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Introducing the wonderful, Lucky Pablo!

We’ve been on the lookout for interesting and exciting creatives to work with in 2021, and with the use of social media, we came across the wonderful duo that are Lucky Pablo


We teamed up with Lucky Pablo to create a limited run of Lucky Pablo x Awesome Merchandise tote bags to be used as promotional material. We thought throughout this process it would be great to get to know them both and to introduce them to our great audience. 



Where are you from?


We are Ally Standing & Jane Anderson, a.k.a Lucky Pablo, a creative duo based in Birmingham, UK. We currently live and work in the Jewellery Quarter.


What’s your background? 


We’re both University lecturers – Jane lectures in Graphic Communication, and Ally in Contextual Studies  – and we work at Birmingham City University’s School of Visual Communication

The two of us come from a fine art background – that’s what we both studied at university, but now have various different strands to our practices. As well as our teaching and Lucky Pablo, Jane’s practice spans over a wide spectrum, including graphic design, photography, illustration, and interdisciplinary design – which involves a fascination with fungi, foraging, and bio-design. Ally is into psycho-geography – playful urban exploration – and likes to spend time roaming and photographing the city. So between us, we definitely have some wide-ranging and somewhat niche interests!


What inspired you to start your own business & when did you start it? 


We started Lucky Pablo back at the start of the first COVID lockdown in March 2020. The events which were unfolding around us at the time were troubling to say the least, and we needed something to take our mind off things. A few nights spent solidly doodling compositions made up of simple shapes and forms soon turned into something of an obsession for us, and not long after that Lucky Pablo was born. Since then, we’ve been trying to spread some visual joy through our playful and colourful designs.

 We like to take lots of walks in the city and particularly on the canals, as this really inspires us. It was on one of these walks, having not long started the project, that we saw the name PABLO painted large on the side of a building. The name stuck out to us, not only because of the famous modernist painter Picasso, but also because Spanish language and culture in general is one of Ally’s biggest loves. Once we established this new moniker to work under, the project started to take off for us.


What did you do before? 


We’ve already touched upon this, but we’ve got lots of different strings to our proverbial bows, and since meeting, we’ve collaborated on a lot of creative projects. Previously we’ve worked together on a number of projects, including public art commissions, guided urban typography tours, workshops, custom lettering, and illustrations of various kinds. Some couples might not like the sound of living, working, and creating together… but we really thrive off each other’s creativity and passion for all areas of our life. 




How have you developed your own style and what would you say it was?  


Our Lucky Pablo illustrations take inspiration from a number of places. As mentioned previously, we both come from a fine art background, and therefore draw influence from the modernist compositions of artists such as Joan Miró, Pablo Picasso, and Henri Matisse. Our love for design also comes into our work; it’s clear that grid systems, page furniture, and graphic symbols all play a part.

One of the biggest inspirations for us lies within folk art from various places around the world, not least in ancient zoomorphic vessels – which are essentially jugs and pots shaped like animals. These curious relics are so charming, and we intentionally try to capture some of that personality whenever we draw an animal, or as we like to call them, a ‘snoot’!

 As for developing our specific style, the process itself has been quite significant. When we are drawing, we tend to look at each other’s doodles for inspiration, often exclaiming ‘Ooh, that’s a nice shape! Can I steal it?’. Through this process of repetition and borrowing of shapes, the Lucky Pablo style started to develop, and continues to do so to this day.


What’s your favourite project that you’ve worked on to present? 


It’s really hard to say, as we’ve loved everything we’ve done so far as part of this project! We’ve been fortunate enough to be able to connect and collaborate with several people since starting Lucky Pablo, and this is probably what we’ve enjoyed most. 

 Aside from the collaboration, it’s been really exciting to allow the project to go in directions other than just illustration. As well as our drawings, we also make jesmonite pieces such as coasters, centrepieces, and trinket trays. We’ve done several T shirt campaigns, and we were lucky last year to win an international competition to have one of our designs made into a handmade woven throw. Recently we had some enamel mugs made (by the wonderful folk at Awesome no less!) – it’s just really fun to see our work jumping off the page and into a 3D context. 


How do you plan out your projects? 


In all honesty, we don’t plan our work! When we initially began the doodles which started this project – and still to this day – it was important not to make a plan. We found that removing that pressure and allowing the drawing to flow was relaxing in terms of the process, and beneficial to the final outcome. 

Of course, we are more strategic with other parts of the project, such as our collaborations. Our planning thus far has really consisted in us chatting, mind-mapping, and turning pipe dreams into a reality! 




How have you found the past year in terms of creativity? 


The past year hasn’t been easy for anyone; all of our lives have been turned upside-down to some extent. However, we do consider ourselves very lucky to have been able to work from home during the lockdowns. 

The upheaval and changes of the past year seemed, if anything, to make us even more creative. Our whole project is something which came directly out of the pandemic, and which became a real coping mechanism – it will always have that connection for us.

There has been a real outpouring of creativity from a lot of people during the past year, which has often historically been the case in times of crisis. Not only the pandemic, but also other seismic events – such as the murder of George Floyd, and signs of ensuing climatic disaster – have really marked the last year, and have represented a call to action for creative folk all over the world. It seems many people have, in the past year, started to approach their practice with a more outward-facing, sharing, and collaborative attitude. 


 If you could work with anyone, or work anywhere in the world, where would it be? 


To be honest, and despite it sounding cheesy, we are so happy working with each other, on projects like Lucky Pablo, and in our teaching practice. However, we did recently watch some documentaries about Pixar Animation Studios, and that honestly looks like the best place in the world to work! Is it too late to re-train as animators…!?


Why do you think it’s important to encourage mindfulness and what do you guys do to portray that in your work? 


Before this last year we both might have disregarded the idea of mindfulness, but since starting this project we have realised its importance. The meditative process of creating compositions from various forms and shapes is something we find incredibly soothing, and is something we return to time and again. As well as being calming for us to make, we want our work to be a visual pick-me-up for anyone who looks at it. We try to include simple and pleasing motifs which our audience can relate to and which should hopefully make them smile. 


What is Awesome to you? 


Awesome Merchandise is… awesome! We’ve always admired what you do. You’ve supported us with one of our previous projects; just one of the amazing things you did as part of Birmingham Design Festival. You’re a company which always champions independent artists and designers, and that means a lot to us. Not only that, but your products are top-notch quality and always produced with the friendliest service there is.


We’re super grateful that we had the opportunity to catch up with Lucky Pablo! We can’t wait to see what they have in store for 2021. Follow them on Instagram here!

In the meantime, keep an eye on your orders, you never know what goodies might come along with it…


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