Featured Artist: Sweet William

FK chats to Paula, one of the sisters behind illustrated label, Sweet William

Can you tell us about your lovely label, Sweet William and where the name comes from?
My sister lives in New Zealand and I in Melbourne, and we are both originally from South Africa. We wanted to stay connected despite the distance, and we both thrive on being creative. Shelley loves to makes things and I love to draw and so we started Sweet William (named after our childhood pet cat).

What are your backgrounds and when did you start collaborating?
I studied commercial art and graphic design and enjoyed a career in art direction in Cape Town and London. I began freelancing and working from home as an illustrator when my babies came along. Shelley is a qualified teacher and currently works in education at Wellington Museum.  Sweet William was started in 2008 although I would say we have been collaborating on creative projects all our lives!

What inspires you from the past?
Many of my drawings have a reference to our childhood, it may be favourite colours, street names, places we visited, pets we had or little quirky things that only siblings would know – secrets and family favourites. We are 70’s and 80’s kids so anything from that era holds loads of nostalgia for us. I have also always been into to vintage, from the moment my Granny took me to a car boot sale at around the age of 6. I love items that show the character of time and were made in an era when things were made to last. When buying things for my home I try an avoid anything new.

What is your favourite medium and why?
Fine line black pens – can’t  get enough of them! Hard to pick a favourite though – I do love windsor and newton ink, gauche, water colour and collage.

When you’re not creating what are you doing?
I have three young girls aged 4, 6 and 8 who keep me busy. When I am not creating or sorting out children I like to run, swim and cycle. I also love to op shop for things in my home and scratch around flea markets and as a family we love getting out into the bush or beach to go camping. Shelley has two girls, aged 8 and 10 and is in the middle of building a house on hill just outside Wellington, they also have 2 dogs, 3 chickens and a horse!

What are you working on and planning for 2011?
I am continuously working on new work, either for clients or for Sweet William. I plan to continue studying through the Victorian College of Arts which pushed me creatively. I am hoping to work on more original work, more painting, more collage, more drawing, more stories in other words just more creative work. Shelley and I would love to do a Finders Keepers market together in Sydney – that would be a blast!


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