Lianne Nixon plays with perspective
20.08.21 Interview by Hannah Valentine

Lianne Nixon plays with perspective

The Dutch illustrator explores angles and edges to create her stylish interior illustrations, full of the design classics she’s lusting after.
20.08.21 Interview by Hannah Valentine

Made using Posca and Molotow acrylic markers on coloured paper, Lianne Nixon’s depictions of perfect-looking interior spaces are populated with pieces of (mostly iconic) furniture, accessories and foliage. Unexpected angles and her clever use of perspective draw the eye around her images, seeming to show us the objects we should admire the most. From a portrayal of Ingo Maurer’s classic Zettle’z Lamp, to a rendition of Alexander Schul’s modern furniture made from recycled materials, Lianne creates a depth and texture in her illustrations which only adds appeal to the classic designs of these interior masters.

And while Lianne Nixon has always enjoyed being creative, illustration hasn’t always been top of her list. Even now, as a successful and established illustrator, she enjoys combining this work with her passion for woodwork and furniture design – building a creative life full of variety.

We talk to Lianne about how she got going in her art practice, drawing her favourite furniture (as well as learning to make it), and what her dream home might look like.

Can you tell us a bit about your creative journey so far?
I’ve been interested in artistic and creative studies since graduating high school, but illustrating never really occurred to me. I became more interested in illustration when I was around 23 years old, starting with creating logos for friends, painting a window illustration for a local shop and making art prints to sell. When my boyfriend started an illustration agency in 2015, I learned to work on commissions with bigger companies. From there on I got better at what I did, finding my own style and getting more commissioned work because of it. I think, if I could be 18 again, I would love to study illustration at an art academy just to experience the ups and downs, getting feedback from teachers, and having the freedom to experience various techniques during school hours.

And how did you come to specialise in interior illustration?
From the beginning, illustrating interiors and objects was a perfect fit for me as I was just not interested in drawing people. It began with my enthusiasm for designer chairs—observing them, not being able to buy them, and starting therefore just to draw them! I was then asked by design platform Say Hi To to create four works inspired by my favourite design brand Eames. After that, I did nothing else, just created imaginary interiors filled with the designer pieces I loved. My interest is not in interior design per se, rather my focus lies on the individual objects. That’s also why I started studying woodwork and furniture design in 2017. My thought was that if I can draw them, why shouldn’t I try to make them?! I graduated in 2019 and I began work as a teaching assistant this school year.

In your editorial work, you’re often commissioned to illustrate particular pieces of “real-life” furniture and design objects. How much say do you get about how the illustration looks overall, and how do you portray these real-life objects while maintaining your own artistic style?
I have experienced so much freedom from commissioners, for which I am very grateful. Mostly when a company contacts me they share their idea, sometimes using past illustrations from my social media as inspiration. That way I’m able to immediately imagine how the client wants the final project to look. My latest biggest commission was for Vitra and they basically planned everything from decorative objects shown in the interior to the colours I should use. But with others I just get told the design objects which needs to be represented in the illustration and the rest is up to me.

I always find it hard to pinpoint my personal artistic style. I’m not the only one creating interiors without human figures or working with the materials I use, but I do love to play with perspective, or rather, the lack of it. So the objects I draw will be just as close as I can recreate them, but they will be placed in a room with a perspective that does not seem to make logical sense but which works well for the eye.

Tell us about your monthly column work with Living at Home magazine. What’s it like to work so regularly with a publication?
This collaboration started almost three years ago and we’re still going strong! Every month I draw a detail of an interior with the focus on a design classic for their column. It is such an easy (and I definitely don't mean that in a bad way) commission because of the trust we have for each other. They give me a lot of freedom because they know by now the end result will be something they like, however unclear my preliminary sketches may sometimes be!

Have you got a favourite room, or piece of furniture you especially enjoy drawing?
It’s so hard to choose! My favourite room would be a bedroom and the furniture that comes with it. Lately I’ve been trying to draw more from the outside looking in, but drawing nature is not as easy as interiors!

And if you could design your dream home, with no money or space restrictions, what would it look like?
I get very happy looking at old country houses. But I also love beautiful sustainable modern homes with lots of glass and concrete and wood. So maybe a room with an old wooden floor, floor to ceiling windows (with my own piece of land with trees to look at) decorated with classic designs from the mid-century modern, like Eames or Aalto, with their smart, elegant, timeless design.

Markus, my boyfriend, will have to live in it as well of course and luckily our taste in furniture is very similar. I might want more ceramic and wooden decorative objects than him, but that’s why we would of course have a separate studio space where I can put as much art deco as I want. Although now that I think of it, this is actually kind of how we live right now! But sadly without our own piece of land and the old wooden floor.

–––––––––––– / @liannenixon