Getting to know Charlotte

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Breed talks to Art Director and Designer, Charlotte Heal…

How do you think your time at the Royal College of Art has impacted your work today? And what did you enjoy most about studying there? 

The RCA possibly impacted in ways I’m still determining. It certainly gave me confidence, plus time and space to explore a range of different avenues. I mostly enjoyed meeting like-minded, driven people – geeks who really enjoyed the work they produced and were up for dialogue on a wealth of topics. It was a highly stimulating environment to be in.

You’ve built a fantastic client base. Has there been one client or project that has particularly excited or surprised you over the years?

I think working with people I’ve greatly admired for many years has been a surprise, examples being Toast or Violette Editions, who I’ve looked at since I was a late teenager. More recently I’d have to say heading up the creative direction and redesign of Kinfolk magazine. It was incredibly stretching on multiple levels, which really excited me.

If you’re ever stuck for inspiration (not suggesting you are) where do you turn to, to combat your artistic block?

I’m not a fan of being in front of the screen, so its very important for me to get inspired away from the studio. Playing around with different materials and 3D forms greatly inspires me. It pushes your brain in a different way to 2D work, and that fascinates me. Perhaps it’s a cliché but nature and travel is always rewarding, and conversations with people outside of the field of design I find enriching too.

Is there someone who has had a major influence on your career and work to date?

I’m not sure of influence. There have certainly been projects that have impacted my trajectory and many people who have offered advice which has helped at given situations.

You lecture across the UK and abroad. What do you enjoy most about it, and does it feed your work in any way?

I find lecturing stimulating. There are many elements that I wish had been discussed with me when I was a student so it’s rewarding to share advice, nurture talent and see work develop. Consistently brainstorming, being in dialogue and conceptualising ideas certainly feeds back into my own work as it keeps my outlook open and diverse.

When did you know that this is what you wanted to do with your time.

I’m often questioning it! No, I don’t think there was a pivotal moment, but along the way you have those jolts of excitement and know you’re stretching yourself, which is when it’s most rewarding.

It’s that classic question, but what advice would you give someone hoping to work in your field of work?

A classic answer: be yourself. I spent a long time when I first graduated from my BA in 2004 struggling to work out what I was doing, and was trying to box myself into how other people worked. I think I now try and work as instinctively as possible. There are many interests that I still wish to feed into my work but it’s a long road. As I was once advised: ‘It’s not a sprint but a marathon’.

London is awash with brilliant exhibitions and cultural events. What have you been to recently that has made the biggest impression?

Mark Sanders’ ‘Daily Observations’ at Protein left a great impression. He really nailed the size and execution of the show and the moments he’d observed. There was something very tender and quiet in the work, which subtly captured how it is to see juxtaposed moments and be inside one’s own head.

Which of your fellow Breed artists’ work are you most drawn to?

Everyone is very diverse which I like. It’s very specific but I’m very drawn to Natasha Law’s ‘Figures’ series. It reminds me of Tom Purvis, who I’m a big fan of, yet it’s contemporary and sensitive. The composition and graphic use of negative space excites me.

(Shown here is a selection of work from Charlotte)