commercial fashion illustrator
"I overstep gallery structures and head straight for the shopping mall," says Jeffrey Fulvimari, creator of the doe-eyed fashionable girls that grace numerous products worldwide. Jeffrey's highly successful fashion illustrations have appeared on everything from Stila cosmetics and Louis Vuitton scarves to a Grammy award-winning CD cover for The Complete Ella Fitzgerald Songbooks.
liven as a child Jeffrey was always enthusiastic about art. He says: "I was encouraged by my teachers to express opinions, and they often held up my work as an example for other pupils. I won a big art award when 1 was very young, so I guess you could say I had a following since First grade!" Jeffrey continued his education at The Cooper Union, New York, and Cleveland Institute of Art in the USA. He originally trained as a fine artist, producing conceptual art. However, to generate an income, he decided on illustration as a career. "Fashion illustration drew me in because it was not museum art. I wanted to do something that was as far removed from my education as possible. I am very proud of my fashion-illustration career. In the art world, everybody should be different, we do not all have to be on the same page."
Fulvimari has made his name by embracing the commercial world with open arms. He has launched his own range of illustrated clothing, bags and wallets across the UK and IJSA. His fashion brand has been steadily building in Japan since 1998, and his "Bobbypin" girls feature on teenage cosmetics, nightwear and greetings cards in large department stores worldwide. "My work is both my career and my hobby. I like to make statements with the jobs I take," says Jeffrey. "I was at my happiest when a magazine wrote about my merchandise from both ends of the spectrum in the same article. 1 don't ever want to be labelled as 'prejudiced' in the fashion world. I want my audience to be from all walks of life. So, to have both top-end and cheaper fashion ranges featuring alongside one another really told my story."
Long before he became a successful fashion illustrator, Jeffrey was given a piece of advice that has guided his life since: "Aim high—and you'll go straight to the top." His first job was illustrating a nightclub invitation for a weekly eveni called "Smashing". It was a folded card with each illustrated panel telling a story. The intriguing invitations became a talking point, and people in the fashion world, such as Anna Sui, started to collect them. Soon he was working for American Vogue and the department store Barneys without the aid of an agent. Unafraid to voice his own talents, he had guts and a determination to succeed. He advises: "Launch your career in a big city. Go to the top, and don't be afraid. 1 had confidence and self-belief and just willed everything to happen. I've never stopped working since."
Jeffrey describes fashion illustration as "a notion of blank pages being filled with notes. It is a starting point that some people take and turn into a career". He also warns: "1 chose illustration because 1.5 years ago it seemed to be a dead medium. It was easier to get to the top and make some money. Now, you have to be individual as there are so many illustrators out there." When discussing his inspiration, he replies: "I don't really look at other fashion illustrators much, as I don't want to be influenced by their styles. I limit the amount of art I look at because I want to make new art for myself."
Admiring the simple lines of Charles M. Schulz—the creator of Snoopy and Charlie Brown—Jeffrey explains, "Schulz's artwork is perfection—there is not a leaf out of place in Snoopy's world." Another creative influence was the work of Maxfield Parrish, who was one of the best-known illustrators in America. Parrish's first work, created specifically for reproduction as an art print in 1922, became his signature piece. The atmospheric, sun-drenched Daybreak, which depicted a reclining classical female figure in a toga, with a nude child standing over her on a columned portico, looking out onto a rich landscape of flowering trees and purple mountains, became
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