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Small Business Feature: Eli Hayter

Posted on June 18 2021

Small Business Feature: Eli Hayter

Our fifth instalment of Small Business Feature is here! To continue celebrating creativity let us introduce you to Eli Hayter! 

⭐️ We love your work, but would love to know more about you. Tell us all there is to know about Eli Hayter, and your business, Eli Illustrates?

Hi I'm Eli Hayter, I run Eli illustrates. After graduating in illustration I set up my own Etsy shop where I sell prints, badges, stickers and other works of my illustrations. I focus on the human form (especially portraits) and showing the beauty and art in people. I draw mostly queer people, as a queer person myself, I understand the importance of being seen as me, and not the stereotypes. I paint a lot if self portraits as it's my way of grounding myself, and as an act of self love. I suffer from dissociation as well as depersonalisation and dysphoria and so self portraits are my may of re-introducing myself.

⭐️ What is something you know now, that you wish you knew in the past?

Your values and your unique self is what makes your art stand out. You get taught "rules" but in reality, art is whatever and however you want. Art is for the poor, for the queer and for the black as well as just the rich white men. Art should be accessible to all and anything less isn't art.

⭐️ If you could have a lifetime supply of any Zap! Product, which would it be and why?

Pin badges! As a jewellery maker as well as an illustrator I love to combine my art with the act of wearing my creations. People wear badges to show different aspects of their personality and beliefs, and its humbling for my artwork to be worn proudly by someone.

⭐️ What is the biggest curveball you have had to overcome since starting your business?

Obviously Covid has been a massive curveball, but actually, the thing that altered my business the most was the realisation that at some point I stopped making art for myself. I made art for likes, for money and for validation. All my art is a piece of my soul and to trade that for meaningless likes didn't sit right. I had to take a step back and make art for myself again. Art that helps, educates, and makes others feel seen. I saw the difference between seeking validation and simply being valued. And my artwork and shop products changed as a result of this.

⭐️ What is your biggest motivation?

I never force myself to do art. If I did, it would become a chore; instead I wait until I feel the need to creative and act on it. Even if I take a break, I soon feel the urge to pick up a pencil again. It's like my brains way of processing my thoughts and what I've seen and done.

⭐️ What is your current favourite Netflix/tv show and what’s your go-to snack for watching?

I just finished watching "Feel Good". It's amazing. Comedies with raw and real story lines are my favourite. And of course watched whilst eating ice-cream!

⭐️ What inspires your illustrations?

The world and people around me. I just show the mundane and the everyday, but through my eyes. It's the emotion I see within these things that makes me want to draw it.

⭐️ What things are most important to you when running your business?

That it aligns with my values. To be kind and accessible, makes people feel seen, and that it doesn't add any more negativity to the world.

⭐️ How did you first start selling your work?

I first sold my work at art fayres through uni. We'd share tables and I'd have a couple items on there. Things rarely sold at the beginning but it was amazing to see people's reaction to my work and it was a big step to overcoming imposter syndrome.

⭐️ If you had one superpower what would it be?

Invisibility. For great prank reasons obviously, but also so I could just be an observer without always having to be observed.

⭐️ What’s your favourite piece of work/collection you have created?

"Non Binary" this piece is a self portrait I did to celebrate my questioning, acceptance and then pride in being nonbinary. 

⭐️ Where can we purchase your work? 

My Etsy shopwebsite or Instagram

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