Meet the Maker: Twinkle and Gloom
Twinkle and Gloom is the strange world created by Welsh artist Lowri Roberts, where misery comes in shades of pink. Brought up in a family that valued creativity, Lowri now shares a zinc shed with her maker dad, and it’s here that her odd illustrated world of weird kitties, gloomy bears in party hats, and frustrated girls takes shape. We caught up with Lowri to discover more about the dark humour and ideas of beauty and womanhood that lie behind Twinkle and Gloom…
Can you introduce yourself and describe what you do?
Hello, I’m Twinkle & Gloom. I am an artist and maker who creates a grey and pink world of miserable girls, weird kitties and odd bears.
My style is constantly evolving – I play with different techniques but the core of it is still what comes naturally.
Where does the name Twinkle and Gloom come from?
Twinkle and gloom are words I put together in a college project about our personal identity. Those words just stayed with me – I can’t think of a better name to describe my world. People remember it – they say “are you that Twinkle & Gloom girl?’” My work is full of contrasting elements and ‘Twinkle & Gloom’ has always summed it up nicely.
I bring childlike imagery into my work to bring forward darker ideas.
Have you always been creative?
Both my parents are creative people. My mam used to love sewing things, while my dad has always been interested in woodwork and making things – he would do everything in the home, from the stove to the tables. Because of their creativity it’s always been in me to make. When I wanted to set up as self-employed my parents supported me all the way. I’ve been very lucky to have parents who didn’t think going to college to do art and design was a waste of time.
Did your childhood influence your work?
My childhood was pretty normal, nothing to out of the ordinary, but it’s the innocence of being a child that I remember fondly: the happy memories of annual holidays in Glastonbury town in our converted campervans, creating fantasy worlds with my dolls and doing funny little things just make me smile. I bring the element of the innocence of the child and childlike imagery into my work to bring forward darker ideas at times.
It wasn’t until my last year at college that I feel my drawing style really came to me because I stopped trying so hard.
How did you learn to draw and did your style come naturally?
When you’re at school you’re encouraged to look at other artists and I think you end up imitating other people that way, so the way I drew previously was probably ‘bits of this and bits of that’. Despite that, you do definitely learn from it. It wasn’t until my last year at college that I feel my style really came to me because I stopped trying so hard. I just started letting my hands do what they wanted. My style is constantly evolving – I play with different techniques but the core of it is still what comes naturally.
Sometimes my pieces can have quite a deep meaning behind them, but to make light of the subjects I bring them to the table with a dash of humour.
Can you describe your workspace?
My workspace is a little zinc shed in the garden in the home I was raised in. One summer, when my work was filling the house, my dad (who is also a maker) decided we should build a space in the garden. Together we put together the shed. Inside we share it half and half – my side is what you’d call organised chaos, filled with all sorts of wonders.
When my work was filling the house, my dad decided we should build a shed in the garden. We share it half and half – my side is what you’d call organised chaos, filled with all sorts of wonders.
What influences your work?
Apart from being influenced and inspired by womanhood and topics that go hand in hand with that, my work is hugely influenced by dark humour and humorous slang. Sometimes my pieces can have quite a deep meaning behind them, but to make light of some of the subjects I bring them to the table with a dash of humour. You shouldn’t take my girls too seriously because they certainly don’t take themselves too seriously.
My repetitive faces are a representation of how I feel about the repetitive faces I feel swamped with in magazines and films.
You spoken before about the faces you draw being influenced by the modelling industry and the perceived ‘must haves’ like doll lips. Can you tell us more about that?
The faces I draw are a skewed vision on ‘beauty’ trends and the faces we see in the media. My repetitive faces are a representation of how I feel about the repetitive faces I feel swamped with in magazines and films. As women I feel we are encouraged to buy into the same template – we are encouraged to choose from the same selection of bottled skin tones, hair tones, eyebrows and even eyelashes.
The idea behind my Bird illustration [above] is simply inspired by the term ‘bird’ or ‘fit bird – it’s a literal take on that phrase.
Can you talk us through the inspiration behind one of your pieces?
Yes. I have one piece called Bird. The idea behind this is simply inspired by the term ‘bird’ or ‘fit bird’. A lot of my pieces are routed in ‘endearing’ nicknames given to women. This piece in particular is quite a literal take on that phrase.
My ideas mainly come to me at night when I’m processing things I’ve seen or heard during the day.
What do you like to have around you when you work?
Nothing in particular, sometimes I like to have music around me – I’ll usually listen to The Smiths or Icelandic band Sigur Ros or I’ll sit in silence. Having some of my vintage knick-knacks can help inspire me, but usually I’m too busy ‘in the zone’ to pay too much attention to my surroundings. My ideas mainly come to me at night when I’m processing things I’ve seen or heard during the day.
Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton are my all-time creative heroes. They have always created something different from everyone else, and everything is made with so much love and attention to detail.
Who are your creative heroes and why?
There are so many, from Lewis Carroll to Lotte Reiniger, but it has to be The League of Gentlemen writers, Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton in particular. Even though I’ve been a fan since my teens, I never get bored of their work. They have always created something different from everyone else, and everything is made with so much love and attention to detail. They are my all-time creative heroes.
See the full range of Twinkle and Gloom illustrations, prints, accessories and cards on Folksy
Enjoy 10% off Twinkle and Gloom with the discount code yayfolksy until 31st January 2016
Great interview Lowri, I love seeing your girls on the Folksy Forum and on your FB page, I adore your distinctive style. I wish you well for 2016 and beyond :)
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