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5 Minutes with New ARTCH artist, Olivia Sewell

5 Minutes with New ARTCH artist, Olivia Sewell

ARTCH Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

OS I’m an artist, illustrator and designer. I live with my young family not far from where I grew up in a pretty little pocket of West Kent. I predominantly work in Indian Ink and usually in black and white (although occasionally I’ll whip out the colour!) As well as working on my own collection of prints and originals, I do bespoke commissions for weddings and events. My style is playful and effortless, inspired by many summers spent by the Med, good food, and appreciating all that’s on my doorstep too. 

Artist Olivia Sewell

ARTCH How did you first get into art?

OS I’ve been drawing and painting for as long as I can remember, as a child I was constantly creating. Both my grandmother and my mother were very creative, so growing up I was really encouraged to get stuck in.

ARTCH Was there a process that led to you developing your distinctive style?

OS Funnily enough I honed in on my style through painting with a very long stick! It was the best way to loosen things up, work with and accept ‘mistakes’, ink splats were welcomed and drips embraced. It was only after this that I found photographs of Matisse doing a similar thing! I suppose really though, it just came from years of doodling, scribbling and drawing as a hobby first. 

Work by artist Olivia Sewell

ARTCH What inspired you to change your career from publishing to opening your own design studio? 

OS I published an online family and travel magazine for a few years. What I loved most was discovering new brands and designs, fabulous hotels and exciting restaurants and interiors. It was really inspiring to see others just going for it. I’d always dreamt of doing my own thing and getting my work ‘out there’, and the brands that I worked with, and their start-up stories, gave me the confidence to just go for it.

ARTCH Can you tell us what a typical day looks like for you?

OS With three young children, my days are very full! I try to get up about an hour and a half before the rest of the household wakes, this is my time for coffee and emails at the kitchen table. Then it’s breakfast chaos, school runs and babies! Post drop-off, I’ll grab another coffee from a favourite farm shop, and head to the studio (not far from home). Here I’ll do as much work as possible whilst Albert (my youngest) either sleeps or plays in his swing. The rest of the day I’m ‘Mama’. Both roles make me love and appreciate the other all the more.

ARTCH Do you have any advice for young creatives or artists setting out?

OS Paint for yourself. Don’t paint for anyone else, don’t paint what you think will sell. Just paint what you love, in the medium you love and enjoy it. It will show in your work.

Work by artist Olivia Sewell

ARTCH Anything you’d do differently if you were starting out on a creative path again?

OS I really don’t think so, I think it’s a journey that happens so organically. If I had put my work out there any sooner, perhaps it wouldn’t have been the right time, perhaps the stars wouldn’t have quite aligned like they have.

ARTCH Any exciting projects in the pipeline you can tell us about?

OS Lots coming up - a couple of collaborations, and a few weddings that are coming together, all to be revealed soon! We’re off to Tuscany in a few weeks where I’ll be keeping an eye out for fresh inspiration.

Olivia's work on a tablecloth for a wedding in Tuscany

ARTCH If you could own one piece of art (however unattainable!), what would it be?

OS Such a good question! It would have to be Picasso’s ‘Goat’ bowl (or any of his ceramics actually). Otherwise anything by Emma Gale or Faye Wei Wei – adore everything they do.

Work by Picasso, Emma Gale and Fay Wei Wei

Dream dinner party guests

All of my favourite friends plus Nigella Lawson (she can bring the pud!)

Huge thanks to Olivia for taking the time to answer our questions so brilliantly. You can follow her on Instagram here.

View Olivia's new open edition prints, 'Le Soleil', 'La Nuit', 'La Lune', 'Sunday', 'Saturday', 'Tuesday', 'Monday', 'The Oranges', 'Two Horses', and 'Flying'.


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