On a recent trip to the west coast of Ireland Thing discovered an amazing coffee shop – Shells – which featured awesome illustration work on both their menus and interiors. The illustrative work really made Shells stand out, so we had to find out who had created the work. Turns out the artwork is the handy work of Paula Mills, sister of Shells owner Myles. Paula forms one half of the rather talented Australian/New Zealand based illustration duo Sweet William, along with business partner Shelley Gardner – sweetwilliamprints.com.au. Their work is sometimes abstract and often ‘whimsical’ but their mission is clear, to bring joy and fun into the lives of those who buy their products or see their work. After seeing their work in Shells we really wanted to track these guys down; after locating them all the way ‘down under’, thankfully they agreed to answer our questions and what great answers they are.
1. What inspires your work?
Colour, pattern, love, laughter, paint, magazines, film, music, ink, imagery, memories, loss, fun, happiness, deadlines, emotions, kids, nature, God, books, tea, friends, joy, stillness, excitement, randomness, feelings, design…LIFE!
2. What has been the highlight of your career so far?
I was very excited to be in a position to be able to run a full page colour advertisement in one of my favourite magazines – Frankie, for my brand Sweet William.
It is always very exciting seeing my work published in books or walking into a gift shop and seeing my illustrations on a card etc.
3. Your illustrations and products are so beautiful and intricate, it’s clear you guys love what you do. Do you think the digital age has increased desire for well made and hand-crafted tangible things?
Yes definitely. The digital age has meant that consumers can get to know the makers and process behind the products and brands they love. Being able to put my art out there in the big wide world for everyone to see is wonderful and scary at the same time.
4. If you could illustrate or create artwork for one particular brand or thing, what would that be?
WOW – hmmmm, let me think. I would love to illustrate book covers, it would be amazing to get to read brilliant books and then illustrate the covers. Yep I would love that.
5. What’s your favourite record cover(s) of all time?
Grace Jones – Island Life
6. And a favourite design icon of all time?
I am afraid I am sucker for Apple – I have had Apple products since 1992!
Big Thank-you to the guys from Sweet William, check out their work and buy their products here.