"She's this fictive heiress, probably of Italian dynasty, poised as she develops in style and personality from her young, sexy years into an older, austere woman," says talented London-based multi-disciplinary artist Gary Card, of the kooky character in his vivid illustration series, "Evolution of Lula" [through Feb. 11, by appointment]. The show consists of works made from ink on paper, employing Card's signature bold use of color and texture, to explore the life journey of his imaginary woman, an heiress and eccentric editor named Lula.
Card has worked simultaneously as a prop maker, set designer, illustrator, and comic artist since graduating in theatre design from Central St Martin's. "My background was in sewing costumes and stage directions; it took me a long time to fall into the fashion thing," reveals Card. Simultaneously sinister and otherworldly, his bizarre creations have hit all the right notes with fashion's most boldfaced critics; from the latex, bone mask worn by Lady Gaga on her Monster Tour to editorial set design for Pop and a tunnel made of raw wood and orange acrylic panels for the interior of East London concept retail store, LNCC.
For Card, whose project starting point is tone, texture and material, the challenge to creating "Lula" was the freedom to be more expressive. "I just let my imagination run free, distressing her and staining the paper," he said. "It was actually exciting to be limiting materials for once!"
Presented by the Fashion Illustration Gallery, which was founded to promote and sell original art works by artists working as fashion illustrators, "Evolution of Lula" is the first in a series of collaborations hosted by Osman at his impressive new studio space opposite The London Eye throughout 2013. "I'm really keen to encourage a cross-fertilization of ideas and visions,' says Osman. "I want it to grow organically, where experimentation is always the key, whilst highlighting the diverse talents we have in the city."