Journal

T&H in conversation with Artist Lucy Muss

 Lucy wears quilted Kimono jacket with Bess trousers in French blue.

Images by Suki Dhanda
British artist Lucy Muss lives in East London with her three children and film-maker husband Louis.   
Lucy has been wearing T&H for years, earlier this autumn we visited her at home where she was setting up a private view for family, friends and east London clients. 

T&H:  Lucy you're a lady of many talents!  Tell us your story of how you came to make art.

LM: Well I grew up wanting to be a dancer, not an artist at all!  I studied languages (French and Spanish at Cambridge university).  When I was student I did a lot of theatre including the Edinburgh festival. I had a brief stint in journalism writing for the Guardian but was drawn towards film and writing.

I started working with a good friend and we juggled our money jobs with filmmaking for most of our 20s and early 30s. We made our first films, Film Poems, using a super 8 camera, and showed them at the Lux cinema in Hoxton Square. We went onto win a few awards including the Jerwood Script writing prize, for a 10-minute comedy called Rude Awakenings, and later we won a Nokia award for our 15 second film, Happy Anniversary, which was the first film ever put on a phone, which at the time was so exciting. I loved film making and was really interested in documenting the small moments of life and finding beauty in what most people would describe as 'everyday'. Film making I see now has similarities to making a painting.

T&H: You have three children how did you manage the challenges of a career and a young family?

LM: I didn't! Film-making was all consuming and challenging, the juggle became impossible. I made a conscious decision to leave film-making and I started my own company called Coco films, documenting the moments you never see, the mess of real family life. I filmed a family for a year and made a beautiful film but, it was not a viable business plan! I soon fell into Art, by designing and making cards, which I was doing  at home to keep the kids entertained at home. We spent hours at the kitchen table cutting out old maps and making birds. People just loved the cards and with a tax repayment I paid for my first collection and within a year I was stocked in SCP and many other independent London shops.

T&H: You decided to leave London and move to Berlin, why?

LM: We wanted an adventure and we used to visit Berlin for the film biennale every February. At that time I was a journalist film-critic and film-maker, and my husband Louis was also film maker and buying films for Pathé, and Momentum.  We were deciding between Barcelona (we both speak Spanish) but in the end we loved Berlin because it's a melting pot and truly European. We stayed for seven years and it was a heart-breaking decision to leave because we loved the lifestyle and values in Berlin, but in the end we felt we couldn’t really put down the roots we needed, or integrate in an authentic way, we also felt we should be nearer to our family so we moved back to our house in east London.

Lucy wearing T&H at the Cannes Film Festival May 2022 with husband Louis whose film Le Otto Montagne (The Eight Mountains) was in Competition. The film went onto to receive 5 star reviews and won 16 awards, receiving 20 nominations.

T&H: Among the chaos of raising young children and running a small business how did you also manage to start a new career as an interior designer?

LM: It was accidental, I was still making posters and cards for stockists in Berlin, but again I felt the margins were too small and I couldn’t make it work financially. I had always loved interiors and my mother was a big inspiration, so when a friend asked me to help her decorate and design her home, and said she would pay, I jumped at the chance. I did a lot of the work myself pulling up floor boards and painting the walls, foraging around flea markets etc and that started my interior design career. It was a very successful journey and I went from job to job through word of mouth, and I still work in London now as an interior designer. I named my company Cocobird Design, which my husband suggested I change when our, now 8-year-old daughter, was named Coco… but I just couldn’t bear to change it.

T&H: Was it interior design that led you to art?

LM: Yes, when we moved back to the UK I finished a design project for a client that was particularly stressful and I started to realise just how far away I had moved from the creative side, and how the job had become more about managing builders, and budgeting on excel spreadsheets. I started painting, almost as a reaction to stress, and the feeling was incredible, and to see a finished piece that you made, is just an amazing joy. Painting is also like meditation, the body and mind just seem to disappear into it. I love both the direct mental process and the process of hands on creation. I still work in interiors, but no longer in the build or management side. The two worlds feed into one another.

 Lucy wears Gloria Midi dress (tied to front) in mini black/green.

T&H: You're not a trained artist what made you decided to take it so seriously and shut down part of your interior design company?

LM: I was in Verona at my parents' wedding anniversary, and I showed an art-book publisher some of my pieces. When I got back to the UK she called me and was so encouraging, she said 'Lucy you need to believe in yourself, you have talent'.  She gave me my first three very well paid commissions,  and thus the confidence to continue, and to see that this joyous process is something I could actually do everyday.

T&H: Where is your work available?

LM: You can order through my  Lucy Muss Art  I also currently have 8 new works on canvas for sale via Emily Hadley (@emuplops). I am also working with Colours of Arley  (@coloursofArley), and making a special piece to launch their new Wallpaper collection in January. You can order Giclee Prints from me too, which are a good entry point option, as they are like very high-end posters. I also work on private commissions (from £600). I have also been taken on by East End prints who will be stocking 12 pieces through John Lewis, Anthropologie and museum shops worldwide, from next summer. I love the idea that my art will be shared!


Lucy wearing AW23 Kimono jacket in Mega with Marion trousers, navy



Lucy wears Gloria midi dress in Mega pistachio.  

 

 

 


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