Lale Ahmet a.k.a MadameWolfgang's beautifully macabre prints are perfect for this time of year. We sat down to discuss spirituality, digital design and horror movies.
What is your studio name and location?
Studio has no name but I work from home in Greenwich London. I usually set up my laptop and Wacom tablet at the table with a cup of herbal tea and then I am ready to design.
Where did you study (if you did)?
I studied Animation at London College of Communications (UAL) and Graduated this year with a 2.1 , I used a lot of my illustration skills within my course.
Describe your design process
I would describe my design process as beautifully mad. A lot of my designs are heavily inspired by what I find beautiful; Cats, eyes, flowers, models. Once I have found something beautiful, I like to subvert the ideas and draw rough sketches digitally using found images as a resource. I am a huge fan of everything scary, unusual and curious and I like to make sure that there is always something strange about my designs when I can. I like to pick the natural colours from found images, my own photography and pair them with artificial and clean base colours for the backgrounds of my designs.
What is your favourite part of the design process from inspiration, research, to the final printed fabric/product?
My favourite part of the design process has to be when I am halfway through colouring sketches. Colour brings everything to life and its such a transformation to see line work filled in with depth and contour.
Who do you design for? Who is your muse?
My muse is spirituality. I am a Wiccan and I have been for 9 years now. I always try to find beauty with the world and try to link myself as close to I can with its energy. My designs are based around the things I like or the things I do. Anything spooky is great as I am also a huge horror fan! I like my designs to show my love of horror also.
What first sparked your interest in print design?
My interest for print design really happened during university. In the first year we were encouraged to find a speciality and I was stuck between working with fabric and print, and being an animator and illustrator. I chose Animation for fear that over studying something that I loved a lot (working in fabric design), would become a chore rather than a pleasure.
Describe your style in 5 words
My style described in 5 words would be Witchy, Spooky, Weird, Fun and Beautiful
What is your favourite medium to work in and why? (Watercolour, gouache, fine liner pens, digital, collage)
My favourite medium to work in has to be digital because its so easy to take your work with you. I always travel with my laptop and am able to design on the train, when I am on break at my day job and when I am going to visit family. I find that a lot of other artists end up tethered to their studio space and equipment and I admire their skills and their choices but I prefer a more liberating lifestyle with my art.
What / who are your major influences?
My influences artistically would be the comic artist Deathbulge. I love how absurd his work is and the playful nature of situational puns. I also love the work of Jessica Joslin who makes playful steampunk style sculptures from animal bones and found objects, each one is quirky with their own affectionately given names. I love it when other artists are able to create their own world and be able to fully play around with it.
Best exhibition/museum/research trip/inspirational place
Inspirational places for me are mainly museums. I have visited the Wellcome collection over the years and seen really interesting exhibitions mixing science, the occult and art together. One of my favourite things there is a collection of glass eyeballs they had on display there are also permanent displays there that are really educational for anatomy work/study. Another Museum that has taken my interest would have to be The Last Tuesday Society & The Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities. It’s the strangest place in London full of old Victorian style curiosities, collections of old occult and witchcraft pieces and also a lot of old taxidermy, it features one of my favourite artists Tessa Farmer who works with taxidermy and builds tiny skeletal fairies. I hear they also do a petting zoo day where you get to handle live animals like iguanas and tarantulas.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am currently working on a design that will feature Japanese bobtail cats and wanted to really play around with the loveable nature of them. I hope to get this design out before Christmas time as it would be something really sweet to put in my portfolio before the year is done.
Favourite music when designing
When I design I really like to listen to something funky, I usually end up listening to Vulfpeck. I think they are great and I get a lot of motivation listening to them. Also, Snarky Puppy are awesome and their sound is almost like epic videogame music.
What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
I am hoping in the next few years to open my own online store and be able to make dresses and bags to sell from home. I would hope to use my own fabric designs to make these things to add a more personal touch.
What has been your career highlight so far?
My career highlight so far has been being offered to be part of a show in my local area which should be happening within the next four months. A lot of artists never get an opportunity to show their work and skills to the general public and I am honoured I got a chance to do so.
Your biggest challenge you have faced as a designer
The biggest challenge I have faced as a designer is keeping motivated. Life is going to throw a lot of things your way and sometimes it is really hard to keep yourself motivated enough to create. I have had dips in my motivation that have made it hard for me to keep my work updated. When those times hit I usually like to try and change my environment or do something new to get my creative juices flowing again.
Do you have any tips for new designers starting out?
The advice I would give any new designers would be to experiment in the early stages and see what you really enjoy doing, once you find your niche, it will be easy to refine it into something great.