A Moment with…Jo Ratcliffe
for an afternoon, we stepped into the dreamy, futuristic (and increasingly busy) world of British illustrator Jo Ratcliffe, who’s been commissioned by several big-name fashion designers, V magazine and Vogue Nippon and, recently, even Lady Gaga…
Jo Ratcliffe, photographed at her Hackney workspace, wears a J.Crew Collection cashmere sweatshirt in navy.

Hometown and current home
Born in Berkshire, England. Currently in East London.

Illustrator, designer and animation director.
Tell us a bit about your background.
My training was for fine art at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. Everything else I’ve learned since leaving and along the way is self-taught. Sure, computers were invented back then, but no one knew we’d all be up to our necks in them by now.

How did your first big project happen?
One of my most memorable early projects was drawing images for an interview with [American comic book writer] Stan Lee. I’d worked as a receptionist for a section of Hasbro and had drawn Spider-Man a few times from the comics, which arrived in the post I was sorting. So when I was asked, I had this stock of drawings to publish.

My first big, scary job was drawing on set while Nick Knight shot the 10-year anniversary of Dazed.

What do you love most about living in London?
I fall in and out of love with London. Walking with my dog is the best bit, so if I can get to the Marshes or one of the beautiful parks, then it’s a good day!
Your studio is in Hackney—tell us a bit about the neighborhood.
1. The nice thing about my neighborhood is that most things you’d need as a creative are at your doorstep. I love the new Photographers’ Gallery in Soho.
2. Just around the corner from my studio is Artwords. They’ve got the best selection of books and magazines.
3. Towpath on the canal does great cheese on toast with a kind of honey marmalade.
4. Violet does the best cakes and pastries.
5. Little Georgia is around the corner and they do a beetroot salad which I have each time I go.

Is there a fellow artist whose work you admire?
I love the work of my friend Darren Almond. He’s based in London but travels the world taking photos. Most of the people are dotted around the world—I’m interested in the people who are experimenting with animation and blurring the line between still and moving image. I also like the work of Jesse Kanda who is an animator, director and designer based in London.

Best thing about being a creative person in London?
The weather makes you more creative when it’s constantly crap. I think it’s why so much great stuff comes from such a tiny island.

Photography by Bryan Derballa.

For more of Jo’s work, explore here. (You’ll also spot more of her work in Lady Gaga’s upcoming music video, “Applause.”) To shop Jo’s Collection cashmere sweater, click here.

Our London flagship at Regent Street opens November 8th. For more on our opening in London, click here.
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