The Non-Conformist | Interview with Hiffy Ulrich, Illustrator

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Designs by Hiffy Ulrich, Designer and Illustrator

On the back end of last year on a trip to The London Illustration Fair at Oxo Tower Wharf, I came across an incredibly exciting illustrator and immediately knew I needed to speak to her more. Opinionated, bold and unafraid, her work was different from the rest of the show and after scrolling through Instagram I could see she had stolen the hearts of others too.

The lady in question? Well, that would be Hiffy Ulrich. A recent graduate with a First Class BA Honours degree in Graphic Arts at Winchester School of Art, Hiffy aims to create work that is fun, relevant and innovative. Working with a variety of mediums from clay to fabric, Hiffy challenges our daily perceptions and merges the boundaries between feminism, sustainability and playfulness all with a colourful flair. Her distinctive repeat patterns are an absolute winner in my books.

By combining her love of fashion, music and art, Hiffy has, in turn, created popular culture on her terms with slogan pin bages and “out-there” decorative objects such as hairy legs to display on your desk and pink and red boobies to brighten up your bathroom. One of her final projects at university was a 7 Day Outfit that allows the wearer to create more than 7 different looks using the same garment. The looks is achieved by folding, reversing and tieing the garment to create a whole new style. This is someone who thinks with a twist. I had a quick chat with Hiffy about all things 2018. Keep on readin’ for some insight into her world of ideas…

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People with personality and some great thick black lines

Can you describe your work for me in one sentence?     

Bright colours and bold lines that make smiles creep up in the corners with intrigue and delight.

You only graduated in September from Winchester School of Art. How do you think university has shaped you as a designer?

The programme I studied, Graphic Arts, allowed me to move between the disciplines of illustration, animation and graphic design. We collaborated a lot on projects, which led to the evolution of my own practice. In my final year, the project briefs were supported by industry professionals, which gave insight into the ‘real world’ of design and illustration.

And since graduating you’ve delved into life creating your own work to sell. What have you learnt since?

I think at the start I threw this huge net out which brought in so many ideas and now reeling it in, I’ve learnt that some products work better than others. It’s a process that I’m starting to enjoy; editing myself and knowing it’s still ‘Hiffy’.

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A selection of Hiffy’s pins at The London Illustration Fair

In September you exhibited at FEMFEST – a feminist arts festival curated by Sweet ‘Art – how important do you think it is as an artist to showcase your values and opinions?

I think it’s pretty important to say something with your work. I draw from a lot of inspiration whether it’s political, topical or from my own experience. For me, my art is my outlet for my values and opinions. I’m not sure I’m good at expressing them in any other format than through a doodle.

How do you think your work is going to develop in 2018?

I’d like to venture further into apparel. I’m really into designing fabric but I want to expand into clothing design. My FMP, The 7 Day Outfit, was hugely centred around this and I want to revisit it this year.

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The 7 Day Outfit project which allows the wearer to create 7 different looks

Dream client or project?

I’d love to collaborate with a brand like Monki. I think my fabrics would feel at home there! However, I’d love to be able to launch a clothing brand of my own one-day.

And finally, what’s your one piece of advice for anyone currently in their final year of studies?

Be bold. There’s so much at your disposal when you’re at Uni. Talk to your tutors and reach out to people in the industry. Also, make use of all the tools around you. Your Grad show is a great chance to make amazing connections so be polite and engage with people, they’ll remember someone who is keen and enthusiastic!

Feeling Inspired? Visit Hiffy’s Etsy shop for some alternative creations and let me know what you think in the comments below.

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