Close Up Interview with Artist and Industrial Designer Christelle Hug

Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
I am an Industrial Designer by day and Artist by night. I have been designing office furniture for the past 8 years and have released many products in the commercial furniture market. I recently decided to pursue my dream of launching my career as an Artist, a side venture which allows me to freely express my creativity.
I am a self-taught artist and have been sketching since I could hold a pencil.
My style is unique and reflects my Industrial Design background with great attention to detail in my drawings; this is evident in one of my recent drawings ‘Window to Paris’ where I spent many hours adding the intricate details of the metal structures of the Eiffel Tower.
 Brigit                     Window to Paris           Lartiste        Free as Hair
I specialise in drawing with pencil and like to apply a dash of colour to accentuate elements of the artwork and am currently working on creating prints of my original artworks that were exhibited at Art Expo Sydney which will soon be available for purchase.
Who (or what) inspires you to do what you love in your own creative business?
There are no rules in art for it is an expression of the soul, one of my favourite quotes which I find inspiring is “Art is when you hear a knocking from your soul…. and you answer” – Terri Guillemets. Industrial Design is focused on meeting a particular design brief and connecting with the end user whereas Art is about connecting with your soul and revealing a part of yourself with the world. I am inspired to show people that we all have a way to express ourselves and that art is an opportunity to show the way we see the world. I’m inspired by many artists and their individual style and hope to also inspire others to create their own art and unleash their creative potential.
Where do you get your inspiration from when you design/paint?
My art is inspired by the combined elements of fashion, architecture, nature and metaphysical concepts. I like to explore and combine different ideas and ways of thinking.
Most of all, I am inspired by people and like to portray personality and personal power in my artworks.
Music is what I use to process my inspiration and convert it into creative energy, I find that it stimulates my mind and blocks out any negative internal dialogue that may distract me from my work.
The funny thing is that most of my ideas for artworks come to me at the most unexpected moments where I will be doing something completely unrelated to art, this reinforces the concept of ‘let go and let flow’ so I do my best to clear my mind of mental clutter to allow the ideas to reveal itself when the time is right.
Art Expo Sydney  September 2012
What are the five words that people who know you would use to describe you?
Unique (but actually meaning to say ‘weird’)
Creative, Innovative, Hardworking & Down to Earth
Tell us about your very first job and what path have you taken since then?
My first job while I was studying at Uni was creating personalised 3D Crystal Portraits, I worked in a store at the QVB where I photographed people with a 3D camera and used a laser machine to etch the image into a block of crystal.
On the completion of my Industrial Design degree, I was offered the opportunity to design office furniture for a sheet-metal manufacturing company where I worked for 3 years and gained hands on experience in the design and manufacturing of sheet metal products. I then proceeded to work for a design consultancy which specialised in POP displays and worked on a variety of retail projects which also included the design of furniture for a retail fit out in the CBD. Today I am back in the Office Furniture industry and have designed a variety of products over the last 4 years.
Even though my creative energy is well occupied by my full time job, I recently decided that I want to pursue my dream of sharing my drawing abilities with the world after having kept it behind closed doors for so many years.
Describe a typical day in your studio space?
A typical day in my studio space involves continuous sketching while music is playing loud, with windows open for the circulation of fresh air, pencil shading all over my hands, finger prints all over my furniture and an odd break here and there. I find that time becomes very warped while I sketch, it’s almost as though I am brought to a meditative state where time stands still and I am able to achieve 3 hours of sketching in only 20 minutes.
As an artist/designer, what is your biggest frustration?
Limited thinking…. There is nothing more frustrating than being told that something ‘cannot be done’ I like to believe that anything is possible and like to give everything a try.
I am a firm believer of Napoleon Hill’s quote: “What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve”.
Tell us about how you prioritise your studio work.
I start by visualising the end result and determine in my mind what I would like to achieve. I then decide on the first step I need to take and ensure that the most vital component is completed first.
