London-based illustrator, Lily Kong, popped into not just a shop to give our window a much-needed makeover ready for our re-opening later this week.

Have a read of what Lily has to say about her work and practice below, and make sure to check out our latest IGTV over on Instagram to see her design come to life.

What was the inspiration behind the design for the window display?

This design is inspired by autumn and nature. It is created with the love and excitement to get out of the house after lockdown and enjoy autumn to the fullest.

Have you ever worked with vinyl or created a window display before?

I have worked with vinyl before. I co-designed the show brand identity for my BA degree show in 2017 and filled it with blank and white drawings printed in vinyl. Earlier this year, I designed two window displays for Sogo Seibu, a retail company and department stores in Japan. But working with not just a shop is the first time I’ve been involved in producing a window display, and I love it!

Artist Lily Kong uses a paint pen to create her design on not just a shop's window

How does it feel to have your work displayed in such a prime location in central London?

I love it! not just a shop is in an amazing location in the heart of London. I feel so honoured to showcase my design here.

What was the process of designing the window display like?

The not just a shop team were very kind to let me design whatever I like. I was thrilled by this opportunity and immediately knew I want to make something that embraces nature and the fact that we are free from the stressful lockdowns.

When designing this window display, I tend to flatten my motifs, characters and landscapes for production purposes. Finding the balance between a delicately painted nature scene and a clean vector design was challenging. I was constantly debating on how wonky the bushes can be, how much textures the plants can have without losing harmony.

Sometimes it felt totally foreign thinking about applying salt illustration to three-dimensional space. The process was tricky because I am not only illustrating – but I am also applying illustration to design. I am designing illustration that looks like my work in a 3D space. I wanted to maintain the sentiments, a sense of space and the richness of colours in this window display. So, I choose to create characters and bushes cutouts with big blocky colours, layered with window-painted elements. They not only add depth to the window display but also demonstrate a full illustration blended with the shop.

What do you want viewers to take away from your work?

This work embraces the beauty of nature with bright colours and happy characters. It would be amazing if this window display brings a moment of joy to the viewers.

What three things are essential to your practice?

Joyfulness, positivity and humour (sassiness) play a big part in my practice. A lot of work is about bringing a moment of joy through happy vibes and cute characters, whereas half of my work is about taking the piss out of the silly things I do in my daily life. They are all aimed at bringing a moment of joy and laughter to others.

Artist Lily Kong uses a paint pen to create her design on not just a shop's window

Do you have any examples of other artworks?

Yes of course. You can either find more on my website or my Instagram page.

What is the most inspiring place you’ve been to in London?

My all-time favourite is Kew Gardens. It is a beautiful garden – full of quirky exotic plants. Over the past few years, I took so many drawing day trips there. It is one of my biggest sources for plants and garden research. Marianne North Gallery in Kew is a must go too!

What advice would you give to students wanting to run their own business?

As a freelance illustrator, I think it is super important to introduce yourself and your work to others. When I was a student, I was advised to make as many kinds of products as possible. It helps in showcasing my potentials but making is not enough. In order to attract more clients and collaborators, I will showcase my strengths to as many people as possible. There are many platforms to do so, like art markets, shops, social media platforms, portfolio sites etc. 

Get your work out there. You will find appreciation, support and perhaps an opportunity to work on a new project!

Shop Lily’s prints in-store and online today!