“In a way, I believe that the city impacts my lifestyle, which in turn impacts my art.”
– Beth Fraser
Beth is a fashion illustrator and freelance artist – her work combines a variety of techniques and styles to create bold multimedia pieces.
After graduating from the London College of Fashion with a degree in Fashion Illustration in 2015, she has stayed in London and grown her clientele; working with a range of professionals within the space and exploring various artistic forms through print all the way to bespoke homewares.
Her signature collage style has made her easily identifiable within the fashion space, and she has created a strong portfolio of her work which showcases her individuality. It is this unique eye for detail which has led to her most recent collaboration with sock brand Tailored Union.
How would you define studio space?
Personally, its a space thats yours and that you can have free reign of what you want to do.
What would be the most important elements of a studio space?
For me, I like it when its private. I understand that sharing space can be good in many ways, but I really like having a little section where no one knows what I’m doing.
I’m currently working out of my bedroom, which is not great. It’s very difficult as I live with four other people, so I do need the space to remain private. It would be nice to not have to completely tidy up at the end of the day and having this flow of ongoing work to come back to.
I do think that its great to have a bit of both a communal and private space, and I do believe this can work as it allows everyone to share ideas and work together collaboratively, but for the most part, I do really like my own space.
I think with space sharing it can be very hit or miss – you can either really enjoy the people that surround you, or it might not work.
Have you been actively looking for a studio space?
I do, I have been. I really want one and I don’t know when, in terms of business, it would be right to make that move. Working as a freelancer, there are times where you can earn four months of rent all at once, and then there can also be times where the money isn’t as frequent, although this doesn’t affect the rent of my home, it would mean an additional outgoing cost.
At the moment, I treat this as a full time job; working from 9-5pm.
Having the studio space would really allow me to have a better sense of routine, and not sleeping where I work. It is very hard because people are struggling to find places to live let alone studio space.
My friends in Brighton, they have got studios and that is purely because they’re not in London and they’re out of the centre. The rent for their flat and the rent for their studio is slightly less than my rent on my flat. With this in mind, part of me does think that maybe it would be worth moving out of London, but I just don’t want to leave.
Do you feel as though you’d miss out on London’s art scene if you moved?
No, not necessarily. I originally lived outside of London. And my relationship with London is very love-hate. I do love living here but there are some days where I know that I probably wouldn’t live here forever. Being where I am from, I know that I’m never too far away from it anyway, so I don’t see it as a massive move. It would still take me less than an hour to get into Central London.
This might be a solution, but at the moment I do love living and working here in London as you have the opportunity to mingle with so many people from international backgrounds.
I do often think to myself that I could get a really nice, big flat for the same amount of money and I could have a great studio, but then I think about the buzz of London and how it keeps me very energised, whereas in the country, its very calm and this would affect the art that I produce.
So, do you believe that London has an impact on your art?
I think it does, in a way. Due to obviously being a fashion illustrator, it is good to be in one of the fashion capitals of the world. Everyday I am inspired, just by people on the tube and the people that I see day-to-day.
I think its more about being surrounded by other creatives; going to cultural events and gigs always triggers creative ideas in me, so the city really does have an impact on my art.
What would you want the lease to be in your ideal studio space?
I would like a long-term lease. I’d like to get settled and feel like it was a space of my own. It would take me a little while to get used to my new desk and space but it would be a huge deal for me as my environment will always impact my work greatly.
If I’m away on holiday or away from my usual environment, I find I don’t produce my best.
What do you think the future of London studio spaces will look like?
I think its a very cool concept to have individual studio spaces with the option for communal space, as
all of these areas have such a wealth of creativity. It wouldn’t necessarily work in other parts of London.
We really want to create an open dialogue between artists and developers, what would you say to a developer if you had the chance?
It feels very obvious to me that both artists and developers should work together. Due to it being in both of their interest – with artists moving in, it creates a better view of an area and eventually increases the studio spaces.
I know that in Copenhagen they have a lot of encouragement for creatives within the city, and offer incentives for people to work within the city.
Having a studio space really does make you feel very established and professional, for example, I cannot currently host meeting within my work space, having the ability to do that would be great.
One thing which would concern me, which I have experienced when I go to teach workshops, is that there is always a new style of art or trend within a group. I would worry that sharing studio spaces may create this theme of art due to everyone working together a lot.
Do you feel as though you found your style after university?
I know a lot of people that were able to find their style during university, but for me, it was definitely after. It all came about when I was just playing around at home, not having truly started art as a career.