Artistic Inspiration in the Big Apple

  • Julia Gash
  • 17th February 2016

I travel around the world on business every few months, darting from one trade show to another, with BIDBI and our sister company, Talented, for whom we print the customisable Cityscape bags.

NY Now trade show in New York was the finale to the season for me and I received Cityscape commissions from as far wide as the British Virgin Islands to Rhode Island!  As I love drawing water it’s a win-win situation!  Here’s our USA Sales Rep, Sara Richards and me on the Talented stand.

Staying at the New Yorker Hotel was like going back in time to the roaring 20’s. I loved the Art Deco architecture and was amazed that it still had its original fixtures and fittings in the bathrooms!  A room with a view is important, for me, it’s more about the light as I often Cityscape when I’m travelling and indeed I drew two commissions in my hotel room, looking out on to the Empire State Building.

And I was in good company in New York because Picasso was visiting the Big Apple at the same time.  An exhibition of his sculptural work was taking in place at MOMA, which spanned every period of his working life. I was in my element.  Picasso is a big influence in my own work.  I am fascinated by how he focuses on a specific characteristic of a person or animal, and through exaggerating certain elements he creates such personality and animation that it makes the sculpture or painting appear more alive than the real thing. 

That influence is carried through my own work so that the buildings I draw are always out or proportion.  I enlarge the features that catch my eye, be it a steeple on a church or the arch of a bridge.

It’s not just Picasso that I look up to however.  After viewing Picasso’s sculptures I wandered through the permanent collections and was stopped by the similarity between Seurat’s Post Impressionist paintings, that launched the Pointillism style and the way I used coloured dots to suggest colour, tone, light and shade in my own work. 

I also love to see different artwork come through our eco-print factory in Sheffield, whether it’s a cool logo, some clever contemporary artwork or a beautiful illustration that ‘s taking pride of place on a bag.  Being surrounded by art and print when I travel as well as at home at BIDBI is a pleasure, as treasure and a source of artistic inspiration!