Bring the outside in with artist Naomi Edmonson. Naomi is a painter, street-artist and designer. Her work humanises urban spaces through her uplifting language. Her street painting series Survival Techniques, promote hope, optimism and relief from depression, anxiety and urban isolation. So for those that are able, take a walk and find some survival inspiration! And for those that are staying home, we're bringing her Survival Techniques to you.
Hi Naomi! Thanks for taking the time to chat – firstly could you introduce yourself to us, how did you begin your creative journey?
Hello! Well, in my early twenties I was a professional freestyle skier, competing in slopestyle and big air competitions around the world. But after a series of big injuries and a quarter-life crisis, I decided to retire from skiing and moved to London to study for a degree in Graphic Design. I chose London College of Communication as I’ve always loved typography and they had an entire letterpress studio.
We’re asking our community how they’re staying creative during the current climate. What are your top tips for keeping a creative headspace during a lockdown?
I found the first few weeks of lockdown the most challenging. I managed to move out of that phase by creating a schedule in my day, in the same way I would if I was going to my studio everyday. Without it I found my days somehow drifted away without being either productive or restful.
Breath deeply and just be. Sit with your feet up with your favourite book and a steaming cup of tea, try and take this time at home to fully recharge your batteries.
Your #survivaltechniques project is simply inspiring. Through your humanising of urban spaces with uplifting language you’re helping to bring communities together – which today is more important than ever! How did the project originate?
It began as a list I made for myself of things to remind me what to do when I was feeling really low; things that always made me feel a bit better. They were always super simple things like ‘talk to someone, anyone, about anything’ which came from me chatting to the guy in my local shop for just a few minutes. I started to realise that I would leave the shop feeling much more a part of the world again.
I confessed to a friend about my notebook list, and she said she felt like she needed her own list of Survival Techniques. Other people also then told me they found similar things worked for them and I began to collect other people’s coping strategies and think about how to share the list.
Inspired by seeing a local artist painting a massive building in East London, I thought that the best place to share these techniques would be the street. It’s the ultimate democratic space and I wanted the phrases to be accessible to everyone, have the chance to help anyone, and be free.
In a way the public have been busy creating their own survival techniques projects! Adorning their windows with rainbows and messages of thanks and celebration the parallels are extraordinary. We’d love to encourage our viewers to keep creating these messages – do you have any tips to write your own positive affirmations?
If you want to create a Survival Technique for yourself, I would encourage you to think of your own specific experiences and challenges and try to tap into the moments when you’ve found some relief. And when you are trying to compose the phrase, choose words that you will understand. Make the words for you rather than an imagined other.
Let’s get on to materials! What is it about Daler-Rowney materials that you love?
I use System3 Acrylic for all of my murals. They have a great colour range and are really light resistant, so my paintings won’t fade in the sun. I also run Survival Techniques workshops where I use the FW Mixed Media markers filled with FW acrylic ink. The colours are really bright and the pens are easy for everyone to use, whether they consider themselves arty or not. These combined with the canvas artboards mean that workshop participants can create really vivid and quality artwork.
Finally – when we’re all able to get out and about again, what’s at the top of your list to inspire you?
I get a lot of my inspiration from talking and listening to my friends and other artists and designers in my shared studio space. I can’t wait to meetup with friends again and have some real life catch-ups, conversations and laughs.
And for Naomi's final and vital Survival Technique. Love them? Tell them.
WATCH NAOMI IN ACTION WITH SYSTEM3
Fill your house with your own Survival Techniques posters and be greeted with positivity in every room!
Shop online for everything you'll need. Don't forget to hashtag #cassart on social media to show us your creations.
All images © Naomi Edmondson, Video © Daler Rowney