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Portrait of Rachel Oxley

Portrait of Rachel Oxley

Rachel tells us more about the influence of Andy Warhol and the Austin Mini in her work
Starting off by using found materials and collage Rachel soon realised that such techniques did not translate well in print and moved on to a digital style that is now predominated by vectors.

What is your creative background?

I studied Art with Art History to A level at Grammar school. I then went on to do a foundation course and specialised in graphic design. Thereafter I studied graphic design and illustration at the University of Kent in Maidstone. My first commissions were produced using collage. I remember presenting the art editor with a piece of thick board and watching his heart sink.

What was the first ad or artwork that inspired you?

Andy Warhol’s Brillo and Campbell soup prints. Seeing these at an exhibition that was held at the Hayward Gallery at a young age was very inspiring. I also loved cars – the Austin Mini, Citroen 2cv, the citroen DS, the old SAAB 96 (I had to look that up!) and the SAAB 900S which was to be my first car – talladega red.

Where do you find your inspiration? What captures your attention in everyday life, graphics or art?

I had boxes and boxes of scraps of paper with interesting lines or shapes, textures and colour, which I would then scan. I went through a cathartic phase some years ago during which I cleared out all my scraps. I now have a virtually paperless studio and only keep a virtual scrapbook.

What is the process you go through to build your imagery?

I have a vision in my minds eye and I keep working at it until it resembles that vision. I am always searching for a new way to present the image and an alternative colour scheme.

How do you describe your style?

I would hope that my interest in design is apparent. I like to combine photographic elements with strong clean drawings.

What tools do you use?

I use a digital camera, scanned images/ textures, Illustrator and Photoshop.

Who’s portrait would you most like to do?

Queen Elizabeth II.

What artist would you like to collaborate with?

Eduardo Paolozzi (failing that – my husband Ian, he is an amazing designer).

What do you think about the fast moving pace of the world of illustration?

I think it is just a reflection on the world in general. It can be quite esoteric and not always able to permeate through to the hoi polloi. Most people that I meet have no idea what an ‘illustrator’ does. It always surprises me. Does illustration really get that overlooked? It’s everywhere!

Which blogs and magazines do you read?

Many but Graphic and The Guardian are in my top list.

What is the last exhibition you went to?

‘Designing 007: Fifty Years of Bond Style’ at the Barbican. I also took the children to see the Damien Hirst exhibition at the Tate. This was accompanied by much “urrghh” and ” but that’s disgusting!”.

What are you currently working on and what are your plans for the future?

I am currently working on a compilation book of illustrations of buildings of both historic and local interest. I am really keen to expand my portrait work and I am very excited about the future of the Fabulous Noble project – I have a good feeling about this!