For example completing the artworks was the most important element for exhibiting at Sydney Art Expo so I put a date on the day which I wanted all my artworks to be completed, I then sketched out a layout of how I wanted to display my art and then proceeded by focusing on each artwork at a time without overloading my mind with all the ‘other tasks’ that had to be completed in time for the show. I focused on the present moment and enjoyed the feeling of creating my artworks and avoided worrying or stressing about the future, I find it important to never doubt my ability to complete something on time.
“Picture Jasper”
How do you connect with other artists, and your clients (i.e. how do you network)?
Being new to the art scene I found that Art Expo was a great opportunity for me to connect with other artists and meet potential clients. I also connect with artists and people who are a fan of my work via facebook and tumblr.
How do you manage to Design fulltime and working on your art business?
Drawing for me is a way to unwind and quieten my mind, it’s a time when I don’t think but instead follow my feelings so it doesn’t feel like work but rather a form of meditation in a sense.
Art is my passion; for me drawing generates creative energy which I then use to create more art!
So in a sense I find that we’re only ever  “too busy” to do something that we don’t really feel like doing, however when you find something that you love to do then time will start looking for you rather than you looking for it.
Sydney Art Expo September 2012
Tell us about your experience exhibiting at the Sydney Art Expo this year September
Exhibiting at the Sydney Art Expo was a wonderful experience, I am very happy to have been given the opportunity to participate in this great event. I was able to interact with a diverse range people who appreciate art and have met many wonderful artists who I would have never met otherwise.
On a personal note, it was a chance for me to see what people think of my art and it has helped me decide on the ‘next step’ of pursuing my art dream.
What advice can you offer other creative people who are just starting out and following their passions?
There are no set rules in getting what you want in life. Everyone has a unique journey to reach their goals so trust that when you do everything that ‘feels right’, it will eventually lead you to a positive outcome. Also, you have to believe in yourself before others can believe in you.
What dreams do you still want to achieve or fulfil in your life?
I would like to publish a motivational book, I have been thinking about a topic for a while and haven’t quite determined what it will be but I trust that it will reveal itself in due time. I would also like to include my art as the visual elements of this book.
What is your proudest moment so far?
My proudest moment was to exhibit my art to the public for the first time at Sydney Art Expo. My career path is quite unique to other artists as I am a self-taught artist, have an Industrial Design degree and have been designing furniture for the last 8 years, so to be able to stand there in front of an exhibition display of my artworks has been proof to me that we should never give up on our dreams even though life has seemed to have taken us in completely different direction.
“World Within”
Who do you most want to meet and why?
I would like to meet Karl Largerfeld because he is a fashion icon and I’m fascinated that at the age of 79 he is a fashion designer, artist and photographer all while being the head designer and creative director for the fashion house Chanel. He has achieved a lot in his life and I would love to hear about his life experiences and current endeavours.
What is the most important lesson in life that you have learned?
I have learnt that our thoughts have great power and that we are what we think therefore we have to be aware of the thoughts that we entertain. Just like this quote from the book ‘Eat Pray Love’ instructs: “You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select what clothes you’re gonna wear every day”. I’ve learnt that the only thing that can hold me back in life is negative internal dialogue which I always thought was there to keep me “safe” but has actually prevented me from stepping out of my comfort zone where all great things happen.
What book are you reading right now, and do you have a book you would like to recommend?
I am currently reading ‘Whatever You Think, Think the Opposite’ by Paul Arden, a book which challenges the conventional way of thinking and reveals how good things come from trying something new and different.
I would love to recommend the book ‘The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs’ by Carmine Gallo which gives the reader an insight to the revolutionary thinking strategies of Steve jobs which encourages people to “Think Different”. The book is based on Seven Principals of Innovation which can be applied to any field of endeavour. Definitely a good read because it inspires people to unlock their own creative potential.
Where do we find you and your product?
 My art can be found on my website:
Fans can follow the progress of my latest sketches on:
My inspirations and news updates can be found on:
Commissioning of art is available by negotiation and people can contact me
Vinh Van Lam
the authorVinh Van Lam
Vinh Van Lam, co-founder of ArtSHINE, is a visionary art coach and entrepreneur with a passion for fostering creativity. With a diverse background in art and business, he brings a unique perspective to empower emerging artists, enabling them to thrive in the dynamic art industry through the innovative platform of ArtSHINE.

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