Homegirl London pays homage to Kiss Her by Bianca Hall. Designer and print maker Bianca Hall launched her company Kiss Her in 2009. She makes a range of quirky, bold and graphic pieces; cushions, cosmetic bags, prints, cards, decorative tape and some cool neon signs. Her designs feature a rather random and eclectic mix of visuals like dolls, zebras, smoking pipes, scissors and safety pins. I caught up with Bianca to find out more about her …
Q: Do you have a design background?
A: No formal training, I’m pretty much self-taught.
Q: Tell me about your life before ‘Kiss Her.’
A: I’ve always loved art and design and my father is an artist, but I fell into television production when I left school and did that for years (TV commercials and series when I lived in Australia – I’ve lived in the UK for 11 years), then I stumbled into music production (long form – filming bands in concert for DVD release) when I moved to London. I was always a frustrated stylist and would hang out with the art and wardrobe departments on shoots!
Selection of Prints
Q: Why did you set up your own business?
A: My heart wasn’t in TV or music production so in 2009 I decided to take the plunge, and tentatively launched Kiss Her … with a small range of hand pulled screen prints. I had some amazing press and it gradually became a full time business. Cushions were inevitable, given my interiors obsession, but I still do prints and neon lights too!
Eternity Neon light, £620
Q: Why did you name the company ‘Kiss Her?’
A: My husband once saw a piece of graffiti that read ‘kiss her it might be your last chance.’ It struck such a chord with me – poetic and romantic, or more tragic and sinister? Who knows, but I loved its ambiguity and the fact that everyone interprets it in their own way. I still do a screen print with the same phrase.
Kiss Her Screen Print, £40
Q: Describe your design style.
A: Bold, colourful, and a little off-beat.
Q: Where do you draw your creative inspiration from?
A: I’m inspired by everything from fairy tales to graffiti, romance, trips to the zoo and industrial signage. My husband and children too, of course, who are my in-house mentors! I have an obsessive streak, so once I get something in my head, it tends to feature for a while in my work – like my Penny Dolls that I’ve re-worked for this year in full colour to really bring them to life on my new silk cushion range. I’m not done with them yet, and they feature on a few new products that I’m getting ready to launch in May.
Triple Doll Cushions, £85.00
Q: Tell me about your collections.
A: One of my favourite collections is my Boudoir cushion collection, which combines two of my great loves – typography and neon pink! And I love the contrast created by teaming said neon with natural linen.
Boudoir Cushions, £95
But I’m most proud of my new Silk range, which features my Penny Dolls with the odd Zebra and a Pipe thrown in for good measure. This range is actually digitally printed, which in the past I had avoided for fear of not being able to achieve my signature brights, but the technology is so amazing that I needn’t have worried. Though I’ll always love screen printing and the aesthetic of hand printed textiles, designing for screen printing can be somewhat limiting and I feel a whole new and exciting world has been opened now that I’ve delved into digital!
Zebras, Pipes and Roses Cushions, £140
Q: What’s the best thing about owning your own business?
A: Definitely being my own boss. This of course is also the worst thing – you have no one else to blame!
Q: What one piece of advice would you pass on to someone wanting to set up their own business?
A: Go for it, but be prepared for a long hard slog. Being the ‘everything’ which you will no doubt be at least in the beginning, can be totally exhausting.
Q: What’s coming up for the rest of 2013?
A: I feel rather blessed these days that my work has been so well received and that I’m doing something I’m so passionate about. There are lots of exciting things on the horizon and this year looks set to be my best and busiest yet. I’ll be launching a new range of Velvet cushions at Pulse in May, here in London and I’m looking into exhibiting further afield for the first time. I’m not sure where yet, but have my sights set on Paris, New York or Tokyo.
If you’d like to buy Bianca’s beautiful products or find out more about her then check out www.kissher.co.uk. Credits: text by Homegirl London, images courtesy of Kiss Her, special thanks to Bianca Hall.