We speak to Charlotte Clemence and Rebecca Lund, the founders of YardArt, to find out more about their unique pieces for outdoor living
How did you two first meet?
Charlotte: Rebecca (or Bex) and I first met on the mad rush of the school run, and straight away hit it off with having similar interests and passions.
Bex: I went to Charlotte’s for coffee and saw her own amazing artwork, some of which we feature on YardArt UK, and instantly knew they were designs that needed to be seen by a wider audience.
Charlotte: When we first met, Bex at the time was involved in the family resin business, and had just started playing about with resin fluid art, which completely inspired me. I was immediately obsessed with the process and cajoled Bex into working together – to make an art form that was totally different and to express our love of alternative design.
How did this evolve into launching a business?
Charlotte: After seeing how brilliant and robust the resin was – it’s predominantly used for outdoor landscaping – we were convinced we could encase our prints so they could live permanently outdoors, exposed to the elements. The first few months, as with any new concept, were difficult with lots of trial and error; the initial idea to encase went out of the window! However we still loved the concept and realised that expressing your art style in a format which you could take outdoors (YardArt’s panels are completely waterproof, UV resistant, windproof, fade proof and durable) was a unique idea. The development of the printing method and the perfect material was the start of our business journey.
When did you launch YardArt UK and what were your ambitions for the business?
Bex: We started to initially market and sell designs in the autumn of 2019, but the business really kicked off in spring 2020, when it was apparent early on we needed to become a formalised business – and quickly! Interest in what we were offering was gathering pace quickly.
Charlotte: Once we’d achieved the finish and quality that we were happy with, we then had to decide what we wanted to do with it. Things started moving very quickly – then lockdown hit! As with all small and fledgling businesses we thought this would be the end of it, but actually it was only the beginning. All of a sudden people’s gardens became their sanctuary. We’ve all heard of the phrase bringing ‘the outside in’ but in our case ‘inside’was really coming outdoors! People wanted their patios and garden spaces to look as good as their living rooms – it was fantastic timing.
Bex: We love being able to show creative flair as well as an adaptability that helps our stockists and customers directly. We would be lying if we had set out a business plan – we are just rolling with it – while trying to keep ourselves (and maintaining family life) firmly on the ground. It’s been a whirlwind 18 months, and shows no signs of letting up any time soon, which is amazing.
What was the initial response like to your work?
Bex: When people saw it in person – they loved it! But it was very hard via social media to get people’s heads around the concept – art for outdoors that was framed, impossible they said. But what they didn’t realise was the frame was a 3D illusion and incorporated as part of the print, and the art itself was only 5mm thick… That was just mind boggling and still is to some degree, you have to see it to believe it.
Charlotte: We have been approached by galleries, hotels and restaurant and are now even venturing in to the cruise ship market, but what we are most excited about at the moment is the launch of our forthcoming René Gruau collection and our involvement in some amazing exhibitions. We’re proud to say that we’re exhibiting some exclusive Banksy artwork pieces in association with Brandler Galleries at the ‘Moments’ exhibition at Moyse’s Hall Museum, Bury St. Edmunds (23 May-30 September). Our Banksy limited edition panels will be available from both ourselves and the Brandler Galleries.
What inspires the creation of a new piece?
Bex: A lot of what brings a collection to the fore is led by interior trends – what people love inside they also love outside. We receive lots of feedback from our customers and right now our heritage animal range (Countess Catherine, Roaring Lord George and their friends) are proving popular, customers appreciate the surrealist element to them, we’re hoping to add to the collection soon.
We also get asked to do lot of bespoke pieces for our customers and exclusive ranges for our retailers, so the development and inspiration for collections is organic in by our collaborations.
Charlotte: Foliage walls and the idea of creating a jungle in your garden, a place to hide in, are massive right now and so we have created our own version of these – The Oasis range – they are proving immensely popular, which is great. We’ve got lots of ideas bubbling away with regards to further seasonal ideas, but we’re learning to be patient.
How does the bespoke side of the business work?
Bex: By providing a direct one to one service – one account manager per client, customer or retailer, it means that we really get to know their requirements and produce their collections or unique piece swiftly.
Our bespoke work can be as varied as generating a whole new collection on a specific theme, to transferring a treasured family photo into a unique piece, selecting colours and framing to complement the area the panel will be mounted to. The personal ones are great fun to do and we love seeing the end result.
Do you also offer a platform to up-and-coming artists?
Bex: Yes we do, and we love bring new artists into the YardArt Family. We will consider anyone’s portfolio and if we love their work they’re in. Sometimes we have guest artists too; an example of this is Spencer Reinhard who will be having a guest appearance with us this summer. His art is phenomenal! He has a wonderful back story, so watch this space. All I can say is watch ‘American Animals’, a cult film based on a true story of Reinhard and his school mates.