Annu Kilpeläinen and Hattie Stewart are almost always drawing. Out of the London studio they share with a number of other prominent female artists spills sound, light, and infinite varieties of colour. It’s a space in which to share laughter, frustrations, and ideas. Leaning on one another, the supportive network the women have built in the same studio invariably spills over into their art. Stronger together: that was the notion Vogue Singapore was looking to cultivate when we approached the Finnish-born Kilpeläinen and Essex native Stewart to create art in honour of the launch of the magazine.
What they came up with, a free-wheeling depiction of a seaside brimming with joy and motion, is the perfect blend of their styles. A flower, almost leaping off the page, extends a smiling heart to the viewer. You see Kilpeläinen’s favourite colours in the landscape; you see Stewart’s signature cartoon faces on the flora. One of them would draw until they got stuck—then they’d pass the paper over to the other. “Made isolation these past few months feel a little less lonely,” Stewart noted on her Instagram of the collaborative process.
Theirs is eye-popping, feel-good work. Kilpeläinen’s tropical illustrations of flattop cars, flowers, and sunsets look like technicolour paper collages from a groovier era. She’s covered blankets, book covers, skateboards, surfboards and snowboards with the pulsating pinks, oranges, yellows, and blues for which she’s become known. Kilpeläinen’s work, which she usually sketches out in pencil before filling in with Posca pens or acrylics, has taken her all over the world, from London to Portland to Sydney and back again.
Stewart’s style is similarly eclectic and bright, but she draws more in a style reminiscent of the ‘Rubber Hose’ era of cartooning. She is a self-proclaimed ‘professional doodler’ who’s most well-known for ‘doodle-bombing’ magazines like Vogue. Her scribbings on their covers plant chipper butterflies, hearts, and flowers next to the faces of celebrities and models. She gave Selena Gomez bright pink Mickey Mouse gloves and Kendall Jenner adorable devil horns.
Stewart and Kilpeläinen’s work absolutely crackles with vim and verve. Let their illustration for Vogue Singapore inject a little brightness into your day.