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🎵 IT169: Moments in Melancholy
✏️ Naomi Batts
🗓 13.07.22

Naomi is an illustrator based in Plymouth, UK.

Hiya Naomi. Can you tell us a little bit about your tape and your song selections?

My playlist is called ‘Moments in Melancholy’. It’s about the moments you find yourself in a fog of melancholy when listening to a particular song. These moments often feel bittersweet or remind you of a feeling you once had about someone or something. I find myself lost in these songs, completely absorbed by the lyrics and love how the meaning of the song shapeshifts to suit me. They become audible timestamps in my mind, attaching themselves to memories or feelings. I won’t go into what any of the songs personally remind me of, as I don’t want any listeners to be clouded by my interpretations.

What direction did you take with your cover art, and what was your process?

This project actually became part of my postgraduate research into exploring alternative illustration methodologies to create commercial work. As I had about 6 months from the time I got the go ahead on the project, I expanded the project to allow time for intuitive making. I started with listening to songs that felt most important in the playlist on repeat - it was valuable to have them feel embedded into my being. I then moved onto mark making while listening to the songs and then doing plein air drawings and paintings in places that the songs reminded me of. I combined a selection of the work into a series of paintings and chose the one that I felt represented the playlist best.

What are your fave album covers, records with a great music and artwork combo, or musical projects with a visual component?

One that sticks out is Iron & Wine – Our Endless Numbered Days. I remember being really inspired by this at college and it led to a self initiated project that eventually influenced me to go on to study illustration. The softness of that album art really complemented the music and I remember thinking that a photograph wouldn’t have been able to do that.

Our Endless Numbered Days – Iron & Wine
2004, Sub Pop
Artwork: Sam Beam (Iron & Wine)

I also love Laura Marling’s A Creature I Don’t Know. Essentially folk music and folk art go hand in hand don’t they.

A Creature I Don’t Know – Laura Marling
2011, Virgin / Ribbon
Illustrations: Shynola
Design: Alex Cowper

What did you listen to growing up?

My dad loved 70s punk and my mum loved 80s music, so that was influential during my early childhood. I also remember belting out Celine Dion in the living room at 5 years old. Once I started making decisions of my own in my teenage years I enjoyed emo music basically. Green Day’s American Idiot became a staple of my adolescence.

And what’s on heavy rotation for you at the moment?

In terms of albums, I have been listening to City & Colour’s live album Guide Me Back Home. I am terrible at discovering ‘new’ music though and often listen to the same stuff on repeat, I’m still listening to Bo Burnham’s Inside.

What’s happening in your creative world at the moment?

I’m studying a Masters in Illustration at Arts University Plymouth, as well as teaching illustration on the side. If you want to work together, hit me up - I’d love to hear from you!

Where can we find you?

Insta: @naomibatts
Website: naomibatts.com

Thanks Naomi 👋🏽