Blackshaw, whose concentration is Embroidery, graduated with honors from the Manchester Metropolitan University just last year (2013). The British artist specializes in hand embroidery, digital print, and fashion illustration, and creates collections of textile fabrics. Inspired by audacious colours, bold patterns and a range of artists, she describes her work as "remixing ideas and spontaneously blurting them out on to paper and fabric." While I have not seen any of her textile work in person, I am in love with her lively croquis that seem to navigate the space between serious fashion-designer and abstract fine artist in a novel and bright way.
Within a simple framework of line drawings appears a multi-dimensional, layered presentation of living textures (from glitter to beads to thread) creating a tactile and visual tension in all her works. Actual photographs of models heads/faces ground us in reality and yet her raw and sharp way of clipping them seems to foreshadow the whimsical, stunning world which we see from the neck down, where the modern shapes of her garments are adorned with funky, re-mixed patterns, hand-embroidered elements , and bright colors.
Dramatic yet comedic; complicated yet simple; serious yet whimsical; realistic yet abstract; Blackshaw seems to balance stylistic polarities with the skill and finesse of a well-versed pro. Her illustrations reveal a well-defined sense of drama, depth, and passion that draws us in and swallows us whole. We enter the world of Elyse Blackshaw where nothing can be taken too seriously and yet everything makes perfect sense.
All images used with permission from Elyse Blackshaw.