Scratching a Creative Itch One Project at A Time: An Interview with Lotte Hawley

From a beginning in the fitness industry to a career in film and the arts Lotte Hawley has created a niche for her own creative vision.

Growing up in a creative family with siblings and parents involved in the arts, Lotte stepped aways from the arts in her early twenties to pursue a career in fitness. A personal trainer at a well known gym and fitness fanatic this seemed a perfect fit for Lotte however the creative itch never left.

The fitness industry can be hard on the body and this combined with her love of the arts soon drew Lotte back to the arts.

Lotte has two distinctive art styles; one a detailed, pencil rendered illustrative style, and the other, a contemporary pop art line work style. Lotte enjoys the ability to work both small and large scale, creating intricate detailed drawings and illustrations, to large expressive mural work.

Her murals can be seen across the country mainly in Auckland and Wellington however her latest, and largest piece, was created in Hāwera, Taranaki with plans for a second accompanying piece in 2022.


Lotte Hawley Street Art Mural in Hawera

Interview with Lotte Hawley

You work in a variety of mediums and styles from illustration to large scale murals. What challenges does working in a variety of styles present and what draws you to creating in each of them?

I think through my own personal creative journey the idea and concept more or less stays the same. I love telling stories... and taking people to a different world. But yes, I also love experimenting with different ways for drawing and expressing line.

At this stage in my art journey I don’t want to make rules around what I do and don’t create. Sometimes I like to dive into an intense detailed drawing, other times I am at a computer, and then every now and again I head to a life drawing class and get messy with charcoal or oil paints.

Variation is good for me.However, I think the challenge in that is simply a marketing one. In the world of social media, having various styles and feeding these to the appropriate markets can be tricky. I separate my photography from my art for that reason... for now anyway. They will organically merge together soon I believe.




Lotte Hawley Drawing Solo Adventure

In addition to your own artistic pursuits you work in the film industry. Does the creative nature of the film industry help to fuel your creativity?

The film industry is a unique beast. It definitely fuels imagination. In film, everything is built, prototyped, made, contextualised, researched… there is a real tangible quality to it, and the craft that goes into it is absolutely mind blowing.

New Zealand filmies are a super talented bunch of people doing crazy beautiful things. I love being around such people.

However... the hours don’t really support the ability to get moving on your own projects. And because of this I am stepping out of it for a while to pursue some projects that have been on hold for a wee while now. I currently have a mix of commercial graphic design, illustration and photography briefs to fill up the schedule around the art work. Working from home is the future ;-)



There is a certain amount of vulnerability in sharing your art with others, particularly online and in large scale murals. How does producing your artwork directly in front of the audience compare to producing your smaller works in private?

Drawing and traditional illustration is my usual medium. I also work digitally, and with oils in the studio.

Mural work (when the right briefs come along…. and everything aligns) definitely becomes the fun, epic project. It’s not every day you get to paint huge street walls.

Anything drawn small on an A4 piece of paper can always translate and be scaled up to fit a building wall. The wonderful thing about street art is that it becomes almost like performance art. The community gets involved and gets to enjoy it also. Conversations happen while you paint.

In terms of vulnerability? Age ..and mistakes have taught me to love what I do… keep moving forward…and let the rest of it go ;-)




Lotte Hawley No Wifi

How has your work evolved over the years? What has changed and what remains constant?

To be honest… I am only now finding my groove with my style and where I want to take my art.

A lot of artists have this cemented early… a style …a look… but I still like to try different things. I love the make believe. I love story telling.

My process has definitely changed since starting. I now draw straight from my head... I let the pencil or paint brush dictate the outcome.

If I need reference material… it is sourced with my own eye. . .or drawn from a LIVE reference. This is how I was trained. Numerous drawings are done, sketchbook pages are filled, and I then take those experiments to create the final works.


I have also been moving around a lot these past 4-5 yrs which makes it hard to gain momentum. I am about to set up a new studio in the Wairarapa. I'm looking forward to rural living and wearing jandals all year round.



What has been the most demanding work (or project) you have worked on to date? What about it challenged you?

Haha I can easily say that a wall measuring 30m x 15m was the biggest installation I have painted to date. And it was intense. There will always be challenges and obstacles with anything, but I now just break it down and move step by step. A little bit of challenge is good, it keeps us on our toes.



What does the year ahead hold for you?

I have a few personal projects on the go and am currently enjoying some downtime from film to give these some focus. I am hiking. Banking photography time. Slowly taking on more graphic design jobs.I am currently mapping out exhibit work for October 2022, which is exciting. There is always something to do.

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