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🎵 IT216: Desert Dust
✏️ Holly Farndell
🗓 22.03.24

Holly is a Brighton based illustrator.

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

Desert Dust is a compilation of songs to transport you into a daydream road tripping through the desert - a bumpy camper van ride kicking up the desert dust, with sun-kissed skin and a warm breeze through the window. The playlist flows from euphoric movie-scene belters imagining you’re in Thelma & Louise, winding down to a desert sunset drive with a country twang weaving its way through.

I think everyone can relate to being that kid sitting in the back of the car, listening to music and having big main character energy as you’re gazing out of the window. This is kind of like that but for actual cool adults who can drive (unfortunately, still not me). One of my bucket list dreams is to take a road trip in a van through the American desert, so I guess I’m manifesting it with a lil drawing.

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

My illustration is a little window into my daydream! My drawing process always starts by getting my ideas out in writing, whether that's research or words I want to inspire the artwork. Then I’ll create some really rough sketches on Procreate - I used to draw a lot more in my sketchbook but with commercial work needing to be quite quick, I find doing the whole process digitally has really helped. I’ll clean up the sketch and scribble a really rough idea of the colour palette I want to use, then I’ll start filling in block shapes and finish it off with all the details and textures (my favourite bit!).

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

Innerspeaker – Tame Impala
2010, Modular Records
Artwork: Leif Podhajsky

I’ve always felt really inspired by Leif Podhajsky’s artwork, particularly for Tame Impala’s Innerspeaker album. Just fascinated by how his psychedelic artwork matches the music so perfectly.

Revolver – The Beatles
1966, Parlophone
Design: Klaus Voormann

All of The Beatles album covers are great, but particularly Revolver, designed by Klaus Voormann. I just love the total un-seriousness of it, it feels like he really captured the weird and wonderful-ness of The Beatles.

Neon signs for I Like It When You Sleep for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It. – The 1975
2016, Dirty Hit / Polydor
Creative: David Drake & Samuel Burgess Johnson

I loved the artwork surrounding the release of The 1975’s album, I Like It When You Sleep for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It, shot and directed by David Drake & Samuel Burgess Johnson. I often like to use words in my work, something about the combination of mediums really emphasises the sentiment. Also, neon pink!?!

What did you listen to growing up?

I went through a lot of music phases, core memories include:
Dancing around the living room with my mum, cranking up I’m ‘Every Woman’ by Chaka Khan on our old stereo. My dad driving me to school in his bumpy green Land Rover with gardening tools and soil scattered all over the place, listening to The Beatles. Seeing Lily Allen on the TV dancing down the street singing to ‘LDN’, and begging my parents to buy me her album for Christmas. Briefly went through a bit of a JLS phase (we don’t need to talk about that).

When I turned 13 I discovered My Chemical Romance and suddenly everything in the world sucked, so I had The Black Parade on repeat and black eyeliner stained eyelids for the next couple of years. Being a true Tumblr girly, I slowly emerged from my emo phase into indie music, from the likes of Alt-J, Foals and Swim Deep. At uni I discovered Mac DeMarco and watched Pitchfork’s documentary Pepperoni Playboy weekly (perfect medicine for all the indie-boy heartbreaks).

I would now class myself as ‘grown up’, so I’d say that discovering Tame Impala whilst at university was my last pivotal moment musically. Currents really influenced my work at the time and still transports me to another dreamy place every time I listen to it.

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

I moved in with my partner two years ago and he’s really hogged the aux cable ever since, so most of what I listen to now is music he’s discovered and I’ve been forced to listen to. But the man has great taste! Whenever we have long roadtrips, like our trip from Brighton to Glasgow earlier this year, we listen to Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon & Garfunkel, and that’s become the soundtrack to adventures with him - the album is  a real rollercoaster through all the emotions.

My summer was filled with the delight that is Jungle’s new album, Volcano. And when I need to be in deep work concentration mode, I’ve loved ‘jazz is for ordinary people’ by berlioz.

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

I’m currently in the midst of working on my first publishing project, which is a dream!! It’s been a lot of hard work over the last couple of months but it's been exciting to get my teeth into a big project, 2023 was a hell of a quiet year!!

Back in November, my studio (full of lovely fellow illustrator pals, also known as Lucky Frog Studio) put on our first art show at the Phoenix Art Space in Brighton, which was SO fun. We’re currently making plans for more exciting things to come in 2024, with the aim of bringing the illustration community in Brighton to life!

Where can we find you?


Thanks Holly 👋🏽

Harry Nilsson - Everybody's Talkin' / Paul Simon - Graceland / The Bobby Fuller Four - Let Her Dance / Crowded House - Weather With You / Father John Misty - Real Love Baby / Roxy Music - More Than This / Paul Simon - Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes / Talking Heads - This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody) / Khruangbin - People Everywhere (Still Alive) / Allah-Las - Raspberry Jam / Bruce Springsteen - I'm On Fire / Khruangbin - Texas Sun / America - A Horse with No Name / Khruangbin - Mariella / Bruce Springsteen - Sad Eyes (Studio Outtake - 1990) / Cotton Jones - Blood Red Sentimental Blues ︎