According to that most telling descriptor of human character, the Instagram bio, Rachel Louise Hodgson is “a fabulous artist with lush eyebrows”. A quick scroll through her feed will also reveal that her work spans photography, illustration and DIY tattoos, all whilst maintaining a distinct visual style. Hodgson is also frequently collaborates with Rookie, for whom she recently styled Edward Meadham’s “Blue Roses” collection. “The Blue Roses pictures were a bit of a dream come true,” she told Sleek. “I wanted the models to choose the outfits that they would most enjoy wearing, so it felt like a fun dressing up shoot”.
When asked where she drew inspiration from, she explained, “I get a lot of inspiration from films and music and artists that I admire like Paula Rego and Frida Kahlo and films like Dogtooth and Daisies, that are aesthetically pleasing but with dark unsettling themes and female characters that are challenging in a kind of scary sick way”. These inspirations are apparent in her work, where she is frequently the subject (a la Kahlo), and she takes an almost diary-like approach (in the vein of Rego). The intimate, self-reflexive nature of her work makes her portfolio feel like a glimpse directly into her mind. Unlike a glut of other illustrators, she’s developed a visual language which is instantly recognisable as hers alone.
After graduating from London College of Fashion in 2014, Hodgson found herself at odds with what was happening in the fashion industry. “My work never really fit in to the commercial fashion world”, she explained. “It was always a little more messy and experimental”. Nevertheless, Hodgson trusted her instincts and forged a distinct path for herself — now, she has a legion of dedicated followers.
There’s no 300gsm paper or expensive paint in sight when it comes to her creative process. “I started colouring in my pictures with crayons and paints which is how I continue to work today, using low tech materials from the pound shop to create the hand coloured in effects in my photography”, she explained.
While expensive materials aren’t important to her, she has a very clear idea of what she needs in order to create something truly meaningful. When asked what was most integral to her work, Hodgson responded, “I think its just important for me to enjoy what I am making while I am doing it, to be expressive and playful, as I think it shows in the pictures if I have enjoyed making them and hopefully people connect with my work more when it is more expressive and personal”.
A champion of the weird, wonderful, and pouring your heart out on to page, Rachel Louise Hodgson is a remarkably self-assured young artist, and with such a clear vision, it’s not hard to see why her client list is already impressive. To see more of Hodgson’s work, find her on Instagram and Rookie. Selected prints are available on her Bigcartel.