Made in Surrey: WOOD&HAM ‘negative space’ illustrations
PUBLISHED: 18:02 21 September 2020 | UPDATED: 18:13 21 September 2020
Andy Newbold Photography
This Leatherhead couple decided to put a creative spin on lockdown by supporting local businesses through their art
When Lewis Woodham and Imogen Harry starting seeing the doors of their favourite local haunts close due to the coronavirus pandemic, they decided to use their illustration business to bring a little comfort to the struggling independents in their time of need.
In late 2019 the engaged couple, from Leatherhead, started WOOD&HAM, which through Lewis’ quirky sketches and Imogen’s passion for content design, celebrates the art of subtle, yet impactful, design. Initially they produced Christmas cards to sell to family and friends but Lewis, whose day job is in sports marketing, would regularly stop to sketch his and Imogen’s favourite places nearby.
When lockdown hit, they took to Instagram to share some of his drawings. “We both grew up in villages and that village community mentality was very much how we were brought up,” says Lewis. “It’s been sad over the years to see the high street in such decline and so we’ve always done what we can to support our local shops. Then coronavirus came and we just felt it was important to show that people were still thinking of them.”
The couple, who both work and met at the National Tennis Centre, tagged the businesses in their posts using the hashtag now we’re getting commissions from shops across the county and so it’s almost become about the success stories of COVID-19.”
Examples include Mad Lilies in Banstead, which has put their illustration on the cards which go out with their flower deliveries and Fego, also in Banstead, which asked Lewis to add balloons to their shopfront illustration when they reopened for takeaways and deliveries.
The illustrations aren’t just limited to buildings, from Disney characters to Land Rover Defenders, flowers and basketball players, you’ll find all manner of sketches on the Wood&Ham feed but all have a very distinct style – lots of white – or negative – space.
“I think negative space is so powerful. Often you’ll see my art and may think ‘why hasn’t he made it fill the page’ – but it’s not about that, where I place it on the page is part of the art,” explains Lewis. “The Scandinavians celebrate negative space so well, it’s almost part of their mantra, so you’ll see me using (or not using) space to emphasise my drawings in various ways across my collections.”