Words by Mansi Tailor
Louisa Kazig is a visual artist born in Berlin and based in Brighton. She opens up about her journey as an artist and as a small business owner. She talks about what not to do if one wants to open their own business, and how she learns from various places. Louisa has designed the university tote bag that we so frequently adorn, and her small business is expanding from online to in-store.
When did you start painting?
Professionally, I’ve been doing graphic design and illustrations since 2020, during the first lockdown. Art was also always my favourite subject at school. I’ve done enough drawing and painting courses even when I was working. I also studied fashion design, which also has a big art aspect to it.
Did you start with a digital medium right away or were you doing something more physical before?
I did lots of different things before, drawings, paintings. I did not exactly know what my niche was, what I wanted to do, it took me quite a while to figure that out. I even did Mono printing! In 2020 I felt comfortable enough to go out in the open and make a career out of it.
How’s that working out?
Yes, it’s good. I work as a graphic designer in a full-time job, which I really enjoy, and I have a small business on the side which gives me a nice balance. My graphic design has a serious structure, lots of rules to follow and in my side business I can be creative, and I can do what I want which is nice. It lets me explore a lot of other artistic areas as well. I can work a lot with different colours and look at things that are maybe trendier and work with that.
You said you started during the first lockdown. Has your business changed or evolved during the lockdown(s)?
Yeah, during the beginning of the lockdown I just did prints, started selling prints, used that as the main outlet for my business, very minimalist wall décor, prints, and that evolved into student cards, stationary, homeware.
From your starting point to today, do you think you’ve gained a sort of expertise?
Yes, I would say so. I’ve made so many mistakes which is mainly what I learn from. Especially, during the lockdown. I didn’t know anyone else that did the same, you see some people on Instagram, but that’s about it. You must figure out everything yourself, do a lot of research, do courses, and watch a thousand YouTube videos. You just try and fail with many things, many failed projects and I just learned from that. I’m only at the beginning so I am still learning loads, which is great as well. I think my job, my full-time job, helps me there as well because through graphic design you do learn lots of things, like colour theory so that helps as well.
Was it daunting to launch your small business?
Yeah, absolutely. You don’t know if you should just go out and go big, make that big spend, and hope for the best, or if you should be a little cautious. I’m probably more risk-averse than other people. I wouldn’t just go out and buy massive stock and studio and whatever so I kind of did it bit by bit.
Do you run your small business from your home, or do you have an office?
I do it from home. I have a home office, kind of turned it around. It’s better than before, I fill all my stock there and made sure that it’s very separate from my whole living space as well so that I can kind of feel like I’m going home rather than sort of working all day in my living space.
How has your relationship changed with your art as opposed to when it was your hobby and now that it has a commercial value?
Definitely, I think before I kind of looked at things like you know even looking at these book covers (we are sitting at the Waterstones café). I would’ve just thought that it looks beautiful, Now when I look at the book covers, I think “I love these colours, I love the way they kind of work together’’, that’s something I can incorporate into a design. It’s still quite enjoyable, drawing without the aim of necessarily making money with it, just for fun. I have loads of sketches at home that I probably will never finish, a part of me is still there.
Do you plan on expanding your business into something else?
Yeah, I think so. I think currently I’m in the early stages of working on a wholesale basis. I’m slowly getting my product into shops, some of the shops I have a direct relationship with, some through wholesale platforms. I think, especially after the pandemic, people love going into shops and love seeing things, touching things and that’s not something I can really provide other than markets which happen only a couple of times a year. There are so many shops in Brighton and around the area to help me with that kind of a thing. Just around the south coast, there are a few creative hubs.
Louisa hopes to keep on exploring herself as an artist and hopefully, one day design a book cover, and then many.
Where to find Louisa’s prints: