Osato Emumwen makes the kind of illustrations that will have you spellbound. Born and raised in London, Emumwen studied at Central Saint Martins before moving to Glasgow to study interior architecture at The Glasgow School of Art. We got to talk to the femme driven and all-round badass illustrator about what got her into illustration, the female body, and the best of London and Paris.
“I think its the playfulness of illustration that interested me at first. I had an interstitial house project in my second year at The Glasgow School of Art and my concept was about navigation through the three levels of the house. I needed a way to communicate the artistic nature of my project so I did my first illustration. I did a series of four A3 drawings showing various aspects of the house. I really enjoyed creating interiors using illustrations and how much fun I had doing it, and I suppose the rest is history. I’ve always been interested in drawing from a young age; for my birthday I always asked for charcoals, watercolours or paints. I was more of a creative than an academic." Emumwen grew up in London and moved to Paris recently for an exchange as part of her third year in university. A clash of two amazing cities, it’s always intriguing to know the perspective of someone who has managed to experience the best of both worlds.
“I grew up in London since I was one. Paris has been an incredible experience so far and it’s good to push yourself out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself to see and experience new cultures. Living in Paris in comparison to London, there are some differences in culture of course - the taste, the smell and the language which I find so beautiful. When people gather together there’s a love for food, a love for art and life, and it’s exciting and addictive. There’s so much passion behind one city. It’s incredibly beautiful in so many ways. It feels romantic, which sounds corny but it does. Paris is the most beautiful back drop to indulge and let yourself go. Living in Paris especially has been a huge inspiration. I’ve tapped into a ‘sexier side’ of myself and I’ve drawn a few illustrations of women in the nude and more crudely a couple having sex. It’s been nice to explore that side of myself and express that through artwork without it being pornographic - a desire to celebrate the female form rather than here’s some tits and ass. As well as Paris, I think London is an amazing city. I know there’s a lot of stigma behind Londoners as being constantly stressed out and on the move, but living in a city where art and culture surround you, I feel really privileged. There’s always something to do or see; an exhibition, gallery openings, roof top gardens (weather permitting), and it’s just a great place to hang out with your friends and get a coffee. London feels like home and because of the diversity and creativity surrounding it, it makes me think of different ways I can express a concept, like walking past fabric shops in Brick Lane and thinking about ways to make that into a collage or an illustration and just looking at colours that compliment each other. London is vibrant and colourful in so many ways; it's hard to not be inspired.”