Mia Meets… Camilla Perkins

Interview by Mia Kingsley

For this weeks ‘Mia Meets…’ we have an extremely talented illustrator, from portraits to banquets of lobsters, ‘Pussy Riot’ to tea parties,  her exotic colour schemes and attention to detail can not be flawed, Camilla Perkins is truly amazing. The Brighton born artist creates unique and magical illustrations that leave the eye wanting more, we talk about her favourite colours, the horror of working in black and white, her techniques and her inspirations. Meet the wonderful Miss Perkins…

So how did you start illustrating?

I really started Illustrating properly on my foundation course, before that I made big abstract expressionist paintings.

Have you always been creative? Do you remembering making and creating as a child?

I would say that I have always been creative, I can always remember writing and illustrating my own stories as a child, and being obsessed with colour.

What inspired you to pursue illustration? 

I always loved illustrations in books and I really liked the idea of working from a brief to create something unique. I have also always loved surface design and textiles.

How would you describe your style? Has it develop or changed over years?

My style is very bright and colourful, I use overlay a lot and it has a certain handmade quality. My style has definitely changed, I went through a weird erotic drawing phase which I’m glad is over to be honest.

Which artists do you admire?

I really love the work of Outsider artists Henry Darger and Aloïse Corbaz, they are both really colourful and intricate. I also have been very inspired by Matisse and the Illustrator Kathleen Hale.

What was the last exhibition you attended that really impressed you? Are you excited for any in the coming weeks?

Although it was a few years ago, I visited the Museum of Everything exhibition in Primrose Hill in my first year of University which completely changed the way I looked at making art. I’m also really looking forward to visiting the new Matisse exhibition at the Tate Modern, I went to one of his exhibitions as a child and found it really inspirational.

What inspires you from day to day, how do you go about creating and illustrating? 

I’m usually inspired by the brief I am given, I also really like to be around plants and nature in general. A short while ago I visited an amazing botanical garden in Copenhagen which has influenced the work I have been making in recent weeks.

Your illustrations have such bold colours and beautiful patterns, why do you work like this?

I Love to draw objects that I find beautiful, so I use pattern to adorn clothing and interiors within my work. I find it hard to know when to stop! I have always been attracted to bold colours, I can’t help myself, working in black and white would probably be the biggest challenge for me.

What is your favourite colour/ colour schemes?

I love pink! Or pink and orange, and green…. All of them, I can’t choose! I also love having a background of dark grey or purple and adding bright colours on top.

Does your environment reflect into your work?

I share a studio with my Mother who is a knitwear designer so we always have hundreds of brightly coloured balls of yarn surrounding us which definitely reflects in my work. I also have a large collection of oddities like taxidermy and strange objects that I often work into my illustrations.

Would you say your work is a reflection of yourself?

I suppose it has to be a reflection of myself, I just make work that I would personally like to look at, although I usually hate everything a few days after it’s finished! I think it’s impossible to make something you care about without putting a part of yourself into it.

Whats your favourite subject to draw?

I love drawing animals and portraits of people in amazing textiles. Anything exotic and strange.

What materials do you use?

I use black pen or paint onto acetate and scratch through with a knife to create an image that you would use as a screen print. I then scan everything in and change the colours on Photoshop. I draw everything by hand.

Which piece of work are you most proud of?

I think my favourite piece of work is a portrait called “Gentleman” which was inspired by the “Gentleman of Bacongo” book, I love the colours and it reminds me of Spring.

Whats next for you? Any exciting projects to look forward to?

I’m about to start a project on Roman Mythology, which I am really excited about and I’m also teaching life drawing classes which is really fun!

Thank you so much Camilla, we can’t wait for your new projects!! If you would like to have a look at all the other wonderful works by Camilla please check out all her sites, you can even purchase prints too 🙂

The next ‘Mia Meets…’ will be out this coming Thursday but until then for more Mia Kingsley:



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