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🎵 IT172: Coastal Melancholy
✏️ Charlotte Leadley
🗓 03.08.22

Charlotte is an illustrator based in Plymouth, UK.

Howdy, Charlotte. Can you tell us a little bit about your tape and your song selections?

The playlist I’ve put together captures a general sense of melancholy over a period of years in my adolescence – the experience of coming of age in a sleepy seaside town, sometimes of feeling lost, loneliness and angst, but also awe and exhilaration.

The songs I choose all make me feel some kind of melancholy. I wanted to somehow represent how someone can feel totally alone and simultaneously feel the presence of something bigger than themselves, like a spiritual fullness, that you get when you spend time in nature. It’s a kind of duality of emotion, of being both happy and sad, and the general turmoil of growing up that I experienced which I think was soothed in parts because of the connection that I felt by living close to the ocean.

When I listen back to the songs on this playlist, it can be quite an emotional journey, so putting them together feels poignant to me - like I’m organising my thoughts and memories of my adolescence.

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

I went on a little visual detour in my process for this artwork, and it took me quite a while to find a good balance between the sense of loneliness/melancholy and contentment/awe, because in theory they shouldn’t exist together. I went through a few different iterations before I found the right kind of palette and mark making that captured the energy I wanted. I think it mostly works because of the dark negative space around the central figure which just lets the rest of the illustration breathe.

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

I remember my mind being blown away by the cover of the Bombay Bicycle Club album So Long, See You Tomorrow which was inspired by the photographer Eadweard Muybridge and animated projections. I was in college at the time and that was probably one of my first exposures to sequential narrative before I fell into Illustration. Their music video for ‘Carry Me’ also has a nice use of those motion projection visuals and hand drawn illustration which has a really fun energetic movement.

So Long, See You Tomorrow – Bombay Bicycle Club
2014, Island Records / Mmm...Records
Design: La Boca

‘Carry Me’ [MV] – Bombay Bicycle Club
Dir: Powster: Ste Thompson, Drew Robinson & James Swindwells

What did you listen to growing up?

Perhaps this is odd but I can’t say I listened to much music when I was young, I mostly had my head in books and wanted complete silence in order to focus – but when I got older of course my friend group and I had that ‘emo’ phase and we just rotated on the classics: My Chemical Romance, Muse, The Rolling Stones, everything angsty and moody.

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

Fleetwood Mac always! Also Kings of Leon and Hans Zimmer because my partner loves them so I can’t help but get songs stuck in my head. I’m also vibing with Lily Allen at the moment, I just love the way she tells stories, like in ‘LDN’ she paints a vivid picture with her music and it's so fun to listen and dance around to.

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

I’m taking a big leap this year in pursuing a masters degree in illustration which is exciting! It’s been a nice two years of freelance work but I can’t wait to get back into academia, I definitely feel like it's a space where I thrive. My plans on what I’ll be making are all very loose and intangible at the moment – I don’t want to put any kind of pressure or expectations on artwork. Whatever it leads to will be exciting!

Where can we find you?

charlotteleadley.co.uk / @charlut.rl

Thanks Charlotte 👋🏽