2012 New Visual Artist: Lisa Hedge

By William Bostwick

Poster for the Association of Hispanic and Black Business Students, NYU, 2011

Lisa Hedge spent her first New York winter in Long Island City, working for Takashi Murakami’s studio, Kaikai Kiki, mixing 3,000 shades of green paint. “It was an insane design experiment in a way,” she says. “Matching what we were mixing to the swatches, making little samples, creating rules for ourselves. We finished the painting about when I left, and then it went to Gagosian.” Hedge went freelance, doing design work for L’Oreal, then to Tender, where she worked on corporate jobs like banner ads and branding. But an artist’s instincts are hard to wash off. Getting out brushes and scissors is, for her, “a natural starting point. Until I realize, Oh, wow, I need to get something into Illustrator.”

Age: 27
Senior Designer, Partners & Spade
From: New Plymouth, New Zealand
Lives in: New York City
Website: http://cargocollective.com/lisahedge

Michael Freimuth, Tender’s design director while Hedge was there, says, “She’s as comfortable with digital illustration as with entirely analog, tactile work like cutting up paper.” Hedge remembers being teased for having pages of writing on her desk—sketches, ideas, false starts—and a blank screen. “But for me, it’s a thinking process,” she says. “It’s important to see the realization of your ideas outside of the screen. The most interesting designs come from a period of exploration, playing around with materials.”

Howls illustration, 2011 (personal project)

Lowlands illustration, 2011 (personal project)

And indeed, Hedge’s best work is often the first pass: natural, rough, organic. Like the floral letterforms she drew for a cosmetics branding project (before they were pruned into Nobel and Futura) or the slivers of a paper map, pushed together into waves (before the poster, for an NYU student organization, turned crisp and vectored). Her background is in art—Hedge studied studio and design at USC—and though the intimacy of her creative process harks back to those studio days, she thinks like a designer. “Sometimes with fine art,” she says, “I get trapped into thinking, What’s the personal significance of all this? Design helps push me toward an audience. Fine art is so singular, but with design you’re motivated by how the ideas are received.”

Modern Day poster (personal project), 2011

Letters to Liz (personal project), 2011

Stationery for Marweather, 2011–2012.

 

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