As a child, I loved the colourful, psychedelic illustrations of the 60s and 70s and spent a great deal of time drawing and making things. The use of bold colours and shapes has become one of my signature styles. I still spend many hours drawing every week and intend to create more fine art.
I grew up in Surrey, England and won several art competitions whilst at school. In 1984, aged 15, I won a BBC Design Competition to create the storyboard for an Alvin Stardust pop video which was used to promote his Christmas hit "So Near to Christmas", which charted that Christmas.
I gained A Levels in Biology, Art, Textiles & Dress (Textile Science & History of Costume and Dressmaking) during sixth form at school in Surrey, followed by an Art Foundation Course at Croydon Art College. Eventually I graduated from Middlesex University in 1992 with a BA (Hons) in 3D Design & Jewellery which included a few months at The Fachochschule in Dusseldorf, Germany. During my studies, my eyes were opened to the more experimental work of designers such as Issey Miyake.
As a graduate, my first job was Head of Events and Visual Merchandising for Cabouchon jewellery. The company was rapidly expanding at the time, which gave me a great deal of business experience. My job involved travelling mostly in Europe, setting up events at luxury hotels and working as an in-house stylist on company films and brochures, which took me to places like South Africa and enabled me to work with companies such as Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising.
Eventually my desire to go back to being an independent artist took over and I quit my job and went travelling in order to make a change. I lived in Sydney for a year and worked as jewellery designer there, re-branding and designing new products for a small independent manufacturer.
On my return to London I freelanced for two and a half years as a couture jewellery designer for Erickson Beamon where I designed over 40 successful collections for them. During this time my Dad had a terrible stroke which was a very difficult time and reflecting on life in general, I decided it was now or never and I took the plunge and started my own business. I totally self funded my business and it was a leap of faith but I learnt a lot of lessons along the way. Initially I created a small jewellery collection which I sold to Selfridges, Whistles and TopShop Oxford Circus in London and a boutique in Tokyo called Arki.
Throughout this time I also worked as a freelance illustrator and occasionally sold my paintings. My illustrations have also been commissioned by Fortnum & Mason, Dylon and Camden Graphics to name a few. I have written and illustrated lots of stories for children which are being prepared for publication.
Coming from a family with a history in manufacturing, engineering and building, a desire to design and make things has definitely been passed down through the genes.
My Great Grandfather Thomas Eli Haywood founded an engineering company in Coulsdon, Surrey in 1949. They built and opened the first ever petrol station on the Brighton Road and designed and manufactured the postal trolleys for Mount Pleasant Post Office, amongst other things. www.thomashaywoodandsons.com