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Artist and designer Lois O'Hara on being positive, the importance of hard work and life in Brighton


Lois O’Hara’s vibrant and diverse creative practice takes in mural painting, design and art direction. There is, however, a consistent thread running through her work. “I’m interested in capturing the fluidity of an image in motion,” says Lois. It’s this sense of fluidity, combined with her love of process and bold colour combinations that makes her work so recognisable.

We caught up with Lois to find out more about her career so far and how she’s coping with lockdown.

Were you always creative?
Yes always! When I was little, I loved painting and at high school it was the only thing I enjoyed.

How did you get to where you are today?
From having a positive and determined attitude and from working on my passions every day. I used to work through the night just to build a good portfolio and then slowly the work started coming in. 

I went to Arts University Bournemouth and studied Illustration for 3 years. I didn’t find my course that insightful or encouraging so I decided to continue developing a strong personal portfolio on the side of my uni projects. This was one of the best decisions I have ever made as it brought me even closer to being ready to go freelance. This also made me think for myself and learn from my own mistakes. I didn’t feel lost after uni. I knew what direction I wanted to take

Can you describe your style?
In 3 words I would describe my style as wavy, fluid and vibrant!

Talk about your process
Whenever I start a new project, I always like to hand draw everything and I take a lot of inspiration from nature regarding the colours and shapes. When I paint, I don’t like to use tape or create straight lines. I don’t like the idea of being confined and it is important that my lines free flow as my work also resembles the movement of the sea.

What do you love most about what you do?
I like that I’m always doing something different. Every project differs dramatically from the type of client, the requirements, the rules and the process. This means I am also inspired to keep going. 

Have you always worked for yourself?
I have been self-employed now for just over a year! It feels like a lot longer as I have accomplished some dream projects already. I really enjoy working for myself as I get to work on a variety of projects which means my brain is always ticking. This also means I don’t sleep very well though! I wouldn’t change it as I love being out of routine, a 9-5 isn’t for me. After uni, I had a regular job and was still working on my portfolio day and night. When my first big project came in, that’s when I left my job and went for it!

How are you coping with the current lockdown?
I have had a lot of projects get postponed and I was meant to be travelling / painting in different places right now but other than that, it’s not that different as I work from home a lot anyway. I love being home. I have a lot of exciting projects coming up including a 21 metre interior mural and an exterior “welcome back” mural for when we are all set free again!

You’re based in Brighton, what’s the creative scene like there?
It’s crazy! Everywhere you look there is some form of street art (whether you like it or not) and people have the opportunity to express themselves however they wish here.

What would your dream project be?
I would love to paint a giant swimming pool!

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
To learn the difference between an artist and brand and to only accept projects if they are in line with what you believe in. And to always send contracts!

What advice would you give to other creatives?
Ask yourself how much you really want to be an artist/creative, and also ask yourself whether you are able to put in the hours. You have to juggle things around and work at it every day if you want success. It’s like being in training!

To see more of Lois’ work, visit her website or Instagram.

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