Julia Gash

Julia is the founder and chief designer of Talented. Since creating the first collection in 2012, Julia's whimsical illustrations have helped launch the brand into international success. Get to know her background, inspiration, and new ideas... 

Tell us a bit about your Talented range – how would you describe your style?

My bag range often starts its life with me drawing with pen and ink, which is a medium I love and I think suits my linear style of drawing. I like putting images together in layers, as a printmaker does, so when I'm drawing I think about how it will translate into print. My style is quite quirky and the subject matter is personal, such as my collection on the Bronte sisters, which is inspired by a childhood memory. I am inspired by many different artists and art movements from Frida Khalo to Alfred Wallis, Byzantine frescos to the Fauves. I love art and soak it up in abundance, whether it's a painting in a gallery, a graphic on a food product and certainly some of the images that we print for emerging artists and designers at BIDBI, which can stop me in my tracks.

What inspires you?

I love drawing and am inspired by the activity itself. My earliest and happiest childhood memories are of drawing things. My dad ran a printing company and continually made drawing pads for us and crayons and felt tips were in abundance. I was so lucky. Work got the better of me over the past two decades and I simply stopped being creative with art as it transferred to the world of business. I dusted down my pens, inks and pastels last year and started designing again, which has brought me much joy. My work is centred around things that interest me but usually with a British theme. I find the media and public fascination with Royalty, particularly Kate Middleton, interesting in terms of visual imagery. I love maps and part of my recent work focuses on places I love, drawn as a map. I also work with upcycled fabrics and like to see how the pattern and texture of the material suggests other things, e.g. the grey check of a woollen suit fabric made me think of pigeons, which frequent the city streets like their suited and booted human counterparts.

What’s the best thing about showcasing your artwork on a bag?

When I'm drawing I see the tote bag as my canvas, literally. I love thinking about how the design will sit on the bag. It's such an amazingly simple yet effective creative medium. The best thing about it is that it gets used and seen and it's cheap so anyone can afford bag art. I love the utility of a bag and the fact that it's a great solution to the environmental problem caused by plastic bags. I love Jitesh Patel's Tote Bag Blog, which showcases lots of beautifully creative canvas totes.

What else do you do outside of Talented? And in your spare time?

I run BIDBI - the eco-friendly bag making and printing business that Talented has sprung out of. Much of my time is taken up with BIDBI but we are currently looking for a Director Designate so hopefully I will have more time for Talented, be it in developing my own art or talent scouting for other designers. I love walking and being out in the fresh air as well as chilling at home with my cat Bobby and my man John.

What’s next for you?

Taking Talented forward and building an iconic bag brand, featuring the best in British bag artists, that's available around the world and is ever changing.

Where can people find more of your artwork? (website, blog, etc.)

I write a weekly blog for the BIDBI website and have a Pinterest site which is my own personal visual feast. You can visit my own website to learn more about me and my work: www.juliagash.co.uk or shop for one of my Cityscapes prints at www.kingandmcgaw.com.