Cecily Vessey’s drawings and prints depicting urban living can not only be found in the gift shops of London’s most iconic attractions, but have also been shipped all over the world to as far away as Australia, Singapore and America. Despite this global success, Cecily remains true to her British roots, with all of her products manufactured right here in the UK.
Living in London and inspired by the sights and sounds of city life, Cecily Vessey’s drawings and prints are stocked in some of the Capital’s biggest tourist attractions.
But far from being the kind of souvenirs that are bought on a whim and soon lie forgotten at the back of a cupboard, or the kind of artwork that carries too big a price tag to take home with you, the items adorned with Cecily’s work are designed to be used and enjoyed.
“From drawing buildings at A-level to centring my university work around cityscapes, I wanted to create a business around my work that wasn’t the traditional artist creating exhibitions,” explains Cecily. “I wanted to create usable products that were adorned with my drawings. I saw it as a way of selling my artwork but in a more affordable, exciting way for the collector. I still and always will continue to create one off drawings and paintings, but I love seeing my creations on mugs, stationery and other affordable items”.
Cecily graduated four years ago and has been working hard ever since to build up a successful retail and wholesale business, as well as working on a variety of freelance projects. But it was when she sold her first painting, at the tender age of just 17, that Cecily first knew for certain that she wanted to be an artist. She explains: “I’d made a pair of oil paintings of Venice that were 8ft tall and 2ft wide each. It was a labour of love so when a lady saw them in an exhibition and offered me some money for one of the pair I couldn’t believe that someone wanted to pay hard earned cash for something I’d made.”
“From then on I always had it in the back of my head that I wanted to create a life around things that I made. I still have the second of the pair hanging in my house as a reminder that people actually sometimes buy the things I make.”
Venice, like London, is a city that has provided much inspiration for Cecily’s work. “As all of my work focuses on building and cityscapes I find trips to different cities or even a wander around London can spark an idea,” she reveals. “I try to visit a new city each year, I’ve just been to Rome for the weekend and am working through my photos at the moment to create a skyline.”
When she’s not hard at work, Cecily admits that the travelling bug takes over, particularly when she takes to two wheels to cycle around London. She says: “In my non-work time I love to bicycle. It’s the perfect speed to travel and see things. I’d love to cycle around the world one day visiting my favourite cities along the way, but I fear I will have to settle with lots of smaller trips instead.”
“When it’s raining and too cold for cycling I love to bake anything with chocolate in it - White Chocolate Oreo Cheese Cake is a favourite at the moment!”
Perhaps unsurprisingly then, when asked what would be the title of her memoir should she ever find the time to write it, Cecily responds: “Buildings, Bicycles and Baking”