Rosie Barker creates a sunny retro vibes along with her crisp illustrations
Feeling steered toward science at school, Rosie Barker was at Goldsmith & # 39; s University studying English literature. She thought a career in journalism was the path she would follow. “My idea of becoming a writer failed when I started attending lectures. I quickly realized that reading Victorian literature, or any literature, was my idea of hell and was endlessly jealous of my roommates taking art or design classes, ”says Barker CR. "I then decided to get out and spend the rest of my student loan on a short fashion design course at LCF to see if this was a more suitable path for me."
Although she enjoyed the course, it was the drawing aspect that intrigued her the most, so she did some research on illustration as a career. “Without an art foundation, I knew I had to impress, so I spent my breaks working at a cocktail bar, building a portfolio, and working on my application. I was overjoyed when I made all of my (university) decisions, and I think that initial struggle really put me into my desire to make illustration a career, ”says Barker.
Above: road trip. Above: dreaming of a vacation. All images: Rosie Barker
After studying the BA Illustration course at Brighton University, Barker enjoyed the playfulness and experimental nature of the course. “I've done a lot of terrible work at times, but the freedom of study really gave me the time to explore different avenues and better understand my work and practice,” she explains.
“It also taught me how to work effectively and quickly, as unlike other courses, we often had two-week deadlines – which are realistic, if not generous, for the real work. I've learned to trust the process, as long as I got to my desk and put pen to paper, everything would eventually come together. "
At the pool
Since graduating, Barker has stayed in Brighton and has taken on a number of personal projects and editorial assignments. She describes her style as a “dreamy clash of influences”. Inspired by the likes of comic book artist Jean Giraud for his clean lines and by ukiyo-e artists like Kasushika Hokusai and Kitagawa Utamaro, Barker's main interest is color and light. “I am very inspired by the visual artists James Turrell and Olafur Eliasson. I think part of that interest in light also comes from my frequent visits to Seville, where my boyfriend works and the sun is paramount, ”says Barker.
“Seville and Brighton often have beautiful sunsets. My subject is often inspired by my own strange dreams, the human psyche, the border area, memories and surrealism. The slightly blurred boundary between reality and another place interests me most. "
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When Barker is working on a new project or short assignment, she usually takes a stroll around town and takes inspiration from what she comes across. “Brighton has a lot of vintage shops that are crammed with weird and interesting items, and I often take photos of whatever attracts me. However, with the constraints of the pandemic, I started looking into the work of photographers instead, taking surreal landscape and fashion photography and combining it with my ideas, ”she says.
Barker then begins working on her sketchbook, and her drawings take the form of rough compositions. Once the idea is in place, she moves on to Procreate on her iPad to create a cleaner version for the client, and then it's time for color, her favorite part. "Sometimes I have to put some paint on my sketches before this point to get a feel for the atmosphere I'm trying to create," she says. “I love the almost 80s retro feel of a gradient and like to experiment with bright color palettes and light. I then put a coarsely textured layer of paper on top. I like to create textures in my work to bridge the gap between smooth digital art and a more analogue style. "
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With the aim of creating works that make people happy and relaxed, as a freelancer, Barker gives the freedom to work on projects she loves and think about new ideas. However, she says that being her own boss can be tough compensation. "Often times, I work too hard and don't know when to say no to customers even when I have a lot of work to do," she admits.
“I am learning, however, to create boundaries between my work and my life, as taking a break and completely switching off at the weekend can mean that I will be more creative and productive the following week. I always know better when to stop and rest and when to put a little more pressure on. "
Still life here