MiAL Insights Interview: Isabella Pagnotta
This week we’re talking to the first of our MiAL recent Graduates! Ladies and gentlemen, meet London College of Communication Alumni 2015, Surface Designer Isabella Pagnotta!
Hi Isabella, thanks for taking part in our MiAL Insights interview series. First, could you give a brief introduction to yourself and your practice?
My work explores the idea of capturing the mood or atmosphere of a place that I have visited around London or abroad, through print, colour and texture. My earliest memories are of walking through Portobello Market on a Saturday morning, the people, colours, sounds, smells and stall treasures are things that I always remember.
I mainly work applying my designs to pieces for the home, to bring these memories back into our everyday lives as adults. Printmaking and experimenting with different materials and processes is essential to my practice and the way I develop my ideas. I have a strong hand drawn and hand-printed style that I apply to a variety of different surfaces, including textiles, paper, wood and ceramics.
London has always been a great source of inspiration for me and I knew I wanted to stay for University. During my Foundation year at LCC I was introduced to the Surface Design BA, it was a course that really appealed to me because of its emphasis on screen printing and the fantastic print studios exclusive to the course and so 3 years later I’m a graduate of that course!
Congratulations! And so what drew you to join MiAL?
I was approached by MiAL after an exhibition at LCC during the second year of my BA. The Exhibition was a response to a project called ‘Design For Industry’ which was a great brief that got me to begin thinking about my work commercially. The professional feedback I received from MiAL and their enthusiasm about my work, helped me to build the confidence to exhibit and sell my work while still a student and has been an exciting, invaluable experience.
As you just mentioned you joined us while you were still a student, how did you find balancing fulltime studies with being a MiAL Artist?
The team at MiAL have been totally approachable and supportive and always there to answer my many questions. Balancing the two did require being organised and prepared, and I quickly learnt to be flexible and adapt my work around making orders and preparing my work for exhibitions.
When I first joined MiAL I had to find a way to turn my samples into usable products, and I faced challenges with finding the same ceramics or materials I had used originally, but this influenced my projects that followed and made me think about my work in a commercial setting and my branding, a level of professionalism I hadn’t considered before.
So, do you feel that your experiences with MiAL have given you an insight as to what life will be like next as a professional designer?
It definitely has! Being a part of MiAL I’ve learnt so much about the business and
practical side to selling my work, that just can’t be taught. From photographing my work to having to make pieces to order, and finding yourself in little pickles along the way I’ve learnt so much.
MiAL is also a great way to get feedback on a project (often from external members of the industry) and to test different pieces and ideas, which is invaluable.
All sounds very positive! But time to be honest- could you describe to us the best and the worst experience as a MiAL Artist?
To know that someone is using something you’ve designed everyday and that they have it in their home is something I love, a really rewarding experience.
The worst…. When I first started selling my work with MiAL I had to adapt my place mats so that they were water-resistant and make sure I had suppliers who would stock the materials I needed if I had to make anything to order. I went to buy more of the fabric I had originally chosen but it was discontinued (panic!), I scoured every textile shop on Goldhawk Road to find the same or closest fabric possible, after a stressful day I managed to find the exact same fabric and stocked up…just incase! But it’s all a lesson learned!
Haha! So do you think you would recommend joining MiAL to a current student or recent graduate?
Definitely! I have learnt so much from having to prepare my work to exhibit and sell that wasn’t something I learnt on my Degree. You come across different challenges and opportunities that prepare you in so many ways for selling and exhibiting your work outside of UAL. MiAL continues to really help my confidence grow as a Designer and there have been opportunities for me to talk about my work with the public.
Finally, what are you currently working on and where do you see yourself and your practice going next?….
Last month I was busy with degree shows and I was also exhibiting at New Designers Week 1.
At the moment I am revisiting old projects from over the course of my BA and creating new prints and designs for them that I hope to screen print onto papers and fabrics for interiors.
I’m particularly looking back at my Peter Pan inspired prints and hoping to create new tableware pieces to add to the collection currently for sale with MiAL.
We can’t wait to see them!
Thank you so much for your time Isabella, its been a pleasure talking to you.