I have recently fallen madly and deeply in love with the art work of Kristjana S Williams, an Icelandic born designer, illustrator and graphic artist. Amongst her inspirations she cites Victorian engraving and the varied landscapes of her native country, both of which are evident in the rich outpouring of her vibrant and decadent work. Creating intricate scenes with mystical and exotic creatures, she simultaneously evokes a sense of the nostalgic, surreal and fantastical.
Lear Gaukar 05
Lear Gaukar 06
A graduate from Central St Martin’s, her illustrations first found life as part of a collection for the boutique fashion store Beyond the Valley, where Williams was also creative director for 8 years before it very recently shut up shop. The luxurious pieces which feature Williams’ illustrations also maintain a feeling of delicate elegance through the use of clean lines and silken materials. Her talent was recognised by Holland and Holland who commissioned her to create a wall mural for their Bruton Street store in 2010. As a part of the safari room her drawings captured “an imagined space on the Veldt where native species gather peacefully at dusk”. She has also created work for the Wilderness Festival, had a show at the V&A as part of the London Design Festival, and a solo show at the Soho based graphic art gallery Outline Editions.
Collections at Beyond The Valley
Safari Room Mural for Holland and Holland
Collaboration with George Smith
There is definitely an element of the surreal to Williams’ illustrations, and part of my admiration is probably born out of a childhood obsession with fairy tales which transport you to another realm, as Williams’ works undoubtedly do. The colourful intricacy of the scenes Williams creates provide endless indulgence, and with a number of projects lined up for 2012 including more work for Holland and Holland, an expanding print collection at Liberty’s, and participation in Somerset House’s annual Pick Me Up exhibition, I am intrigued to see what mystical wonders Williams will bring us next.
The Pick Me Up contemporary graphic art fair is on from 22 March - 1 April at Somerset House.