Miriam Butters

This is Miriam Butters, a second year Illustration student at Kingston Uni (‘and I love it,’ she says). She gets bored very easily, ‘which is probably why I love my course so much – we always have so many exciting projects that with those, personal work and paid work, I don’t have time to get bored!’

‘I love telling stories,’ Miriam says. ‘I’m a telephone fundraiser for my university, which is ace as it means I get to talk to loads of fascinating alumni. It also gives me money for travelling!’ Miriam and her housemate have set up a collective called Parabola (keep your eyes peeled for the coming-soon blog/website), and they’re learning to weave. ‘We’re also starting an evening course in ceramics soon, and plan to hold a collective show in the early summer,’ she adds. Sounds like a busy time!

Tell us a bit about yourself…

I’m interested in so many things that I didn’t know if I wanted to study Acting or English or Politics at uni! Luckily, I soon realised that image making’s never been just a hobby for me and I’ve never been happier than I am at the moment: I’m drawing/making/cutting/sticking constantly with the odd break to see my better half in Leicester (Leicester’s great isn’t it?  That weird mix of architecture? There’s a building at the university that looks like a cheese grater, and another one based on a robot!).

I live in a big house in New Malden with four other lovely illustrators and at the moment I’m collaborating with one of them on a self initiated project about Latin American mythology, which I’m totally excited about – there will be pottery and textiles and wordless narratives abound!

What are your inspirations?

I buy old photographs in bulk from ebay and make up stories about the characters in them.  I also get inspired by going on adventures – whether it’s a long walk or going halfway across the world! Last summer I spent two and a half months hopping from London to Lombok, via the trans-siberian railway, without flying, and it was fab. I think my main inspiration, then, is other people! Maybe I’m just a bit nosey…

What’s your favourite piece of work you produced?

Hum, probably the wordless graphic novella I just finished. My character’s loosely based on Sylvia Plath because I’ve been reading her letters recently (in small chunks, they’re pretty miserable) and I’m really satisfied with the flow of the book.  I think my work’s developing so much right now that my last finished piece of work’s always going to be my favourite, which is an exciting position to be in!

Who is your favourite ‘creative’ in your chosen field?

Well I’ve been finding awesome new people every day since I joined Twitter! Aside from the great artists I follow right now I really like Le Gun, in particular Bill Bragg’s Kafka illustrations for the Folio Society.  Also I think Ben Newman is great, mainly because he has a completely different style to me and I admire his use of shape and space. My Italian housemate has just got me started on Lorenzo Mattotti, who we saw at Goldsmiths the other weekend. I have big love for Annette Messager, though I guess she’s not strictly an illustrator.  She’s so playful and inventive but she tackles some pretty pertinent stuff. Ooh and Stefan Sagmeister is always inspiring!

Read Miriam’s blogs here and here, and have a look at her website. Also Tweet her: @MiriamButters.

All images © Miriam Butters. To view the images in clearer detail, click on them.


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