Home Hackney Downs Studios Discover Hackney Downs Studios

Resident Spotlight Melanie Moon

In a nutshell, what do you do?

MM: I'm a print designer. I illustrate and create visual narratives. Working mainly designing printed artwork for the fashion apparel industries - but then it really can be for anything.

Surface design is everywhere. The diversity makes the explore more exciting!

What inspires you?

MM: Everything inspires me...History , different cultures, my travels, things I see every day, music, different seasons, food! Colour also plays a massive part in my direction - and it's everywhere. It usually always starts with an image, photo or a visual situation that reveals a colour palette and I go from there with a genre in mind I illustrate drawings, paint & ink work to take and develop further into a design/ concept. It's extremely exploratory & expressive and tactile and playful. I may start with an idea but how it develops is enot always entirely up to me but what happens as I come across it through designing. Sometimes it's more formulated but sometimes it's quite spontaneous.

So when did you make the leap to freelance?

MM: After 11 years working in-house for various Print Studios both here in London and back home in Australia - I decided it was the right time to take the leap in October last year.. Working for yourself in an independent studio is a wonderful place to develop your own practice. The limit is only the limit you create, you can be free and exploratory. There's a real focus on developing yourself as a creative individual alongside working for others. It certainly keeps you and your ideas vivid.

How are you finding it?

MM: I'm loving it! It's a big change, and a new challenge but all things positive. Having worked in a print studio before deciding to jump into 'freelance land' where you have to be extremely self-motivated and self-directed, it's (hopefully?!) prepared me well...There's more ownership working for yourself and it's exciting trying to seek out new opportunities, the collaborative possibilities are vast. The hardest thing is the juggle, knowing what to do first and that I'm allowed to spend a day just on my personal work. I guess we are all continually learning.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about making the leap?

MM: Just do it. Jump. I think I always thought 'It has to be the right time', but then when is the right time? Life happens when you are not looking.

Experience and knowledge is power, so although everyone takes different paths to get to where they want to be, I definitely believe the more you can learn from others, from different experiences and the more you explore what you love to do and build a confidence in that - that will help you make the right decision, when it's right for you.

Industry experience and meeting people who have more experience is invaluable! You can learn so much from others.

Tell us about a project you loved...

MM: I recently finished working for three other creatives who headed up a project supported by The National Trust. There was an open opportunity for people to submit an idea for producing a 2 year long exhibition in the last built castle in England - 'Castle Drogo' in Devon. Large sections of the castle are being restored over the next couple of years so The National Trust wanted an exhibition to take place to create more reasons for people to visit while the works are taking place.

The exhibition happens over two floors of the castle, it's like a journey, it brings together the stories and history of the castle and its surrounds. Mixing traditional practices with modern practices. Bringing the outside in. Each room has a different concept. It's been fantastic working with other practitioners.

Best thing about the Heartspace?

MM: Having your own space you can climb into, it's your cockpit, you can create your space and be really progressive. There's a psychology in going to work, having people around you, even the noise...helps. I had an option to move in with other textile designers, but I think the more diverse your environment, the better off you'll be. Conversations can open new perspectives, but you have to be willing to ask questions. Keeping the space as eclectic as possible is really important, it's well curated.

Would you recommend coworking?

MM: If you get the balance right. In a busy space, even if everyone works differently, as long as there's an awareness. Choosing to be in a space like this, you are choosing to be diplomatic and considerate.

What can we expect from Melanie Moon in the next year?

MM: I'm looking to develop my own brand 'Melanie Moon.' Something of my own. Something more personal to me as a designer.

I would also love to find more collaborative work opportunities, than span different genres. Can't wait for the adventure!

Hear about studios, news & events