Interview with contemporary artist Charlotte Posner

Find out how London-based contemporary artist and illustrator Charlotte Posner was inspired to launch her own business by ice cream.

What’s your career background?

My career began when I started work at the age of 13 having been brought up in my family business of fabrics and textiles. I’ve always enjoyed working in retail and working with people.

I had many part time jobs running alongside my studio practice and always found time to create and explore my ideas. My main focus was to make my passion my career so here we are!

Where did the idea for your business venture come from?

One summer I was focusing on fashion illustrations using pen and ink. I took a holiday to Italy and while travelling I passed an ice cream stand showing images of various ice creams.

I instinctively picked five ice creams from the same brand to enable me to create an art piece (of what I now call pop dolls) but at the time I didn’t have a name for them.

I used the head and bodies of the subject matter drawing them into the female figures. I then decided to tweet Walls Ice cream the image and to my surprise they reposted it.

As interest and traffic grew on my website and on social media platforms I was being asked for commissions from followers and major brands reaching out to me such as Nivea, Shiseido and suddenly “Charlotte Posner” was becoming recognised.

How did you move from Idea to actual business?

Having had a successful response from Walls, I decided to try other brands such as Coca Cola, Heinz, Cadburys, Magnum, Marmite and good old Mr Kipling. My work started to be reposted on Twitter and Instagram and my brand evolved. 

What is your brand’s USP?

So you could say my unique selling point was creating a distinctive fun image and collaborating with major brands.

I alter and adapt the context of consumer products for example brands like baked beans don’t usually see their food as hair piece! That’s my unique selling point. I simply take modern day contemporary subject matter and put them into my pop dolls.

Who’s your target audience?

My work appeals to all ages and doesn’t need a language to understand; I want anyone to love my work.

How do you spread the word about what you do?

Social media platforms have allowed me to show my work instantly and express myself as a character to an audience. I post consistently and whilst working I’m always showing the process and the story behind the brand.

What has been the most successful marketing strategy?

Some call it guerrilla marketing and I call it knocking on doors. I walked into Louis Vuitton on Bond Street and gifted my pop doll art to the manger with my business card.

I later received an email from their marketing team asking to collaborate with me. I have now been working with them for the past three years doing art works for their VIP clients. Everything you want is around you! You just have to go get it!

What has been the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome?

Being dyslexic I constantly have “obstacles” that I have to overcome but I always find a creative solution. I realise my strengths and weaknesses; I find it is all about having the right balance and the right people around you to complement what you do.

What are your proudest moments so far?

Getting into the Royal Academy of Art and becoming a full time artist.

Why is work so important to you?

My work is important to me because it enables me to express myself and can make other people happy!

Who inspires you? 

People, places and things. I think it is very important to surround yourself with great people, great places and wonderful things because I believe you become you surroundings. 

How do you balance you business venture with you career and family? 

I have always made time with my family and friends. I consider myself to be very sociable and I’ve never found it hard to have that balance.

What are your three top pieces of advice for someone wanting to do something similar? 

  1. Always be consistent and diverse
  2. Be resilient and pursue what you want
  3. Do what you love and don’t overthink it 

You can find out more about Charlotte on her website.