Olivia Twist on building community and transforming everyday scenes into vibrant illustrations
During her talk, not only did the London-born illustrator Olivia Twist reveal just how much she loves trainers, but that there are so many layers and reasons behind her work. For starters, she explained how it took her a little while to land on the distinctive style we all know and love today. Pinpointing the exact moment, it was when an old tutor referred to her as a “visual chameleon” that she set herself on carving out her own aesthetic, landing on a sketchy, colourful and bold technique that uses “simple tools to make complex marks”.
After this, Olivia continued to detail the other layers that make up her practice: one that involves a sketchy process, and turning everyday moments into a vibrant illustration. “I’m somebody that sees beauty in the mundane,” she said. By doing so, she opens up conversations that she cares about – topics involving politics, activism and society. We saw a broad mix of projects presented up on the big screen, from a campaign rallying against the cancellation of free travel for London’s youth to a project documenting the growth of her brothers. “I really like commissions when it feels like personal work, the stuff you would have done anyways,” she explained. For Olivia, building community takes time, yet for her, it’s one of the most cementing aspects to her practice – and to creativity, for that matter. The audience were amazed and moved by Olivia’s discussion, not least amused by the quips and humour that she naturally exuded on the stage. Let’s just say it was the perfect opening to an inspiring evening!