Australian born artist Amy Sia is renowned for her bold and daring prints transformed into luxury accessories for fashion and the home. Her signature painterly designs use the accessories as a canvas allowing her vibrant creativity to shine through and here she talks to The LuxPad on what made her swap trades early on in her career and the difference between the Australian and British print industries.
When did you first decide that a career in the print industry was for you? Had you known from childhood?
From an early age I was interested in two things – fashion and art. Initially I studied fashion design at RMIT University in Melbourne and worked in the fashion industry in Australia. It was only after I moved to London that I started my career in the print industry.
What made you made you make the move from fashion to textile design?
Whilst working in fashion I loved seeing the print designs that textile agencies sold to us and thought it must be amazing designing artwork for textiles! When I moved to London I thought it was the perfect time to pursue textile print design. There are so many more studios and lots of opportunities for this type of work in London.
What issues did you face moving from one industry to other?
I didn’t have a lot of work experience as a textile print designer so I started off as any graduate would, doing internships and freelancing which can be tough!
Do you see a difference between the Australian and British print industries?
One of the biggest differences would be the size and age of the industry. In Australia there are less textile print studios and less university courses offering textile print design degrees. Britain has a very strong tradition of textile print design, Australia doesn’t have this but there is a love of print and colour which makes designing for the Australian market quite fun!
What inspires the creation of your colorful prints?
I’m inspired by a mixture of things. I love to look at the beauty of God’s creation, sunsets, mountains, flowers, weird underwater creatures, the sky it is endless. I’m inspired by textiles from around the world for example ikats, batiks and shibori etc. I also look at what is on the catwalk and what stores are selling in fashion and homewares. I love seeing what other designers and artists past and present have created also. I try and look at things in real life but often find myself online and I am often on Pinterest and Instagram. Finally, my mood and materials influence what I create. I work with a lot of ink and it is an unpredictable material, it moves and spreads a lot which makes it interesting and fun and leads to the spontaneous feel that is in a lot of my work.
Can you tell us about how you create each design – is there a specific process you undertake each time?
It varies, but generally I will begin by painting a lot using inks mainly, but also watercolors, maybe some acrylic and pencils, sometimes I’ll do some marbling or photography. Once this is complete I will scan the images in and manipulate them in Photoshop, sometimes almost nothing is done, a slight color tweak perhaps but not much more, other times the final design is a combination of a few initial pieces of artwork and the result is something that looks completely different.
Do you have a favorite Amy Sia print?
I love the Metropolis print – bold, modern and fun!
Abstracts are my favorite, I love the freedom to create anything!
What is the best career advice you have ever received and have you always followed it?
To just keep going! When I first started working in the print industry I was frustrated by the quality of my work, I then read an Ira Glass quote that was really helpful and gave me encouragement to keep going!
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work.”
Hopefully I’m getting past that phase!
Do you have any exciting new projects up your sleeve you can tell us about?
At the moment my collaboration with Vida has just launched which is a collection of silk dresses featuring my artwork! I’ve also started working with King and Mcgaw a fantastic British company on a range of artwork.