In conversation with Blue Farrier

Based in London, Blue Farrier is an artist, fashion designer and creative consultant with a significant career in the fashion industry, having worked for brands such as Chloé, Stella McCartney, Sandro, Anya Hindmarch and Ports, among many others. Her talented vision and great spontaneity and curiosity have led the artist to work in unique creative fields and to merge several of the disciplines she works on — such as ink painting, fashion design or tape collaging — making her projects unique and fascinating. With an innate talent and a strong personal style, Blue Farrier is one of the emerging artists we should keep in mind if we truly believe in art and its transforming power.

Which three words would you choose to define your essence as a creative mind?

It’s very hard to pin it down to just three words… I’m a lot of different things! I guess you could probably say spontaneous, intuitive and considered.

Where does this interest and passion for the world of design and art come from? Does it run in the family? Did you discover it as you grew up?

Yes! My family was very creative and they were also creative in the way they raised me and my siblings. My mum was a painter and a teacher and she always had a still life on-the-go, usually at the kitchen table. She always encouraged us to draw and paint, so we were surrounded and immersed in this world without really knowing it. My siblings also went on to have creative jobs too, such as fashion, graphic design and hairdressing.

You graduated in Fashion Design at Central Saint Martins. What were Blue’s dreams at that time? Where did you project yourself?

Looking back at the days of Saint Martins is great. I did an BA and MA in Fashion Design and they were very free and creative experiences. I met so many inspiring people and amazing tutors too, notably Louise Wilson, who sadly died in 2014, and was the head of the MA Fashion. She was very encouraging to me in her own way. When I graduated, I didn’t have a specific dream or goal, but I knew I wanted to do something in fashion. I knew I loved it.

You have gone through many stages and worked on different brands with so many different people. Which professional experience do you think that was the most enriching for you? The one that allowed you to develop your creativity but at the same time discipline yourself to be a good professional?

The best brands I have worked for are the ones that understand the importance of the creative process. The ones were creativity is at the heart and soul of the brand, part of its essence. When you work in the fashion industry you have to be very disciplined in the timings and production as well as in creativity. On a personal level, I work best when I can work in all areas of a brand: not only womenswear, but accessories, store design, perfum design, inspiration, styling, advertising… And the list goes on! I’m good with direction and creative ideas, and being stuck behind a desk designing trousers all day isn’t definitely going to get the best out of me.

You worked several years as a fashion designer and creative consultant at Chloé, in Phoebe Philo’s team. This experience seems to be one of the most important stages of your career. How do you look back at that time?

Chloé was a great time, and there are still some things we did during those years that make me feel quite proud of. We all worked extremely hard and we were all absorbed by what we were doing. I was so lucky to be in the middle of it. We also had a laugh too. We were all very young and we loved what we were doing. One thing that I learnt from that experience is that I loved the whole process, from beginning to end.

Blue Farrier at Chloé Spring/Summer 2005 backstage. Photo taken by Jason Lloyd Evans

You work with so many different artistic techniques: ink on paper, tape collages, two-handed drawings with pens… You have even painted some portraits on cardboard, where you have also added pieces of fabric. Could we say that all the elements of your personal universe are coming together to set a new direction?

I really like to experiment and try new things, to push myself and go with new ideas, embrace mistakes. It is a bit like that in fashion. As much as I have been developing my artist world, I still love working in fashion and working with different and inspiring people within the industry.

Some well-known brands — such as Isabel Marant, Kenzo or Narciso Rodriguez — have commissioned you tape art illustrations. How did you start working with tape?

Tape came along like most things, it just happened. I was sitting at my table talking to my kids and I was drawing something out of a lookbook and I couldn’t be bothered to colour in all of the coat with paint or felt tips — I don’t work on the computer —, so I just picked up some tape in my lounge I had left over from painting my walls and used it to make the colour of the jacket. It was that simple. Then I used some tape I had on some moving boxes and created another look from it.
It was all quite spontaneous, I didn’t overthink it. Then, I did one for the company I was consulting for, and also did a tape print for them too. They put it on their Instagram and it went from there. I also love doing them and collecting all the different colour tapes. I started doing more fine art in tape too combining it with my drawings.

Fall/Winter 2019 tape collages comissioned by Isabel Marant © Blue Farrier

We love your initiative “In conversation to”, that consists of a series of illustrations drawn with both hands at the same time, blue pen right, red pen left, whilst talking with friends. As you say, “it is a little like patting your head and rubbing your stomach”. Why did you start doing it?

I love a two-handed drawing! I started doing it in my life drawing evening class, when we could all go out to classes. It is a technique that my tutor does, and it is very fun. I have been practising it for over a year now. The drawings become quite abstract. One day, I had the idea to draw people that I know in that way because during lockdown I missed my friends and needed a laugh! It is not as easy as you may think, and I like to challenge myself.

Talking about the lockdown, you participated in very interesting initiatives, such as the Artist Support Pledge by Matthew Burrows. Emerging artists were pledging to support one another during this global crisis by buying each other’s work through Instagram. A percentage of the profits went to the Intensive Care Society. How did you feel about being part of this project?

It was a good initiative, it made me think about selling some pieces too, something I felt nervous about before that. I bought a great artist work on it first, and then I thought “Now I don’t have a choice, I have to participate”. I was truly happy to give a percentatge to the Intensive Care Society.

As you once said, “the world needs creativity”, and it is a great way to change the world we live in. What does art mean for you?

Yes, the world needs creativity! It is a huge question to answer… But for me, personally, it is where everything begins, new ideas evolve and new creations happen. The process brings me joy and it is one of the times I’m at my happiest.

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