A Chat with Jennifer Darr
X NIHILO founder Jenny and the beautiful Jennifer Darr have known each other since they were both in their early twenties, when they both studied fashion at the Queensland University of Technology. Lecture slides; long nights finishing assignments and a love for fashion brought the two together and a friendship blossomed.
Fast forward 10 years and both are making a name for themselves in the fashion and design world. Art, design and high fashion all coincide with both their young brands; X NIHILO and Jen and Jennifer and so it was inevitable that the two would collaborate, creating some unique hand painted designs on X NIHILO's top selling bags.
"Jennifer produced three one of kind creations for us, and the detail and care gone into each one is amazing! I'm always in awe of Jen's talents and I'm so glad we had the opportunity to work on this collab together, it felt like old times back at Uni" Jenny Hsieh, Founder of X NIHILO.
Now that Jennifer is based in Melbourne, home of X NIHILO, The X Room was able to catch up with Jennifer to discuss both her career and the meaning of the collaboration.
Who YOU are
“My name is Jennifer Darr, I'm an Australian artist, tea-drinker, traveller and reader.”
Jennifer was working as a Fashion Designer in Brisbane before she moved to London with her husband a few years ago, during that time she realised she needed a break from the industry and focused more on her freelance illustrations.
What YOU do
“In short, I'm a freelance artist. I illustrate, design and create content for private and commercial clients. My main body of work is pen and ink fashion illustrations, but I’m working a lot with watercolour at the moment which is quite new to me! You never know how a watercolour will turn out and I love that concept”
Why YOU do it
“I have always been creative and illustrating allows me to be creative all the time… I also absolutely love doing it. I think I'm actually just answering an internal call and even f I won the lottery tomorrow I'd still fill my life with drawing and creating. I might travel and shop a little more, but art is my passion and not just what I do, it's who I am.”
How YOU started
“I’ve been drawing and creating for as long as I can remember. Professionally, I completed degrees in both Fashion Design and then Graphic Design, which allowed me to work as a fashion designer until I relocated to London in 2014. It was there I started to illustrate for some freelance clients and when we moved to Melbourne last year, I became a full-time freelance artist. It has been the best decision for me and I couldn’t see my life without it now.”
Who YOU look up to
“I have a multitude of designers and artists I look up to but the people that inspire me most are my husband, family and close friends.”
What’s YOUr final message
“I'd love to leave behind a legacy of beautiful things, at the end of my life if someone described my work as a mix between eye candy and soul food that would make me a very happy lady.”
What did YOU like about collaborating with X NIHILO?
"I loved the idea of a collaboration with X NIHILO to blend art with luxury bags. Fashion is having such a DIY moment right now, everyone is able to create their own look and personalise or tailor items to suit them and this idea felt really current and relevant."
What was YOUr vision?
"I wanted to create a series that reflected my style and my current work but also, of course, something that I would myself love to wear."
What was YOUr inspiration for the designs?
"The inspiration behind the 3 bags was the idea of a 'midnight garden'. I tend to collect things in my handbag, things I pick up and forget about, trinkets or ticket stubs, even leaves or flowers, it can become a bit like a memory box if I let it go for too long! So I liked the idea of painting a collection of memories or objects directly on the bags. This ended up being a mixture of the kind of creatures and flowers you'd find on a wander through a garden at night and the feeling that would evoke. Something a little bit charming and nostalgic but above all beautiful."