- Could you please present yourself in a few words ?
My name is Joanna Henly, known to many as Miss Led which has been my moniker for the last twelve years.
I’m a multi-disciplinary visual artist working in Fine Art, Illustration, Creative direction and now run Miss Led, a creative studio based in London and Lisbon.
I work globally for some of the biggest brands on the planet but also strive to achieve the wonderful and organic exchange that comes from smaller art projects and collaboration.
- What did you bring you to the illustration and graffiti field ?
I guess it’s more what illustration and graffiti has brought to me.
My discipline is Fine Art painting and Public Art installation so very academic and conceptually driven.
Illustration and street art has allowed me to play a little more and explore creating work across many platforms with the support of large brands.
From painting a window for Selfridges London, creating large scaled street art work/graffiti for design festivals around Europe and presenting my work live to thousands of people it’s brought more opportunities than just being a gallery artist.
Though I’ve still managed to exhibit one of my favourite paintings at the Saatchi Gallery in London.
- You managed to bring art to packaging, collaborating with big brands as Apple or Clinic. How did you do ?
I partner with a lot of brands in the field of cosmetics, hair and skincare. I’ve been working with Braun for many years and was so happy to finally collaborate on a limited edition set of product boxes for them a few years ago.
- Where do you find your inspiration ?
All around. Strong women and natural forms for have always been an influence on my work.
I’ve had a penchant for art nouveau poster print, Deadline magazine and late 60’s psychedelia since I was a teenager and those still influence my visual language now.
- What was your craziest project ?
Gosh, so many. I’ve been lucky to know and work with many people across different art, film, design and event industries in Europe.
My first official commission was partnering with Reebok on a Miss Led kick and painting in a street art tournament front of thousands of people in Barcelona. I took the trophy. It was definitely insane.
More recently I created a Virtual Reality science-fiction underwater installation in a green room for a short film supporting the launch of the latest Luc Besson film, Valerian.
- You are now based in Lisbon, why did you choose this city ?
I love being asked this question because I need to constantly remind myself of all the things that brought me to my present situation.
I’m close to celebrating my one year anniversary being here. It’s funny but the main reason was to escape.
I travelled a lot growing up and then found myself in London for 20 years. Life in London became too busy for me.
I wanted to explore a new life and a fresh culture. I fell instantly in love with Lisbon. The colours, the attitude and pace, the light and contrast of architecture.
- You wrote two books could you please tell us more about it ? You are used to give some classes, how it’s possible to follow them ?
It was a lot to do with timing as I’d just left my agent and looking for a change – a US publisher got in touch and asked me to pitch for two art books.
The first writing and illustrating a manual on portraiture and the other on figure drawing. I got to live the life of an author for 9 months last year.
I have two beautiful books now, both dedicated to my father who encouraged my love of art and brought back drawing books from his many travels when I was a growing up. I learnt more from them than I did in school. For me this was a great opportunity to shake up the traditional and often dry academic manual.
You can find them online and in stores globally.
They are also stocked in the Tate Modern and National Portrait Gallery in London.
- You just accepted a collaboration with The Other Shop, The Petite Miramar founded by Andre Saravaia and the chef Jojo. Could you tell us more about that ?
Yes on the next Saturday July 27th, invited by The Other Shop, I’ll be showing some of my illustration print work on the day, in the surroundings of the beautiful Petite Miramar venue. The works will acknowledge the colours and vibrancy of the venue and the bright colours of the seaside.
- What about your future projects ?
Next year I plan another solo show in London and also in Lisbon.
At the moment I’m travelling a lot to London for work – I’ve been exploring installation work in virtual reality which has been incredible and more film production work to support product launches.