This is the second in an occasional series of interviews with local people who inspire us.
Sweet View is a new company that offers a series of prints by artist Jack Noel. Rather than covering the usual touristic highlights of the Big Smoke, his work presents a Londoner’s view of life in our capital. Many thanks to Jack and Charlotte for taking the time to answer our top ten questions.
1 ) You meet someone at a party – how do you describe Sweet View to them?
We’d say Sweet View is a little company that sells prints of Jack’s drawings of each of the inner London boroughs.
2 ) Where did the idea come from?
Jack has loads of sketchbooks full of doodles of his surroundings. We realised that some of these sketches were actually quite lovely drawings of little slices of London.
One sketch – a Trafalgar Square panorama – he coloured and had framed. This became the basis for the Westminster print and the starting point for the whole project.
We love London and particularly our own little corner of Lambeth and knew others were affectionate for their local area too. We felt we could offer them affordable artwork that was unique, non-cliched and would allow them to display that affection on the walls of their homes.
3 ) Jack, how did you get into illustration and design?
I started by spending three years toiling through a degree in mathematics. I have always been a doodler and throughout my university time was no different.
I eventually emerged with a 2:2 degree and a pile of cartoons drawn in margins, and I decided to focus on the latter.
4 ) You’ve a very distinctive style – how did you go about developing this?
My sketchbooks have a loose, natural feel with lots of scribbly bits and half drawn people that I couldn’t finish before they moved.
I’ve tried to make this a positive thing and let things remain for the final prints. All the Sweet View drawings are done from life – there isn’t really any other way.
5 ) And in terms of Sweet View, how did you decide to go about organising and selling prints?
We decided to make Sweet View a largely digital business, so we sell the prints online and most of our publicity comes from blogs and online publications.
But we do also attend the occasional market around London, so that people can come and see the prints in person before buying, if they prefer.
6 ) If you knew what you know now, would you do anything differently?
Financial records have been surprisingly challenging!
If we could turn back the clock we might seek more advice on recording our finances in a professional way. It turns out homemade financial spreadsheets can rapidly become very complicated.
7 ) What are you plans for the next year?
We will have the complete set of 12 prints finished by the end of the 2011. We are hoping to launch the eighth and ninth print in June so we are steadily getting there.
8 ) After you’ve done prints of all the inner London Boroughs, what’s your next challenge?
We could go on making London prints forever, there’s so much to celebrate. We’d also like to maybe look at other cities in England and the rest of Europe.
9 ) How do you think Makerhood could support your work and fit into your vision?
We love Makerhood’s focus on local shopping and trading.
Our mission with Sweet View is to provide artwork specific to a local area, so the whole concept of Makerhood matches perfectly with our vision.
10 ) I’ve read this and I love the sound of Sweet View. How can I find out more?
Do visit our website at www.sweetview.co.uk. You can also follow Jack on Twitter on @jackdraws and join our mailing list by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bonus question: If you were to share a top insider tip for someone new to Brixton and the surrounding area, what would it be?
In the summer go to Brockwell Lido early on a hot day and spend the whole day there. The water’s icy and you have to sunbathe on concrete but the atmosphere is pure holiday fun.