Interview: Artist and illustrator Lily Kate Vallance

Interviews - May 18

As part of our ongoing commitment to celebrating the art of footwear, we’ve collaborated with talented New Zealand artist Lily Kate Vallance who has created a bespoke illustration of our hit boot Garland.

With her unique style, full of lush colors and illustrative flourishes, Vallance was inspiring to work with to explore one of our favourite footwear designs in a fresh way. A well known illustrator, she has produced artwork for many of New Zealand’s leading fashion brands and magazines. Like many successful artists, her love of art was apparent from an early age, fostered by the support and love of her mother - who Vallance credits with inspiring her to pursue her career path as an artist.

We’re proud to be teaming up with Lily Kate Vallance, and we sat down to chat with her about her finely tuned artistic process, inspirations, and the importance of giving women and their work visibility.

Could you explain the process behind your illustration technique?
I like playing with different techniques, and usually find myself creating pieces using a multimedia approach.The original artwork on offer is a mixture of layering gouache/acrylics for the more textured/abstract areas and fine pencil detailing in the knit jumper, I’ve then layered these digitally to create a work that I wanted to be dynamic and playful.

How long did this illustration take you?
I worked away a couple hours at a time in my studio at home, so approximately 8-10 hours in total. The knit detailing was a fair bit of that!

What’s your favourite part of the artwork?
I loved creating the colour palette of the Garland boot against the outfit, the combination of a chocolate brown suede boot and a creamy knit felt effortlessly fashionable.

What do you hope these prints will achieve?
I love having artwork around my home, I think it adds something special to a space, creates personality and holds a memory. I hope the lucky Mi Piaci women who receive one of these prints will find a place in their home or work where the artwork can inspire them everyday.

Have you always been creative? What is your earliest memory of illustrating or drawing?
Ha! Much to my mothers dismay, as a child I used to draw on walls… So she remedied the situation by making all my bedroom walls into chalk boards where I could draw as much as my heart desired!

I put a lot of why I chose the career path I did, and why I was confidently artistic from a young age down to her. She always encouraged my love of creativity. Not all mothers would be on board when their child wants to scrap book every page of their schoolbooks, but she was. So yes, safe to say it’s something that has always come naturally and I’ve grown with.

Do you have a favourite medium or subject matter?
A lot of my works start with painting in gouache/inks, sometimes I play with acrylics because I like their layering ability. When the majority of the artwork/textures are complete I scan pieces in and then digitally refine the work.

Who or what inspires your work?
Life! Things I love, things I see, patterns, textures and tones. The things I’m passionate about like women’s rights and body positivity.

Why is it important to give female creatives visibility?
The same reason it’s important to hear women in more areas everywhere. We have a unique viewpoint, we walk through life experiencing things that are societally unique to being a woman. Allowing women to express themselves and be heard provides an insight into that experience.

You have your own unique personal style, could you tell us what inspires it?
I suppose I’ve always leaned towards the kitsch and the quirky. I naturally express myself creatively and I suppose my dress sense and style is just another outlet for that!

What does your style and wardrobe say about you?
I think it says I’m not afraid to wear what makes me happy and feel good. To be authentic to myself, not caring if it’s different to the norm. I’m a strong believer in doing what feels right for you, whether that’s a slouch jumper or a vintage dress!

Do you have any style or fashion advice?
Don’t be afraid to wear what you love! Life is too short to follow the crowd, do what makes you happy and what makes you feel good.

What do you love about footwear?
I like that footwear can be an extension of yourself, of your unique style, another way to express your individuality and add that personal flair to an outfit.