visual similarities with doodles, but they are much more thoughtful and versatile drawings than just mere sketches. Beneath the colourful and sketchy surface lie layers of sarcasm, dark humour, and complex visual references. Hattie herself pinpoints her style as cheeky, tongue in cheek, cartoon based, fun, and frivolous.
– I think that my style came out of a natural progression. I’ve always loved cartoons, and I guess that my style has developed out of that. I’ve tried so many different things, but I always ended up coming back to the cartoons, the line work, and the colours.
No matter where I am or what I do I can’t help but draw
Where do you find inspiration?
– That’s an impossible question, Hattie says with a laugh. When I work I love to watch documentaries, on any given topic. Especially within a creative field. The thing that inspires me most is not an artist’s final pieces, but how they got there, their journey and struggles, and their thoughts and feelings about what they do. What goes on behind the scenes. I know what I like to draw, so it’s not the visuals that inspire me, but the thoughts behind it.
Ever since she began her studies at Kingston University, twenty-five-year-old Hattie has divided her time between collaborations, commissions, and personal work. She has worked together with brands such as such as Adidas, Luella, Marc by Marc Jacobs, and House of Holland and magazines like i-D, Vouge, and Dazed & Confused, as well as with photographers, musicians, make up artists, and stylists.
– I try to treat the collaborations and commissions in the same way as I treat my personal work, she says. It’s important that they are mutually agreeable, because I wouldn’t ever want to feel that my work is running away from me, and don’t feel like mine. When I do commissioned works I want to feel as if it is my personal work.
– I’ve always known that I wanted to work be across as many platforms as possible, just for the excitement of it. That’s the most important thing about today, the whole idea of collaboration. No one is resigned to just one field, and everyone can work together. That makes it more exciting. I’m a very impatient person and I get bored easily, so I’m always on the hunt for new opportunities.
Each season Swedish watch brand TRIWA commissions a new artist to interpret their latest collection, following the brand’s motto ADDING COLOURS. This season they have chose to collaborate with Hattie, a collaboration that resulted in two watches as well as two art works, entitled 80’s Tribal.
– I began by looking at TRIWA as a brand, and as myself as an illustrator, to see how these things could come together. I was fascinated by the thought of merging art and time. We picked out some very vintage stock imagery, like the ones we got here on the wall, and I then basically did what I love to do, I drew on top of the photography, just as I drew on top of the watch.
– The collaboration itself has been awesome. It’s very fortunate for a young artist like myself to be able to collaborate with a brand like TRIWA, especially when you get the opportunity to do watch design, something I usually don’t work with. It’s also very nice to be here in Stockholm, and to be able to add another side to the project with this wallpainting. To really put it all into context.
During Fashion Night in Stockholm on Thursday 29 August, TRIWA will host an event in their newly opened pop up store at Mäster Samuelsgatan 5, between 5 and 10 p.m. Hattie Stewart will be there to present their collaboration, and to add the last touches to her wall painting.
During the evening there will be an Instagram competition, where everyone who posts a picture from the store and chooses the location TRIWA, Mäster Samuelsgatan 5 as well as uses the hastag #triwapopup has the chance to win a watch from the collaboration between TRIWA and Hattie Stewart, signed by the artist herself.
The TRIWA pop up store at Mäster Samuelsgatan 5 in Stockholm will be open until January.