Niki Pilkington is a Welsh illustrator based in New York with a lively and incredibly detailed style. Although her work is focused mainly on fashion and the people who wear it – her client list includes TOPSHOP, Ted Baker, Sir Paul McCartney & MTV – what appeals to me is her love of incorporating Welsh phrases, idioms and quotes into her pieces.
Despite now living a world away from Penllyn, she continues to use a language so few of us speak so you feel like a smug ninja just for understanding. She has such pride in her heritage, and I respect her use of status as an internationally renowned artist to educate the world about our little country (YES, FOR THE LAST TIME IT’S A REAL COUNTRY) and the language – yep, it has an actual living language that people speak!
Her social media pages are littered with why-the-hell-not doodles and it’s evident she draws for the love of it. Her art is spontaneous and playful, reflected in the unpredictable and isolated use of striking neon colours in the context of her pencil drawings.
She herself appears in many of the portraits, whilst many original pieces are 3D. Her work is unpretentious and reminds of what being young is all about: fun.
The print below was my first. I’d been helping a family friend choose one for her daughter’s birthday and loved this one so much, it re-appeared a few months later as my graduation gift:
My absolute favorite is the rainbow birds above (‘birds of a feather flock together’). Here are a few others I own:
These are the ones I received for Christmas…
…and this is the latest I have my eye on:
And just for fun, here’s one that cheered me up on a miserable Welsh morning:
If you’re based in Wales, you can find Niki’s work at stockists including Lotti & Wren in Caernarfon (cont) and Mooch Etc, Carmarthen. It’s such a treat browsing at Galeri, Betws-Y-Coed and always finding new collections because she draws so darn much. The internet just doesn’t do them justice.
If you can’t get to a shop or gallery visit www.nikipilkington.com for the snazziest site you’ve ever seen and a huge selection of work.