A few words with Bigstock + printed winner claire montgomery

A few weeks ago we announced our Easter-themed competition with printed.com, hosted on Pinterest. Now that Easter's past, we're delighted to announce our winner of 300 Bigstock credits: Claire Montgomery. Claire is a Brighton-based illustrator and designer specializing in hand crafted, often surreal collage illustrations. She likes to combine traditional paper craft processes with unusual imagery and digital enhancements to create a modern twist. We decided to find a bit more about Claire, her work and inspirations. Check out the interview below. Claire's Winning Entry:

First off, congrats on making it to the top of our list! What first inspired you to become an illustrator and designer?

From an early age I would spend hours drawing, cutting things up and you'd often find me under a heap of coloured card and glitter (and you probably still would). Art was probably the only subject at school I enjoyed, after I was told I had a talent from my teachers it motivated me to work hard and try to achieve what I wanted.

What is the most amount of exposure you have had as a designer?

In July last year I exhibited at New Designers Exhibition in London, it had over 7,500 visitors. It was a great experience, as was the exposure. My work will be exhibited in two artists open houses in the prestigious Brighton Festival in May 2012, and recently my work has also been accepted into the Brighton Museum Shop, which I am proud to be part of!

A few words with Bigstock + Printed Winner Claire Montgomery

What do you consider as your biggest inspiration?

Inspiration for my work can be anything from my surroundings- including the seaside, rummaging through the shops in Brighton or even my cat. I often find inspiration on the Print and Pattern blog, as well as the site 'Misprinted Type'. In terms of artists I find the Dada movement inspirational, particularly Hannah Hoch's work which was revolutionary at the time. More modern inspiration includes Vault 49's digital collages, and Chrissie Macdonald's 3D paper collages which have been used in the V&A and Orange adverts.

3_CM-Two-Bears-Making-Sandwiches A Few Words With Bigstock+Printed Winner Claire Montgomery

What's the best piece of advice you got from a teacher when you were studying design?

Always push yourself out of your comfort zone to achieve things you never thought you could.

We have to ask, what's your favorite Bigstock image?

Anything with cats is always good- this photo of a sleeping cat is particularly cute!

If you had the chance to showcase your work anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Probably New York City because of its reputation in the art industry and the amount of people that would see it! Oh and I'd get a trip to New York which would be very exciting!

A Few Words With Bigstock+Printed Winner Claire Montgomery

A Few Words With Bigstock+Printed Winner Claire Montgomery

If you could live in anyone's era, past or present, who would it be?

From an art point of view maybe Andy Warhol to find out what it would of been like to be the most famous artist in the world at the time and create work that everyone has an opinion on and sells for millions! From a business point of view the British business man Philip Green because he owns Topshop, Miss Selfridge among others, that I could design things for, decide what they sell, create over the top window displays and go on a massive shopping spree! Failing them two I would just like to be my cat and sleep, eat and get looked after all day!

Summarize the style of your work in 3 words?

Unique, surreal & cute!

To see more of Claire's work at CM Design, check out her website. You can also follow Claire on Twitter - @ClaireM_Design