Written by Victoria Hussey
I am Vanity Scare an artist and illustrator from Hull, UK. I create illustrations and sell prints, stickers, greetings cards and pin badges of them on my website www.vanityscareart.com and take commissions for murals and illustrations.
I lived in London for over 5 years but am now based in Leeds, West Yorkshire. My style of art is very detailed, with thick black outlines and bright clashing colours. I usually work in either pen and ink illustrations which I then edit digitally using my iPad or my acrylic painting on canvas, which again I edit digitally to create prints and other items.
I’ve always been artistic and creative but initially I studied Fashion Design at University and still love to dress up and experiment with my style. After University I was lucky enough to work in lots of interesting and creative jobs such as being a Balloon Artist and a Librarian but living in London with a long commute meant that I found it hard to do my own artwork and juggle a full-time job and a social life. With a move to Leeds, and a change of lifestyle I found more time to work on being an artist.
The inspiration for my designs began after discovering the pop artist Natalia Kills. Kills has destroyed her career several times and reinvented herself with a new alias each time. The Name Natalia Kills was her third pop star alias, and the name under which she accomplished her most dramatic fall from grace. Kills humiliated a contestant on X Factor New Zealand, whilst she was a judge on the show and was consequently fired.
The YouTube video of the incident subsequently went viral spawning the hashtag #Nataliakillshercareer. The incident has since been widely reported to be a publicity stunt created by the X Factor producers.
This incident became the initial starting point for my designs which explore the excesses of society and the downsides of fame focusing on drugs, plastic surgery, and the role of technology within these concepts. I also enjoy space, future and dystopian themes, and love making pieces on social commentary.
Other inspirations include, TV shows ‘Nip/Tuck’ and ‘Black Mirror’, the book ‘Disco Bloodbath’ by James St James and the film adaption ‘Party Monster’. I am also a huge pop music fan, particularly artists such as Poppy, Grimes, Allie X, Carly Rae Jepson, Girls Aloud, Robyn, Miley Cyrus, Cruel Youth, Demi Lovato, Madonna, Alanis Morissette and Garbage.
Vanity Scare Art
I started taking my art more seriously in 2018, and I started an Instagram page to post my illustrations and began also doing some street art, posting stickers and pasteups of my illustrations on the streets of Leeds and beyond. The Paste-up or Wheatpaste is a less traditional form of street art which involves making posters either printed or hand painted and pasting them onto walls.
Often many artists create pieces, and they are all posted around and over each other as they weather making layer or layer of art in a collage format. Sometimes they are tagged over or defaced, but somehow this adds to their appeal. I really like this form of street art as it is like an accidental collaboration of artists and how you put the piece on the street can create extra context to it. Sometimes I also paint murals, although I tend to do this over the summer as its freezing painting outside in winter!
I had just set up a website selling prints and stickers but was yet to make any sales when lockdown hit. Lockdown finally gave me the time I needed to really focus promoting my artwork through social media and perfecting my website. I was also able to connect with many artists all over the world, collaborating with some, and sending out pasteups to put on walls in many different countries. At the time I couldn’t travel and was at home, but my art was getting around all over the streets of the world. In return I pasted up pieces for other artists around Leeds and Hull when I was able to when lockdown had eased.
Expanding The Business
Initially I started with selling prints, but lots of people started messaging me to ask if they could buy stickers of my work. Now stickers are my most popular item, with people buying them to decorate many items from guitars, skateboards, water bottles and lunch boxes. My most popular designs currently are the ‘Read A Book’ and ‘Doomscrolling’ Stickers.
I would love to explore with making more pieces with messages and slogans and have lots of new ideas in mind for the near future. Although I have since added pin badges and greetings cards to my range, I also want to try getting my designs printed on some different items such as mugs and notebooks.
I have been lucky enough to also take on some commissions in the past year, doing some murals at a restaurant in Leeds called The Little Monk, designing some Merch for the Peep show fan club Dobby Club and creating the artwork for the band Alex Chilltown’s album and singles. I really enjoy taking on commissions as it challenges me to see things from the client’s point of view and think out of the box. Doing my own designs is my comfort zone, whereas designing something for someone else requires me to think deeper and try new things I wouldn’t normally consider. I am currently open for commissions so if you have something in mind send me a DM on social media!
More from Victoria Hussey:
Facebook: Vanity Scare Art
Instagram and Twitter: @vanityscareart
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