Polaroid Film Series: Lois O’Hara
In another instalment of our Polaroid photograph series, we asked Lois O’Hara, superstar artist and designer to get snapping her favourite daily moments
By Lois O’Hara
Artist and designer Lois O’Hara works on some giant public art projects but she says her secret is about appreciating the smaller things. The moments that happen in between the bigger things. We delve into Lois’s personal life and usual working day, alongside her cat Reggie…
I truly believe that we should all learn to lead with gratitude. It is the most powerful tool for attracting even better things into your life. I can usually find inspiration easily each day because I appreciate the smaller things, whether that’s watching the waves crash to the shore, making a really great cup of tea or telling a friend how much they mean to me. Generally, in the mornings, the first thing I do when I wake up is stretch. I try to not look at my phone straight away and wait at least 20 minutes before scrolling through my notifications.
This simple change of routine in the mornings has transformed my days. I am now starting to remember my dreams which gives me a moment to reflect on my thoughts so I can start my day peacefully. After stretching and getting ready, it’s pretty busy from then on. I’m quite naturally driven and motivated which is why I always knew I wanted to work for myself. I’ve been self-employed now for just over two years but am proud to say that I’ve worked on some pretty big projects. If I’m not attending meetings, I’m sending emails and if I’m not on a site visit, I’m designing. In between these moments I like to stop and take a moment to reflect. I’ll often go on a beach walk as the movement of the sea and colours of sunsets both really inspire my creative practice. I have endless sunset photos on my phone. I like to colour pick certain tones from these photographs and then use them in my work. Life is meant to be enjoyed and my family has always called me a dreamer.
It is important that I am warm and comfortable when I am designing, whether at home, at my co-working space or in a coffee shop. Reggie, my cat, means a lot to me and he thinks he is helping me out when he walks across my keyboard! Lots of coffee is consumed throughout the day; I am a caffeine addict. I always say there is nothing that coffee won’t fix.
My favourite kind of clothing style is athleisure. I love comfy tracksuits, sporty leggings, hoodies and trainers. I’m quite active and love to go swimming and to the gym but I like to stay comfy when I’m working at my laptop all day or if I’m running errands. My favourite sweatshirt is this grey marl Adanola one as it is so comfy and soft!
If I have any errands to run or meetings to attend, I like to get these out of the way at the beginning of the day because I tend to concentrate more on my design work in the late afternoon and evening. Sometimes I work late at night because it’s very peaceful. I feel very lucky to have my car so I can drive around easily – I’m always on the go.
I absolutely love my hometown, Brighton. You will always see something interesting along the seafront or in The Lanes. It is an inspirational city but because it’s so diverse, it’s the perfect place to zone out or loosen up a little. There’s a group of elderly swimmers who all go for a sea swim at something like 5am in the morning once a week which is pretty crazy. I feel very lucky to live by the sea as I get to go on beach walks if I have either too many ideas or a mental block. Brighton is great for sightseeing as it’s so quirky. I always love to see my own public artwork when I’m out but I also see what I would do differently now!
Around my room, I have my custom products on display because I love the idea of combining sport and art. Basketballs and tennis rackets can also be pieces of art. I also have the very first trophy that I received on display in my room – it was for the London Design Awards, as this motivates me to keep up the hard work. It means so much to me.
My custom basketball was made in collaboration with Artdpt.co. We sold them to raise funds for a basketball court transformation project. They were a huge success and we sold lots. Like most things, why can’t sports products and accessories be colourful? I have this on display in my room as the colours work well with my interior scheme.
The custom Wilson rackets mean a lot to me as Wilson sponsored me on my project in Bradford which involved me transforming some outdoor tennis courts. We were planning to do an open day on them but ended up doing a giveaway on Instagram so one lucky winner could get their hands on one. They take pride of place on my shelves.
I love trainers and my collection is getting a bit out of hand. I collect them like pieces of art! I’m not fussed about having the latest pair, I prefer going for a design that I like.
Every morning I make sure I take some time to stretch. I think it’s a really great way to start your day, particularly if you spend most of your day hunched over your laptop. I’m not keen on photographs of myself, I’m a bit of a Banksy.