OYOY x MOIRA FRITH

Together we create...

In the mindset of TOGETHERNESS we have made an exciting collaboration with the English artist, Moira Frith for the AW20 collection. Creating something together has been an exciting process, which has resulted in a number of great and unique posters that we look forward to share with you. Moira's universe is in many ways parallel to ours with the playful approach and perfect use of colors as the core element.

Are you curious to know more about the artist and the collaboration, then just keep reading!

Moira Frith – whose common name is Katie - is born in 1984. She lives in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, a city in the North East of England, with her five-year-old daughter, Agnes.

Katie started painting at the age of seven after she was given some watercolours and a small easel for Christmas by her parents. Her first painting in watercolour was a yellow angel fish under the sea, and it still lives in her Grandparent's house this day. She painted from being a small child right through to leaving school age 18.

As an adult she studied zoology/ecology and pursued a career in natural sciences. Like many others who are busy with jobs and careers, she forgot all about painting for a long time. She started up again about five years after her daughter was born – the change in pace and more time at home rekindled her love for art, and she has been exploring it ever since.

Where does the inspiration come from?

When we ask Katie what inspires her, her answer is:

“Nature always! I've been fascinated by animals and the world they inhabit since I was a little girl. Although I rarely depict an animal or plant in a realistic sense I find observing and studying their form an endless source of inspiration – there's always something new to discover in the colour of a shell, or the pattern sepals form over an unopened flower for example.

On that theme I love old-school natural history illustrations and could look at them for hours. They're rendered with such skill, yet also character and sometimes even humour.

Other sources of artistic inspiration include cave paintings, folk art from different cultures, medieval art and loads of great contemporary illustrators.

Inspiration comes from less tangible sources too – often I'll feel inspired to start painting by music I'm listening to. It could be that the lyrics present a certain imagery, but more often than not it's a feeling to get lost in, and actually that is usually when I enjoy making art the most.”

Style and materials

About her style Katie describes it as loose, intuitive, perhaps even child-like at times. She never really think of her work as 'painting'. To Katie it's drawing.

We have asked Katie when she considers a painting as succeeded? She answers: “Oo that's a really good question! I think for me I can feel whether a painting is going to succeed during the process itself. It's about getting into a flow, letting the image present itself intuitively and organically. As soon as I start overthinking that's when stiffness can creep in and the painting somehow loses vitality.

Utilising space on the page is also a really important aspect of my work, so for me an image that fills the page in an interesting or satisfying way tends to feel more successful.”

As for the materials used for the artworks and which Katie uses, she tells:

”When I paint I use a mix of watercolour and gouache. Lots of different brands
– you can never have too much paint! Watercolour is so immediate and unpredictable, you never quite know what will happen – and that's what I like about it, it's a balance between control and letting go, and embracing the mistakes.

I've also got other bits and pieces I play about with – pencils, oil pastels, ink, crayons and felt tips even. It's not unknown for me to raid my daughter's colouring box!

In addition to painting I dabble in print making, using recycled materials such as card to make block prints by hand.”

”I try not to take my paintings too seriously, so I hope that's reflected in the work and that they make people smile. I'm yet to exhibit my art in 'real life', it's currently all shared through Instagram. The response is incredibly supportive – it's a great platform for sharing art work and connecting to other makers, whether that's asking for technical advice on materials, or moral support relating to the ups and downs of making art.” 

About Katie

When not painting Katie spends time with her daughter in Newcastle, which, for Katie, is a town loaded with great museums, galleries and places to go that are fun for children and adults alike. ”And I really love when I can (although it doesn't happen enough at the moment) to get out into nature. My current obsession is rockpools – I read a really great book about them recently (Rock Pool by Heather Buttivant) and it fired my imagination, exploring the creatures and the alien world among the pools and weeds”, tells Katie.

She continues by telling about her job: ”My path into art has been slightly unconventional, in that I've always had jobs relating to conservation of the natural environment. Including projects on bats, squirrels, science communication and wildlife recording. And currently I work fulltime as a geographic information systems data officer (making maps essentially!) for a UK based charity called the National Trust.”

Finally, we asked Katie to relate our use of the word TOGETHER in the description of our brand, and also whether she believes that OYOY lives up to the idea of being a brand for the whole family. We are curious about Katie's thoughts on the brand, our design, style and stories. Here is her answer: ”TOGETHER sums up OYOY exactly, and I was super excited that you asked me to collaborate on these posters with you!

It's unusual for designs aimed at children to appeal to adults on an equal level - this is a rare trick you have managed to pull off! And it's so important because home and the objects you surround yourself with should give a sense of belonging and joy.

Your toys have such lovely quality and design, and I could easily imagine them being loved by a family for years and passed down through the generations. The identity of your products is also very strong – I think an object designed by OYOY is clearly identifiable as such and this really ties the brand together.”

We encourage you to follow Katie's exciting universe on instagram:

@moirafrith

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