Packed to the rafters with character, charm and cheer, Lincolnshire-based illustrator Hollie Fuller beguiles us with her utterly joyful and wholesome practice that toes the line between feeling geometric and feeling candid.
It's been several years since we spoke to the 2019 Leeds Arts University graduate. Since then, Hollie has taken her work to the next level, continuing to bring more and more enjoyment to each day as they roll on by – persistently inhabiting the friendly realm of her practice with increasingly heartwarming and relatable personalities.
"I try to keep everything positive and nice and lighthearted, with very occasional grumpy undertones," Hollie explains, creating work that is fundamentally reflective of our everyday. "It's a little world populated with people doing things," she adds, describing the definition of her practice, finding inspiration both "everywhere and nowhere."
Finding joyfulness in the mundane every day, Hollie tells of her greatest inspiration source, somewhere which epitomises the ordinary – public transport. "I think there's a certain kind of joy in taking something so normal and often negative (and in this case something that's such a part of so many people's daily routine)," she explains, "and allowing that to become something positive and silly."
Here lies the fundamental element to what makes Hollie's work so special, her unique blend of playfulness that drives her ideas and a sense of semi-sincerity. "I always try to be playful in the way that I draw characters," Hollie explains, finding herself to be slowly – but continually – evolving. "I feel the need to continue being silly and playing with the proportions of my characters," she suggests, "but always in a way that feels like me," noting, "I think I found that initial way of drawing that was me, and now I'm interested in how I can challenge and push that further."
This playfulness goes hand-in-hand with and is very much the vehicle for the sheer positivity of Hollie's work, both the "key" to her practice and the innate quality that is so captivating to the charming scenes and characters she produces. In the fairly horrible times that we're doing through right now, I think we can all agree that a bit of Hollie Fuller is what we need. In fact, when asked what she'd like to see more of in the creative industry, Hollie simply replies "more silliness," followed by "and less artwork stealing."
A recent project that allowed Hollie the opportunity for silliness was her project for The Guardian, enlivening business and technology-focused stories with fun, innately human illustrations. "I love the challenge of taking on something that's quite mundane and turning it into something that's more fun," she tells us, "so it was such a great project for me and such a learning curve as well."
Continuing to work on personal projects as well as commercial ones, Hollie has now set her eyes on her favourite museums and gallery spaces – something we've all missed recently. "It was a nice way of visiting those places, without actually being able to visit them because of lockdown," she explains, "I enjoy being able to introduce real things into my work, combining character and exhibitions, looking at the way people interact with different spaces and things." This subject also grants the opportunity to simultaneously play with scale and display "how art can make you feel, such as how some sculpture can make you feel quite small."
Fundamentally, Hollie's astonishing work (that our walls would be all the better for displaying) is about interaction and communication, managing to tell something about ourselves from our oddities and foibles, and uniquenesses and friends – be it dogs or pink cowboys.