Homegirl London pays homage to Blackpop. Maxine Hall is a magpie collecting treasures from the past to inspire her luxury vintage boho and shabby chic style wallpapers. Her designs are all about grandeur, faded glamour and a lust for the decadent days of yesteryear.
Maxine has an exceptional eye for colour – from dusty to dark to 1950s brights. Damasks, patchworks, mirrored images and repeats are prominent in her wall coverings which would certainly transform any modest apartment into a boutique hotel or stately home. She’s been in business since December 2012 so I thought it was time I caught up with Maxine to find out more …
Q: Tell me about your design background.
A: I graduated from the University of Westminster with a BA Honours in Photography, Film and Video. I was the first student to specialise and graduate using Photoshop 1 as my main tool alongside a scanner and an analogue camera for input. The technological revolution was in an embryonic stage; all my stuff was stored on floppy discs! My practice has grown and developed alongside hard and software development, for the last 25 years, ouch! From University I was head hunted into a Reprographics Studio in Soho as artist in residence, where I developed and refined my digital knowledge.
I then became a freelance digital Illustrator in publishing alongside a personal fine art photographic practice. I started to develop digital and photographic design collections to print direct onto ceramics. I also spent time lecturing in Fine Art and Digital Media and undertook an MA in Art. In 2012 I revisited printing digital photography / graphic designs onto various surfaces now including furniture and wallpaper.
Q: Why set up your business?
A: I never gave up looking for my niche and when I started developing my wallpaper designs I knew I was in my element – where current manufacturing possibilities met my design aspirations.
Q: Why call the company Blackpop?
A: I’m the human version of a magpie. I hunt like a Pirate (hence the name Blackpop) appropriating past and sometimes ancient treasures, things that excite and give me ideas. I rework them; mix them up with a contemporary twist.
Blackpop Culcita Wallpaper Collection
Q: Where are you based and why?
A: I have a great studio set up at home; I like everything on tap and to be flexible. Home is Derby but we are looking to relocate to St Leonards on Sea – my partner wants to be beside the seaside.
Q: How many people work at your company?
A: There are three of us at the moment.
Q: Describe your design style.
A: I would say it’s classical with a twist – but it changes with time. I pride myself with having the vision to sense trends as they enter the horizon. I like designs that set the scene, a few people have said they have an Alexander McQueen element to them someone else said ‘they should be in a Baz Luhrmann film, I love comments like that! We specialise in must have designs for individual minds.
Blackpop Casa Cielo Wallpaper
Q: Where do you draw your creative inspiration from?
A: I can get inspiration from different eras. I might be visiting a stately home and get excited by an ancient tapestry hanging on the wall and then be at Tate Modern looking at Damien Hirst’s work and elements of the two might collide.
Q: Tell me about your collections.
A: Duprez Collection: It’s intricate and multi layered in tone and texture. It exudes an aged / mottled luminosity or fog, like faded Chinese silk. I had a kind of New Orleans jazz vibe whilst I was making it; I wanted to create an underground feel, 1920s prohibition, cigarette holders, smoky rooms, something dark and intriguing and something with a colourful history.
Blackpop Duprez Wallpaper
Chapelle Collection: This design can be hung alone or mixed and matched, to include an occasional richly blue coloured butterfly, the paper can also be matched with a dark blue blush fading in from the floor or ceiling. Another colour way has a dusky pink and orange hue floral with a fresco feel this can be matched with an occasional pink and orange locust and or a roll of sunrise or sun set blush fading from the floor or ceiling. I like the idea of disrupting the pattern, a subtle surprise, the locust adds edginess to the delicate floral pattern and colourway of ‘Chapelle Sunrise’ – it’s beauty and the beast!
Blackpop Chapelle Morpho Wallpaper
Blackpop Chapelle Sunset Wallpaper
Blackpop Chapelle With Wings Wallpaper
Q: What’s your fascination with bygone eras?
A: As you know most designs have a historical reference; by nature they have to, don’t they? It’s not so much my fascination with bygone eras, I think it has more to do with the concept that there are no new ideas. What’s left is a mixing and reworking of existing styles / things, like the DJ says ‘it’s all in the mix.’ I think the digital revolution has compounded this practice, everything seems to have been regurgitated and resubmitted in digital form and we now have history in text and images in our faces and at our fingertips.
Blackpop Geo Earth Wallpaper
Q: Tell me about your bespoke service.
A: Working digitally means we can customise our designs to fit bespoke projects. Architects and Interior Designers often need solutions like a pantone colour match or a scaled up pattern that we then print onto a wider paper. We welcome working with other creative people and companies, it fits with our philosophy ‘individual designs for individual minds.’
Q: Which creative person / company do you admire and why?
A: I would say Vivienne Westwood. I love the way she mixes colour, texture and pattern. I can identify with her process how she borrows from the past and adds her own twist; I love the quality and eccentricity of her and her work.
Blackpop Duprez Wing Back Chair
Q: What’s the best thing about owning your own business?
A: The challenge, the freedom and the future.
Q: What one piece of advice would you pass on to someone wanting to set up his or her own business?
A: It’s an obvious one you hear it again and again but it’s true. Follow your heart, your instinct and stick to your guns.
Blackpop Duprez Cushion
Q: What new and exciting things have you got planned?
A: At the moment our products can only be purchased via our website. We’re currently negotiating with national and international suppliers. This is our next step in developing Blackpop’s brand.
In terms of prices, they start at £118 per roll. You can buy the products from Black Pop. Credits: text by Homegirl London, images courtesy of Paula Moss, special thanks to Maxine Hall and Paula Moss.