Alice Hawthorne is a Cardiff-based artist, graphic designer and founder of design company Aliceartwork. She has more than seven years of experience in the design industry. Most recently Alice curated the exhibition A Night at the Circus, at which she showcased her work and that of other Cardiff creatives. We attended the launch at Womanby Street’s Castle Emporium and caught up with Alice to talk all things design.

Why have you chosen to work in Cardiff? After finishing my degree and Masters in Cardiff I decided that I’d made enough connections to establish myself as a designer and that was the beginning of my design company Aliceartwork. My grandparents and most of my family were based in West Wales so I’ve slowly made the move towards the capital. I think the creative scene in Cardiff is really buzzing. 

What challenges have you found in working in Cardiff?The biggest challenge for me has been bringing different creative communities together that could really benefit from knowing each other. From being both a designer and a typographer, I always manage to find suppliers locally, but they can sometimes be really difficult to find. You have to make the effort and often, the supplier you need is just down the road instead of in London or further afield. I think it’s important to use local suppliers and support each other in a city like Cardiff. That’s what I tried to do for my latest exhibition - it wasn’t just for designers and artists, I wanted everyone I knew to come and experience it and talk to each other. 

How successful do you think Cardiff has been at making itself a creative capital, particularly in your area of work? I think Cardiff is really beginning to make strides in becoming a creative capital but there is still a way to go. It’s great to see the growing number of makers and producers paving their way in Cardiff. In the world of signwriting and glass gliding there’s definitely a huge progression with artists going back to traditional techniques. Cardiff specifically has a rich history of shop signs that used traditional techniques to create their signs so it’s nice to see the arcades adopting the same technique. 

In your opinion, which three things need to happen to make Cardiff a more creative city? Cardiff needs to be a bit more open to connecting different communities. It is relatively small city yet there are so many hubs separate to each other that aren’t connecting. It would be great to get them to connect more and see where it leads. 

What do you think Creative Cardiff should try to achieve? I think Creative Cardiff should try to connect as many people, events and creatives as possible as it is truly inspiring to see the community in Cardiff grow through each project or big event. The Cardiff Design Festival that’s happening at the beginning of October is an example. It would also be so helpful to have a yellow books of suppliers, and a listing of events. 

What's next for you? What projects are on the horizon? What new ideas are you working on?I’ve got a few private commissions coming up over the next few months and leading up to the Christmas rush. I’m currently on the hunt for some large spaces to do murals - if anyone has any then I would be super interested in hearing about them. I’m always looking at developing my skillset with different mediums and techniques that combine both graphic design and sign writing/glass work. Also, for the Cardiff Design Festival, there’s an open house at the coworking space I’m based in, Meanwhile House, so I’ll be showcasing my work. Find out more about this here.  

A sneak preview of Alice's preparation for her latest art exhibition, 'A Night at the Circus'. 

If you'd like to work with Alice, know more about what she does or have a gander of her artwork, click here.