Meet the artist: Rose Eads

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12 May
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After seeing the incredible skate deck designs our super talented in-house artists produced recently, we thought it was well past time we caught up with them and found out what makes them tick. First up, we spoke to Rose Eads.

How did you arrive at Animal?

I did some time in the Animal stores, about five years in all, which I guess gave me a really good understanding of the clothes and designs they create and what they are all about. I worked in both the Poole and Bournemouth stores and we used to go surfing before shift. We’d have a kip in the car park pre-surf and then be wide-awake by 6am, ready to get in. It left you freezing cold after but buzzing for your shift. The hand dryer in the cloakroom was your best friend in those days!

I wanted to go to art school and worked seriously hard to get myself a place, sadly, it didn’t really turn out to be what I expected so I didn’t complete. However, I knew that I really wanted to work at Animal so I kept knocking at the door until I got my chance. Now I’m into my second year here, so it all came good in the end. I’d always say don’t give up. If you fall off your board you get right back on it!

What does art mean to you?

For me, it’s about extending the boundaries of perception and experimentation; lots of experimentation. I’m always finding new things to inspire me. It can come from anywhere: films, photography —some of the Hawaiian pro surfer girls have great instagram feeds. At the moment I’m really into mark making and texture. I love making a mess; just getting lost in my work, it helps me to be creative.

Whose work are you into at the moment?

I love the work of James Jean and Chris Sasaki. The space and air to James Jean’s work and the sheer detail is incredible. As an artist, it’s sometimes just an appreciation of the time and effort put into a piece that hits you—and an automatic respect for that person is born. With Chris Sasaki, it’s his rough pencil marks and tonal work that I love. I don’t draw people much but I would like to.

What did it mean to get asked to work on the skateboard project?

As a skater it was something I’d always wanted to do, so at first it felt pretty overwhelming trying to decide on a design; what I’d hoped for was actually happening and it was kind of surreal. But the main point I always come back to when I create something new is making sure it’s something I would feel right riding.

So tell us a bit more about the design.

I went for all black because it’s a colour I always feel right in. There’s something mysterious about it I think. It was also super important to me that it didn’t come out too feminine. I wanted to create a board that was taken seriously. I want to be seen as an equal so I wanted a deck that guys would respect too. I love films with strong female characters and that influences my work.

You also create incredible illustrations and graphics for Animal’s clothes, tell us a bit about some of the pieces you did for the SS16 collection.

I really loved working on the print that went on some of our swimwear pieces — Pandoria in black and the bandeau swimsuit, Bocaccio. I work closely with our swimwear designer, Gemma, for the shapes across the range. Collaborating in a team with others gets the creative juices flowing and I love working with Gemma who lives the lifestyle and is as good as the boys!

The Riot vest I imagined you would wear skating because the sleeveless tank keeps you cool in the heat. Skulls are definitely something I never tire of drawing. Some are hyper-detailed, like on the Stranded tee, whereas on the Riot vest I chose a looser style to match the textured back graphic.

I also designed the tropical print that is across several pieces for SS16 —the Mini Star bandeau bikini top, Hula Girl vest and Azina drop hem tee. I’m really into nature and half my family hail from the West Indies so it was fun to include some tropical detail. I think the bandeau top is great festival wear, you can dress it up or just throw a shirt over the top.

What’s next?

We always work a couple of seasons ahead, so I’m thinking about Autumn/Winter 17, which is where all my experimental mark making comes in. We’ve just come back from a research trip to Barcelona. It’s a great city for people watching, absorbing the colours and culture and of course checking out the massive skate scene. I just wish I’d had my board with me…I couldn’t possibly buy another one!

Follow Rose @rose_eads