‘New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of, there’s nothing you can’t do now you’re in New York. These streets will make you feel brand new, big lights will inspire you’… Alicia Keys.
There are some things in life you just know are destined to happen. For me, living in New York (Manhattan, actually) was one of those things and I set my mind to making it happen – I simply needed to be there. Perhaps I knew the city so well from my 90s childhood which involved binge watching films set in the metropolis? What else was a kid to do in those days with the internet in it’s infancy and certainly no iPad, smart phone or Apps? It’s amazing we survived to adulthood!
In 2006, fresh out of boarding school followed by a foundation year at Wimbledon School of Art, I applied to study at Chelsea Art School. I was desperate to impress with my portfolio and to be accepted to the Textile Design degree. Why? Because, each year, Chelsea gave four students an exchange placement to The Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in Manhattan. Stage one of my grand plan was successful and I loved every second of the first year at Chelsea, living in London and existing in a creative bubble of inspiring design.
In 2007, the stars aligned and I had my application accepted for the FIT exchange and my NYLon life began.
Although loving London – steeped in history, home to endless museums, galleries and culture – I knew I would be infinitely more inspired by Manhattan. It turned out I wasn’t to be disappointed and landing at JFK I felt i’d arrived at the place I needed to be. I loved the frantic pace of life, the vast height of buildings, the deafening noise of sirens, the opportunities around every corner and above all the sense of freedom. This was the American Dream!
The exchange formed my creative identity and started me on the path to my life today. A stroke of luck and fate decided I was to take a Fashion Illustration course at FIT. I knew within a spilt second of the very first class I had to be an illustrator. There was just no other option, this was most definitely the career for me!
I felt at home exploring the city, spending my days finding my favourite areas (Greenwich Village and SoHo – i’m 100% a Downtown girl), seeking adventures and meeting people who were to influence me and be in my life forever.
During this time I illustrated my experiences, recording memories in a visual diary and quickly formed my now very recognisable illustration style – perfectly proportioned drawings looking sharp and crisp and always containing a sophisticated New York girl. I had endless pages of Carrie Bradshaw style women. SJP was my USP!
This was the start of my NYLon life and my illustration career. It was my first chapter living in New York (more to follow!) and the foundation of my career.
NYLon is my evolving trans-atlantic lifestyle and I look forward to sharing it with you – there’s so much more of the story to tell and 2018 NY adventures planned …