LEFKI SAVVIDOU graduated from Middlesex’s Illustration BA in 2012. Since then she’s tried her had and many things. As well as combining words and images with biting, humorous results she also freelances as a tattoo artist. Find out more about her and her work below;
1. Can you tell us a little bit about what you’ve been up to since graduating from Middlesex?
Freelance graphics, tattoo design and tattooing, t-shirts, notebooks, illustrations and I did manage to make my first zine.
2. Describe your practice- how do you go about to produce your images? Are there any parts of the process you particularly enjoy?
I don’t follow a particular process. When I have an image in my head I just grab a piece of paper and put it down and usually that’s it. Even though there are times I might rework the original doodle/drawing I usually don’t like to mess with it because the first thing you draw comes out natural so if you fiddle with it I feel like is becomes more and more planned.
3. What is a typical day of working as an illustrator like for you?
I have to be working on multiple projects, otherwise i get bored and give up. I jump from one project to another either because i get stack or i need to take a brake from a project.
4. Many of your projects are self initiated; where do you get your ideas for them?
Many of the ideas come up do to practical reasons. Say i want a pot for my plant, or a t-shirt, or a skateboard or even a pair of shoes but i can’t find anything i like. I have to make it. I WANT to make it. I like making things that i can’t find out there. It’s like a lot of film directors do. They make films that they’d like to watch and no-one else makes. I like making art that id like to see and no-one else is making. I do have particular images in my head of what something will look like.
6. Shortly after graduating from university you started designing and inking tattoos. What drew you to this process and what keeps you coming back to the tattoo gun?
During the uni years i wasn’t able to find my style. No to say that i have a very refined style now but I’d like to think that people can tell apart my work when they see it. So right after graduation there was a period of frustration of no knowing what to do and what to draw. It took a good 6-7 months to real get motivated and start drawing again and that was a time where i started finding a certain style. A style that I saw emerging in the tattoo world. It was nothing like the traditional old school tattoo form. It was a year after graduation when I moved back to Cyprus when someone saw my work and wanted to teach me how to tattoo. And I took it from then on. I’ve been tattooing my own designs for 3 years now.
7. Are there any projects that have felt like milestones for your career as an illustrator?
I wouldn’t call it a project but getting a design I did put on a shoe by the people over Bucketfeet in Chicago and retailed internationally is pretty damn insane. I get a lot of tags on Instagram from people from all over the world wearing my shoes. I got people from all over the USA and even Japan. I even got one from Belize just this morning.
8. How did you find the transition from student to practicing illustrator? Do you have any words of advice for any recent graduates who might be in that position right now?
It was defiantly hard to adjust to the real world of illustration but you get to work on so many different projects and see if you are able to adjust under certain circumstances and see how versatile of an illustrator you can be. My advice? I wouldn’t call it advice but to all of those graduating now: This is were the real fun begins!
9. What are you currently working on? Are there any projects coming up that you can talk about?
I’m currently producing some new images for my “daily poetry” and “disillusions” series. I’d love to make a zine but its turning out as a book. Looks like I’ve got one too many images and i thought a book would be nice. I might have to abuse my privileges on some xerox facilities. I’m also starting to use colour and actually producing larger scale imagery. Is that still illustration or am i coursing into fine art? Also thinking of learning how to play around with PMC (Precious Metal Clay) maybe start busting out some rings?
Find more of Lefki’s work online: