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Interview: Hattie Stewart x The Art of Football

It’s no secret that us folk over at Notion HQ have been swooning over Hattie Stewart’s illustrations for quite some time now. So much so, we got her to apply her tongue-in-cheek doodles to the cover of our Ariana Grande issue. When we were told about her involvement with Pepsi MAX’s The Art of Football project, we just had to swing by the studio and catch up with our illustrative cherub. The venture involved a collision of three creative worlds – photography, football and art – with Stewart providing the latter element to Danny Clinch’s photograph of Jack Wilshere.

WILSHERE-ARTWORK_HRPlanet Notion: When did you first get into Illustration?
Hattie Stewart: That’s the big question. I think illustration as an area, I probably decided at University. I have drawn ever since I was young; it was one of those things I always loved to do – the cliché answer. Then over time I was always interesting in comics and I kind of wanted to go into fashion, there was load of different areas.

PN: Does the comic book influence date back to childhood?
HS: Yeah, when I was younger I basically inherited my papas beano and dandy annuals. I loved Disney and all the cartoons; my uncle used to paint cartoon characters on murals and I used to follow him and help him do that. It was just an early influence.

PN: So when did the fashion side come into things?
HS: I guess it’s because my interests lie in so many different things. I was a complete sport freak in school but I also loved fashion. My sister studied fashion and became a designer; she was my introduction into working within the fashion world. It was nice to be able to work with designers with my style. That’s the fun thing, giving them the illustrations and seeing how they bring it to life.

PN: How did the magazine side start?
HS: I was working in a bar just to pay my way and there was a picture of Lily Allen on the wall and I was just bored and drawing over it. Then I thought ‘oh, wait a minute, that actually looks quite good’ and it seemed like a natural thing just to draw over magazine covers. I like the process of the incorporation of photography with my work and I am always looking for different platforms for my work to sit on. With the covers, they just blew up, and people became really receptive of. I think it’s that thing that everyone does but I was doing it in a different vain. That’s why I say professional doodler. I lucked out that’s for sure.

PN: With The Art of Football project, what made you want to get involved?
HS: It was the collaborative side of it, being able to work with street artists and the opportunity of working with a load of people in a field that I’m not so aware of or fully involved in. I thought that was a really exciting opportunity as well as the platform that it would provide. Also, working with the footballers, the photographers. It has so many different areas and there are so many different sides to it.

That’s why I was so excited about this project. It was based around collaborating with a photographer and that is where I am really comfortable working with. It’s just working on a grander scale, which is something I wanted to for a long time, something a lot bigger.

PN: What was it like working with Jack Wilshere?
HS: They are going to see themselves in a way they have never seem them before. It’s great because you have the freedom to do what you want to do and focus on our style completely. It was nice to have that and then see how he plays and think about how he is as a player and incorporate that in the work. I like him because he is young and incredibly talented. He hasn’t reached his full potential yet, he is a great player individually but he is also amazing in the team. I would like to think that I haven’t reached my full potential yet. Our passions for what we do are the same, we are both creative in our own field, it’s just the stadiums we play in are different.

HS: So what did you do with the actual image?
PN: I feel like with my style, It’s versatile so I was lucky with my eyes and stuff.  Having those specific details with my work, it was just about fitting it around the picture. Then it was turning him into a sort of icon. He was the central point but then there was the white line going through it, kind of like Pepsi. But then there was the heart, so the passion. Loads of subtle metaphors but nothing to artsy fartsy. You see it as a piece and you get it straight away.

The full project involved six of the world’s leading street artists providing their illustrative touch to some of the globe’s best footballers, including Leo Messi, Robin van Persie, Jack Wilshere, David Luiz, Sergio Agüero and Sergio Ramos. You can take a look at the final pieces in the gallery below:

- James Embiricos

For more information on Pepsi MAX and the campaign visit www.pepsi.com

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