For more than forty years, Sue Dray has been communicating with her art in many capacities and on many levels – starting as an illustrator for pioneering feminist publications such as Spare Rib and The Women’s Press, both now considered cult magazines and historical treasures, archived and faithfully preserved as study material by The British Library.
Throughout the 1980s, Sue illustrated book covers for renowned authors such as Fay Weldon and Margaret Atwood, put her talents to use illustrating cookbooks and magazines such as Gay News and Gai Pied, completed a master’s degree in art that led to her teaching at universities in the United States and produced some of her most personal work, inspired by her two young daughters. She has since drawn live alongside the catwalk during shows by designers such as Pam Hogg, Vivienne Westwood and Zandra Rhodes, illustrated behind the scenes for Andrew Logan‘s Alternative Miss World and appeared drawing backstage during the 2018 film 'Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist'. Her style is a combination of strong lines, painterly textures and intense, contrasting colours. Yet, despite her constant search for evolution and change, these characteristics of her artistic language have remained intact since the beginnings of her prolific career, during the golden eighties.
Today Sue is regularly commissioned by magazines and designers for the drawings and sketches she creates during the unveiling of collections in all the major fashion capitals, throughout fashion season. In 2018 she was Fashion Scout‘s first resident artist for the Spring/Summer collection of London Fashion Week, during which we could see her standing in a sea of surrealism at her elegant easel, a mouth full of paintbrushes, surrounded by throngs of press photographers, all competing with her for the best images from each collection. Following an approach by Apple in 2015, she has also found time to experiment with digital drawing – a medium she has come to appreciate when working under the hectic conditions of fashion shows.
Last but not least, it is impossible to ignore the extent of her teaching experience: Sue has taught in the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States and was, for eight years, course leader of the Fashion Illustration Course at The London College of Fashion. She continues to contribute to this renowned institution as a guest lecturer, nurturing future generations of fashion artists with her vibrant teaching style and a faith in the arts that exudes life, spontaneity, authenticity and innovation.
And now, enjoy the interview!
Sue Dray: Website | Instagram
For further information about this interview, including links to anything mentioned by Sue, or to continue reading this text in Spanish, English and Italian, visit the Metralla Rosa website.