Isabelle Laight Interview: Latex, Rose Petals and Hip Hop Embroideries
Art takes many forms: a beautiful painting, a sketch, a video installation, photography. If there’s one thing we’ve learnt in recent months, it’s that the possibilities for expressing yourself are endless – case in point, Isabelle Laight.
Her creative designs are unlike anything we’ve ever come across before and incorporate some seriously badass materials. We’re talking textiles, embroidery, and kitchenware – anything fashion-related.
Originally from Yorkshire and now living in Hackney, her portfolio brings together music and art in ways you could never imagine. She likes anything baby pink, is a big lover of hip hop and is contributing an exclusive piece to our 2pac – Changes art exhibition this Saturday.
Issy, break it down:
How has your fashion training come to shape your work?
I studied Fashion Textiles at the London College of Fashion, so my background is fashion. In the back of my mind I’m constantly thinking of ways to translate my ideas into clothes, prints or embroidery.
Why, in particular, have you chosen to focus on hip hop and R&B in your pieces?
I love hip hop and R&B and feel it’s sometimes underrepresented when looking for gifts for people who like the same music. I had a mental block at uni once and was listening to hip hop when I came up with the idea of mixing the two.
Smart thinking! What was the inspiration behind your Issay Issay enamel brand?
As follow on from my Biggie, Dre and other music-themed embroideries, I decided to start selling prints. Seeing as the market is so saturated with prints, however, I made a conscious decision to offer products which you could use as well as have for decoration. I then did lots of experiments on different materials and fell in love with enamel.
What are the most unusual materials you’ve worked with?
With embroidery, I’ve worked with a whole array! I’d say hair was fairly unusual, hard to sew as it doesn’t stay in place well and can get knotty! I also have dabbled with latex, as does every art student, and dipped rose petals in it to make strange rubbery roses.
We understand you’re quite into astronomy. Were you always destined to become an artist or was it something that came about spontaneously?
I love space but my brain isn’t wired that way, otherwise I’d love to study physics – I find it so interesting! I love the notion that we are tiny little dust particles in the universe and shouldn’t get stressed out or bogged down because nothing really means anything. Life is there to be enjoyed!
It’s clear from your work that you don’t take yourself too seriously, and like to have fun. How important is it for an artist to have a good sense of humour?
Very important! I produce art to make people smile. I think there’s enough bad vibes in the world and people need to loosen up a bit and have a laugh.
What notable events/exhibitions have you contributed to down the years?
Last year, I was doing embroidery workshops at festivals such as End of the Road, and this year I’ve been selling my wares at festivals like Lovebox. I was part of a sick grime exhibition at Hackney’s Stour Space a few months back in April too which went really well.
What can we expect from you at our upcoming 2pac – Changes exhibition (without giving away too much)?
You can expect enamel cuteness, but with a change! Here’s a sneak preview.
Follow Issy’s movements by hitting up her website or Instagram page. Alternatively, you see her work in the flesh this Saturday.