THE IMPORTANCE OF WELLBEING AND THE ENVIRONMENT WITH SARAH ANTHONY
This month’s theme explores the impacts of Lockdown, calling on emerging talent to look for the positives that have come out of these challenging times and consequently, how these experiences have inspired design.
Carry on reading to discover what our designers think about how lockdowns will shape the future of the design world!
INTRODUCING THE DESIGNER
Sarah Anthony is an illustrator and animator based in Manchester, UK. Her practice centres on wellbeing, with an emphasis on our environment and green spaces. Sarah is interested in how our imaginations can transform the mundane, and create social and environmental change. She is driven by curiosity and community values, and inspired by the possible narratives of the world around
How much do you think the pandemic and lockdowns has influenced your design work?
I think the most defining part of the pandemic in terms of my practice, was how much it forced me to adapt and simplify how I worked. Not having access to certain facilities was definitely difficult to begin with, but in a way it’s prepared me for working as an illustrator without university facilities at my fingertips.
I’ve definitely become more reflective, thoughtful and attuned to the type of work I want to create, as a result of being more introspective during lockdown. It’s helped shape my practice to focus on the things that are important to me; social and environmental issues, wellbeing and health. Stylistically, I realised I wanted to create illustrations that were joyful and reflective, and I gravitate towards making work with a playful, warm and friendly tone.
Where did your interest in design stem from?
I’ve been making things for as long as I can remember! As a child, I was absolutely obsessed with remodelling a three room dollhouse I had, with fabric swatches as rugs and wallpaper samples for the walls. My Grandpa handmade and painted tiny, wooden pieces of furniture for it, and I think seeing the care and love that he put into making those items concreted my love of making. I’ve always seen designing as something imbued with care and consideration, and that’s part of why I still love it now. It’s also a constant cycle of evolution and reflection that makes you question and learn new things. I think impacting peoples’ lives in a positive way is so special, and design allows you to do that in a multitude of ways. It’s an incredibly powerful tool.
Do you think the ways in which lockdown has changed our lifestyle will continue to influence the design industry? What are your trend predictions for 2022?
Lockdown definitely encouraged a time of self reflection for a lot of people, myself included. It made me look at what I actually valued and realign my priorities, specifically in regards to environmental and social change.
My trend predictions for the next year? An increase of individual and collective action working in tandem. I think we’re likely to see another change in consumer habits, as people look towards investing in the wellbeing of themselves, their families and their communities in more sustainable, long term, planet friendly ways. With that I think there will be an increase of consumers pushing for transparency and environmental accountability. I’m hoping the trend of sustainable and regenerative design becomes less ‘trendy’ and instead, an expected and necessary norm that’s accessible for everyone.
What helped you get through lockdown?
Having access to green spaces was absolutely essential for me. That one hour of government sanctioned exercise outside was so necessary for me to stay grounded and I felt incredibly lucky to have such ease of access to quiet woodland and green spaces.
I also spent a lot of time setting myself little creative projects. Having time to experiment using photography, poetry, drawing and painting was another form of escapism for me that was grounded in something tangible. Being able to find things that allowed me to feel connected was enough, but amazingly it also granted me a lot of inspiration that has ultimately helped shape my creative practice, which is a huge privilege.
What inspires you most on a day-to-day basis?
The main two for me are nature and people, which I guess are intrinsically linked. Both can teach us so much about change, adaptability and resilience. I think you’d be hard pressed to find something more inspiring than someone talking about something they really believe in or want to change, and that passion is infectious! I’m also constantly inspired by the natural world, and a lot of my favourite work I’ve made has come out of engaging with nature in quiet ways. You could call it mindfulness, but I tend to view it as observing and listening. If I’m struggling to begin making anything, I’ll almost always try and go for a walk and observe the little things I see, and that will usually spark something.
When spending so much time at home within the last year, what did you realise you were grateful for?
Having the means and mental and physical wellbeing to allow me to engage with gratitude is something in itself that I’m grateful for. Beyond that, it would be connection to people and to the environment.
It’s been such a chaotic time and so much has changed in the way we work, interact and go about our day to day lives, but the basic human need to connect with each other and with our green spaces has become even more prominent for me personally. I’m so thankful for the personal support system I had during lockdown with friends, family and my tutor at university, as well as having access to local woodlands or parks.
What’s your go to stimulus when you start to create work?
I can be a bit of a research fiend and can be found going down a rabbit hole of journal articles, online threads and reports on a topic I’ve just heard about. I try and saturate myself with as much information as I can at the beginning; but my best work comes from having time to reflect and digest it through writing and drawing. I’ve always been an observer and a listener so I find inspiration in all sorts of things, from books, to conversations, to music progressions etc. I think being willing to see possibilities and inspiration in constantly changing and unexpected places and people is what allows me to grow as a creative and pushes me to keep on making.