nettie wakefield wearing pink city prints

Meet Nettie Wakefield

Just moments away from London Waterloo, Nettie Wakefield’s studio is it’s own mini art exhibition. Floor to ceiling you’ll see Nettie’s work, both framed, finished masterpieces and blank canvases filled with potential. Nettie’s pieces are as varied in subject as they are in size; there’s the miniscule fish with the slogan ‘Your plaice or mine’, the giant beer can occupying her entire table and, of course, countless portraits, all from behind. Aside from her talent for turning seemingly mundane objects into beautiful art, Nettie is also an expert thrifter, self-proclaimed Netflix addict and yoga enthusiast - a busy woman by all accounts!

 

We’re huge fans, naturally, of your much-loved ‘reversed portraits’. Can you tell us when you began painting portraits from behind, and how this idea has evolved over time?

My ethos behind this series is about mystery, intrigue and about challenging the assumptions and preconceived ideas of the viewer, what we project onto that head. Can you really be sure that one of the feminine looking ones with a ponytail or plait isn’t a man?  When given just a little hint of identity with a scarf or an earring, we make a judgment based on that information. It began when I was doing my Masters degree and I was under a lot of pressure to come up with a project.  I was sitting in a lecture, half listening (sorry), when I started to draw the girl in front of me. She had a really intricate hairstyle and I couldn't see her face. I realised that the mystery of that made it really interesting. 

 French Border Mabel TopFrench Border Mabel Skirt

 

Your art often focuses on everyday objects and less conventional subjects. Where do you feel most inspired and what do you draw your inspiration from?

I like to see the beauty in the ordinary.  Things that are overlooked in our everyday life and shine the focus onto those otherwise mundane objects.

 

At what age did you realise you had a talent for art and how did this evolve into becoming your full-time job? 

Ummmm… That is both a compliment and a question! Clever. Haha 
I suppose at school - I used to try and paint old masters paintings, replicas .. well more interpretations! My history of art teacher would commission me to create replicas for her. I transcribed Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon and Manet’s Bar at the Folies Bergere - the latter was more challenging!  I suppose when I realised I could make money from painting at 16 and I found that encouraging.  

 

Indigo Buta Isabel Scoop Neck Dress

 

What advice would you give to aspiring artists?

Everyone has their own route which peaks and troughs at different times, I always try to remember the quote: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt. Take on board the opinions of others, but ultimately always trust your own judgement. Keep going, and most of all, cherish and enjoy it! 

 

Outside of work, how do you relax and find time for yourself?

I love cooking, walking the dog, fashion, music, yoga and films. I watch a lot of stuff while I draw - sometimes I find my drawings turn out better when I’m on autopilot. I might’ve completed Netflix. 

 

How would you describe your personal style?

Most of the clothes I buy are eBay or charity shop purchases. I like classic, timeless pieces. Ideally I would wanna look like Jane Birkin or Francois Hardy everyday - elegant and comfy with a smidge of edge and some elements of androgyny.

 

Which Pink City Prints piece will you be wearing this Winter and how will you be wearing it? 

I LOVE my French Border Mabel skirt and top set. I can wear them together or separately and the shape is beautiful. 

 

We’d love to see more artwork - do you have any current or upcoming exhibitions we can visit?

I’ve just finished a group show at Maddox Gallery called 'POST POP' but I have a piece at the British Art fair at the Saatchi Gallery with Wateraid this weekend (29 SEPTEMBER — 2 OCTOBER).

After that, I’m showing with Beyond the Streets curated by Roger Gastman in their new permanent space on La Brea in LA. The program is still being decided for this but they are great people who I’ve worked with before so I’m pleased to have the privilege to work with them again.

Follow Nettie on Instagram: @nettiedraws
Shop Nettie's edit: HERE

Photography: Lily Bertrand-Webb

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