Meet Mimi Dickson, Illustrator, London
We’ve been incredibly proud to collaborate with illustrator Mimi Dickson. Her intricate and beautiful collages have taken the internet by storm. The greetings cards and prints of tablescapes, often nostalgic decors of British breakfast or inspired by writers such as William Morris and Virginia Woolf have a soul. This is why we commissioned her to create a unique illustration that would encapsulate the Flâneur flair.
Could you tell us three things about you?
I am a student nurse and am completely fascinated by our bodies, minds, sickness and health. Illustration is the perfect antidote to three hour lectures on cell biology!
In rural Scotland where I grew up, we had two donkeys called Happy and Bonnie (from ‘happy birthday’ and ‘bonne anniversaire’) who would roam the garden. They love to be fed spearmint polos.
If I hadn’t gone into nursing and illustrating, I’d like to have been a detective or a war correspondent.
What is the story behind your collages?
Life has felt a little unsettled over the last ten years or so, so I really cherish feeling at home. It’s something that we all instinctively seek. I wanted to celebrate the unconventional or unremarkable ways that we do so as individuals. With the company you keep or the food that you eat, a sense of belonging and calm can often be found at the kitchen table.
Do you remember the first one you did?
Yes! I spent the majority of the lockdowns on my own in London and although I was luckily content. The thing I missed more than anything was drinking good coffee with good friends. One of my very good friends was with in-laws for longer than she’d imagined, so I wanted to remind her of the breakfasts we’d enjoy together again soon.
Can you tell us more about the process?
It varies a little depending on whether the work is a private commission, branding or an original that I’m just creating for fun. I feel more pressure with the first two, so the process is much more diligent and planned! It usually begins with a discussion of ideas, which can of course vary from client to client as some have a clear image of what they want, whereas others may ask me to take full creative direction. Sometimes I will work from photos, or only a description. I’m constantly humbled by peoples’ generosity in sharing glimpses of their lives and trusting me to recreate moments that mean so much to them. It’s been so encouraging to look back on the first few I did to see how my work and style has developed.
Is there something about your work that people might not know about?
My work is small and tactile. I never create pieces that are larger than A5, as the miniature aspect plays into the overall identity and character of what I create. I don’t know what it is about miniature things that make us feel so maternal! I spent much of my childhood building fairy houses in trees and thinking of inventive ways to fill my dolls house, which has definitely influenced my work. My illustrations are also collages; it can be hard to convey their three-dimensional appearance via the squares of instagram but each element is drawn, painted and cut out before being positioned in place as part of the overall scene.
What do these table settings remind you of?
They remind me of glorious pre-covid days, of dining together with friends and family, eating, drinking, dancing and enjoying togetherness with fervour! Thank goodness these days have come back around, life was a lot less colourful without them.
What does the word “Flâneur” mean to you?
To enjoy life as it comes to you, to feel deeply, to be affected by art, to love loudly, and to admire the beauty of things around you without purposefully seeking them out. Flâneur to me means unaffected confidence, creativity, and nonchalance towards anything that could possibly get you down.
What are your tips for the perfect table setting?
Keep character and audience in mind; it is equally as important to set a table for one or two as it is for ten. It is the overall curation and attention to detail that makes a setting memorable. A well-set table should invite you to sit down, to enjoy the company of others or equally yourself, to notice, to listen intently, and speak with passion.
Any wishes for 2022?
To continue to love what I do. I recognise how lucky I am that the work I do is also what I look forward to most when I wake each morning. There are of course hours or whole days when I feel deflated or defeated, but I hope for continuing determination to carry on in spite of these, to produce work that I am proud of, that I hope continues to bring joy to others.