Alexis Hartman of Lake August is the most creative people we know- Illustrating, painting, carving block prints she can do it all. Keep reading to see her latest designs and to learn more about how she creates her beautiful botanical patterns!
TELL US WHERE THE LAKE AUGUST NAME ORIGINATED?
Because so much of my work is inspired by the outdoors, I wanted a name for the brand that described an ideal place and time in nature. Lake August comes from a childhood memory of a family trip to a lake in Maine.
WE KNOW YOU WORK WITH LOTS OF DIFFERENT MEDIA (PAINTING, DRAWING, PRINT MAKING). CAN YOU WALK US THROUGH YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?
Sometimes I can envision the finished product when I begin the process, and sometimes it's the result of a happy accident. I am far from a perfectionist and with techniques at which I am less skilled, like block printing, I enjoy learning as I go and letting interesting things come from that. For my Bun pattern for example, applying too much ink to the block resulted in a texture that, to me, looks like bunny fur and brings the print to life.
EACH OF YOUR PATTERNS BEGINS WITH ONE OF YOUR ORIGINAL PIECES OF ART, HOW DO YOU CREATE NEW COLORWAYS THAT ARE A DEPARTURE FROM YOUR FIRST ITERATION?
Working on color is the most fun and most challenging part of my process. I like to have some kind of narrative to inspire the making of a pattern, and I will use that narrative to create new colorways as well. Sometimes it's imagining the pattern in a different part of the world or just a different time of day. The name of my new wallpaper, Aurora, means "dawn", but one of its colorways is darker and more dramatic than the others, and appropriately named "Midnight".
NATURE HAS A STRONG PRESENCE IN YOUR WORK, AS A CITY DWELLER WHERE ARE YOUR FAVORITE PLACES TO CONNECT TO THE OUTDOORS?
I live in a part of Los Angeles that is hilly and full of plant life, and the way I stay connected to the outdoors on a daily basis is neighborhood walks - the slower the better! I have also recently been spending as much time as I can at the beach, picking up crab shells and different types of seaweed.
WE KNOW YOU'RE THE MOTHER OF TWO YOUNG CHILDREN, DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS ON HOW TO MAKE CREATIVE TIME AND SPACE FOR YOURSELF?
I have a three year-old son and a three month-old daughter. After much trial and error I now know that I have to carve out time to be creative and make that time a priority. There will always be another email to answer, but no one is going to remind you to sit down and paint something. I work in much smaller chunks of time than I used to, and have lots of projects going at once. If I have twenty minutes I will do some carving on a linoleum block, or rough sketches for new pattern ideas. Also, much of the time I spend with my kids is in nature or making something, which fuels me creatively as well.
WHICH OF YOUR DESIGNS DO YOU FEEL THE STRONGEST CONNECTION TO?
Agave Americana reminds me most of my childhood and the landscape of the neighborhood I grew up in. My mother and grandmother have always grown nasturtiums, and there are dozens of agave plants growing on the hillside in back of my grandmother's house. So it's a combination that feels very nostalgic to me.
WHAT'S COMING NEXT?
My newest wallpaper, Aurora, originates from a large-scale painting I made of what I often see on (those aforementioned) early morning walks here in Los Angeles: hummingbirds and butterflies buzzing around jacaranda trees. And right now I'm working on a collection for 2019 that's inspired by ocean life and California beaches. Waves, seaweeds, coastal plants, tide pools, and weird and wonderful sea creatures!