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Guest Book: Artist Olivia Sewell

Artist Olivia Sewell, a young woman, perches on a desk in her art studio wearing a black jumper and black jeans. She's smiling at the camera. Behind her, a selection of her black and white artworks are hanging on the wall
Olivia in her studio, shot on film by Kiera Black

We recently visited artist Olivia Sewell at her gorgeous studio in leafy Kent (despite a stint in Australia and some time in London, 'she can't believe she ended up just down the road from where she grew up'). Known for her clever use of negative space, sweeping black lines and characters with a feminine, mystical edge, Olivia's art is in high demand for everything from bespoke wedding stationary to bed linen. So, without further ado, we're delighted to welcome her to the Bam Guest Book.

First of all, can you tell us in a few words what you do?

I'm an artist and a designer. I create original artworks using mainly Indian inks which I reproduce as prints. I’ve been painting since forever but I’ve actually been selling my work for the last year or so. It all began when friends started asking for me to create things for their homes, and I think that encouragement spurred me on to get my work on Instagram and just get on with it.

What's your favourite thing about your work, and what do you find difficult? 

My favourite thing is when it’s all going right. I’m in my studio, there’s good light – lots of sunshine, the radio’s on. And it all just comes together. It’s magic, and just my favourite thing. What I find difficult, is when the stars don’t quite align and my morning is more of a mess with lots of work ending up in the scrap pile! I’m laughing but I’m serious! It’s more effort than it seems to give the impression of being effortless!

Am artist's desk in a studio covered in notebooks and painting utensils, with a selection of artworks hanging above it by Olivia Sewell the artist.
Olivia's studio: where the magic happens.

Do you have any advice for fellow creatives on the so-called 'bad days' or days when things don't seem so hopeful?

You have to make sure you zone into you. Just be you, and try to stay authentic. There is space for everybody - there might be lots out there already, but there's always space. You can't become overwhelmed with an ever-growing market.

What brands/artists do you think are making waves right now and why?

Definitely Matilda Goad; she's always making waves. The ultimate wave-maker, literally! I also think Beata Heuman's a genius. Oh, and Alfred Newall, the husband of Tess Newall (whose work I also love). I could be wrong but I think it was Alfred who truly brought back bobbly furniture? The list could go on and on. I’m also constantly in awe of Emma Bridgewater and her empire of mugs.

Can you tell us about some of the things you find most inspiring, in work and in life?

I’m constantly inspired by other artists. I feel like there's a bit of a movement at the moment with art and prints and making it more accessible to everyone, so I'm constantly on the hunt for new artists. But I do often find there's nothing quite like the greats when it comes to inspiration - Picasso, Matisse, Warhol. I can’t get enough of them.

Two images side by side. The left is a black and white line drawing of a woman's face. The one on the right is Olivia Sewell, a female artist, standing smiling to camera wearing a black jumper in her studio.
Olivia's known for her Indian ink black line drawings of flowing, feminine forms.

What does 'La Dolce Vita' mean to you?

Everyone probably says this, but it's the little things. The sunshine - I’m the ultimate sun lizard. If it's sunny and I'm driving around and the radio's on. A good coffee. My children, my baby in his swing in my studio... So many things.

Tell us one song you just can't help but move to.

‘Save Me’ by Aimee Mann. It was in that film ‘Magnolia’ - I absolutely adore it, and you can’t not sing along to it. Even if you can’t sing, like I can’t!

You can find Olivia's work on her website as well as various retailers including Glassette.


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