Jessica Russell Flint has the artist gene in her bones she comes from a long lineage of creatives who include the renowned watercolor artist, Sir William Russell Flint. The artist, whose motto is “can you see beyond the end of your nose?” has made a name for herself and her vibrant and unique illustrations and artwork. Her work goes beyond the page; Flint’s flamingos and lobsters adorn accessories, wallpaper, and other home decor items. One can tell by the vivaciousness in her designs, Flint embraces all life has to offer and reflects this is her work.
Your motto is to “See beyond the end of your nose.” How does that help to define your creative vision and personal philosophy?
It basically just stops me from being hindered by what other people are thinking! It began as a personal philosophy to try to remember to always look at the bigger picture and look outside my peripheral vision. When we worry about what people think it can limit us creatively and its super important to see past whats right in front of us. It’s translated into the brand vision, I try to capture things that are a little eclectic and with character. Most things are brightly coloured, and definitely not safe! Basically, think outside the box and don’t come to any stupidly mundane conclusions about anything.
After studying Geography at Exeter University, what made you decide to continue your studies at Central St. Martins?
I wanted to study Geography, but I admit that I had to force myself! Naturally more inclined to doodle I was split back at the age of eighteen between a course at London College of Fashion and my place at Exeter. I knew that if I didn’t do the “redbrick” option right at that point in my life, then I would never go back and do a proper degree that required a broad range of reading, studying and writing for three years – but I always knew I’d go back to Art. It’s in my blood and more of a hobby than something I think of as a profession. In all honesty I went back to CSM to brush up on my technical skills after a long stint working in the advertising industry. It really gave me the inspiration to start working outside my original career and what kickstarted the brand.
Did you always want to become an entrepreneur?
Both of my parents worked for themselves, mum as a designer and dad in the legal field. I guess it must have rubbed off, and looking back, I was always creating things, mock playing shops, doing mini theatre performances with my best friend and forcing anyone we could to come and watch. I think it’s less about the money making side of being an entrepreneur but more about creating something with my own vision and not being constrained. This is the happiest, career wise, despite the terror of budgets and cash flow, I have ever been and it’s all bound up in being unleashed to create my own vision. It’s liberating!
How would you define your personal style?
In terms of fashion – casual – tomboy… I’m tall and I live in skinny jeans, long shirts and trainers. I have a little dog called Betty who demands a lot of walking, so in-between dashing around the studio like a mad woman, or covering myself in ink during the design process then I’m dragging Betty through any parks I can find en route to a meeting or errand. It’s always move move move so I have to be pretty practical. I love red lipstick to make it all a bit more interesting. If there’s an event in the diary, then I do LOVE to get dressed up as it’s such a treat. I have a lot of handmedown designer dresses from my mum, who is a fashion addict with expensive taste..now she’s a little older she resentfully hands over to me, so I have inherited a few beautiful vintage Vercace and D&G numbers that I still just squeeze into.
What is your greatest source of inspiration for new designs?
Errr – Pintrest?! (how awful is that – I spend hours scouring Pintrest – it’s such a gluttonous pastime!). Fashion Magazines. Walking round Shoreditch – looking in the shop windows, billboards. We are so lucky to live in such a cool city with all this incredible talent around us.
What are five things that you can’t leave the house without?
Other than the three golden items.. (Keys, card, phone)… Betty (I am lost without this little buddy), a hat, (in winter or panama in summer), a bumbag or my Lost Property of London leather backpack (walking around with a dog requires something practical), and sunglasses and a red lipstick.
Out of all of the prints and designs that you’ve created, do you have one or two favorites?
“The dead dodo family” piece is my favourite by a long way – it summarizes our weird world. And we have a new circus design coming out very soon which I am really excited about – it’s underpinning our whole new collection that’s out in May!
Your grandfather is renowned artist Sir William Russell Flint, would you say that his memory influenced your interest in art and design?
Perhaps in some ways, although our whole family is very creative, he’s definitely been the most successful so far, but I can’t really say that he alone has influenced the interest I’ve had.
Your prints are so colorful and fashion forward; do you ever see yourself creating a read-to-wear collection?
Thank you.. I love fashion, but it’s the technical element that gets me…Fashion is a whole new ballgame and I think I will leave that to the vast numbers of amazingly talented fashion designers out there! I’d never say no to a collaboration where I could concentrate on the prints..but not right now!
Who are three of your favorite artists?
Hockney, Keith Vaughan, and Hieronymus Bosch.
Do you have any Spring interior design tips for adding a pop of color to your living space?
Always – adding in a brightly coloured cushion, a vase full of beautiful flowers or a cool print to the wall will add some colour to any space.