There are a lot of reasons I have to thank Instagram, but by far my favorite is my discovery of Liselotte Watkins, artist, illustrator, all-around cool woman. I can’t remember the rabbit hole I went down, but one afternoon I found myself inside the World of Watkins – collages, interiors, drawings, slightly off-tint colors, burnt out photos, vintage finds and original art. There was something about her feed that reminded me of Marimekko and the 1970s – her vibe was absolutely nothing I’d seen lately and everything nostalgic. I did more research and discovered that Liselotte was Swedish but lived and worked in Rome. It was kismet or it was about to be, as I made sure to meet her.
Collages and Colors
From Sweden to Texas to Paris to Milan, Rome and Tuscany, Liselotte’s a living adventure story. A mix of Texas true grit, and that envious natural Swede aesthetic- stylish and utilitarian – Liselotte kicked off her art career at 100% ever since she thought “why not” in high school, moved to Texas and studied art. Eventually, she decamped to New York where she began a professional career in graphic design and illustration- a tenet her work always holds true – and immediately was sought out by incredible brands including Marimekko, Prada, Diptyque, Rodebjer, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue for collaborative design-meets-art-meets-fashion projects.
“I love anything that has to do with like, you know, craftsmanship from the 70s.”
And then she got bored. And boring is absolutely the last word that should ever be used around Liselotte, likewise static. Liselotte is kinetic even when she sits still. When we were talking, we were moving (walking into her daughter’s school, chatting up the owner of Lotte Caffe, pushing around vases in her studio). We sat down and she quickly told me her backstory – she wanted more, so she packed up, did a quick stint in back home in Sweden, followed by Paris and then Milan – always drawing, painting, collecting, collaging, producing. Somewhere in there came a family, her husband Jonas Falk and their two children.
Laughing. That’s Liselotte every time I meet her. She’s positive, fearless and curious, and it shows in each work of art. Another Why Not” took her, Jonas and kids to Rome for an adventure in studo where Liselotte now focuses full-time on creating incredible art installations and projects for in situ shows and exhibitions. Just as the choice of Italy was deliberate (the artisan and craft history, the incredible resources), the choice of Rome was targeted- Liselotte and Jonas love the pace, the colors, the weather and gritty vibe. With family in tow, Liselotte traverses Italy perusing flea markets, chatting up waiters, and finding local artisans who may just be part of her next project. In this episode of Ciao Bella, Liselotte shares her journey in the artistic and graphic designing niche and how Italy has transformed her work.
More In The Episode
[01:53] Getting to know Liselotte Watkins
[06:58] How Liselotte got her first gig
[08:26] Establishing a studio in New York
[10:38] Moving from Paris to Milan
[13:39] Why Liselotte moved to Rome
[17:39] Liselotte’s first show in Italy and its inspiration
[24:01] Making a contemporary art tapestry in Italy
[31:04] Liselotte’s current project
[32:24] Difference Rome and Milan
[36:41] Liselotte’s favorite places to visit in Italy
[40:47] Why Liselotte loves traveling around Italy.