Interview with graphic designer Lindsey Hampton

Photo by Stacy Thomas

Some people are like conductors of creative vision; they take in their surroundings, convert it to their own aesthetic, and broadcast it into several different mediums. And the lucky ones, such as Vancouver graphic designer Lindsey Hampton, accomplish a style which strikes a chord and is appreciated by an ever-more-receptive audience.

Gravitating towards the music scene, Hampton was the art director of Dischorder Magazine for two years, and her distinctive gig posters have graced the power poles of the city for almost a decade. Also, she has released an ethereal solo album under the moniker Waters, and is part of the “garage” band Failing.

While being paid to creatively design the music industry would be enough for most, Hampton has continued to explore disciplines and has branched into the realm of ceramics, a new venture for her which is already garnering online and local attention.

“It came at a time when I was quite busy with design, I just had this urge to make things,” she says. “I really, really wanted to make three dimensional objects. With design, everything’s flat, even if you design it and later it’s three dimensional, you’re still visualizing it on a flat field or surface. I always really liked ceramics and I like working with my hands so I just decided it was something I wanted to try out, and I loved it.”

Hampton’s ceramics have a distinctive style; clean and modern, striking subtle balance between muted off-whites and soft colours. It is notably reflective of her other design work, indicating an adherence to style which she says is subconscious.

“I think I am drawn to certain colour palettes and certain shapes, and I didn’t purposely go into ceramics with the idea that it would look like my design work, but I think anybody who does any form of art, if they do a different form it’ll probably look like they did it, which I think is really important for any artist to be able to be cohesive with any kind of work that they do. So the fact that people have recognized that [her ceramics] looks like [her design work], I’m super happy that that happened. I think it’s just that I like things to look the way I like. It’s pretty easy, when you’re used to designing, you think in shapes and colour and form, and positive and negative space, and all the design principles and elements. Learning those, you can basically put those into anything you do in life, even if it’s decorating a house, or landscaping a garden. It’s all the same, it’s the same principles throughout everything.”

Hampton made her first cd cover in 2004, then went to the Art Institute for graphic design at age 23. “I think I sort of understood a little bit more that, especially with graphic design and art based stuff, that it’s not about a degree.”

Her first job was for Vancouver production company Sealed With a Kiss, for whom she did overflow poster design work, and now her posters are seen constantly and all over the city. “I just sort of fell in love with it,” she says. “It’s one of those things where everyone sees everything you do because they’re plastered around the city. People start recognizing your work because they see it, and things snowball from there.”

While an admitted web-o-phobe, Hampton admits that her already established reputation and online following has been a catalyst for the attention her ceramics have received. Business has been coming unsolicited through her website and Instagram, including an order for the Craft and Design Museum in San Francisco and One of a Few, a shop in Gastown which was her first wholesale order.

“That’s an interesting world, the internet world, for an artist. Sometimes I feel weird about it, and other times I realize I wouldn’t have a job if it wasn’t for this. I had to get good at talking about myself, it’s not in my nature. The day I signed up for Twitter, I was like, (sighs), I have to be this person now, who’s like ‘I’m doing this today, check out this thing I just did’. You have to do that. Unless you have someone to do it for you.”
Her client base so far is in the U.S. and potentially Australia.

“I guess it depends on what you want to do with your career, but if you’re trying to make a living in a small, expensive, not super art-based city, then you have to reach elsewhere, and the internet is how you do that.”

-Art by Lindsey Hampton

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