We first met Christine at UniqueLA and loved her art. We carry her fabulous cat prints in the shop along with some one-of-a-kind decorated vintage plates and are excited to learn more about the Los Angeles based artist.
Can you introduce yourself?
Of course! My name is Christine De Carvalho, I’m an illustrator and designer living in Southern California.
I studied Textile Design at the Academy of Art in SF. After graduation I moved to Paris to pursue my fashion career working for Haute Couture houses such as John Galliano & Christian Lacroix. I developed textile designs for the Women’s Ready to Wear collections, the runway shows, and the accessory lines.
After living in Paris for 6 years, I moved to Los Angeles and began designing stationery while working freelance as a textile designer. I have spent the last years focusing on running my own businesses. I was a bit exhausted working for other companies and decided that there were so many ideas I never got to pursue because they were my own style and not suitable for any of the companies I was working for at the time.
Starting my own business has been hands down the most satisfying accomplishment to date. I enjoy being able to have full creative control over my art and design!
I feel like there are a lot of similarities between your personal style and your paintings. How would you describe your style?
I would describe my own personal style as a blend between two eras, the 50’s & 60’s. I have been colleting vintage clothing since I was very young. I have always been attracted to vintage silhouettes and textile patterns. I love bright bold splashes of color, whimsical novelty prints, Kate Spade glitter cat eyeglasses, fringe earrings, and Bardot hair. There is a similarity between my paintings and my style, for sure!
What made you decide to start your second line, Darling Lola, after Dirty Lola?
Dirty Lola was really created on a whim, my first painting was Saint Dolly, and when I put her on Instagram, she just exploded, really going viral. I never really planned on illustrating all my favorite musicians as Saints, since it was something I had seen people do before, but in a really basic way. So, I actually struggled with this idea, because I didn’t want to feel pigeon holed into one style. So, that is when I decided to make the good sister to Dirty Lola, being Darling Lola. I wanted this brand to be sweeter, less rock n’ roll, more relatable to different customers. I wanted Darling Lola to really portray my love of animals, most specifically cats!
When you create a new illustration, do you know which shop it will go in before you make it, or do you decide after you're done?
Generally yes. I do have Cat Illustrations in Dirty Lola as well, but they are a bit more Metal/Rock N’ Roll. Basically if anything can be considered “Fan art” it’s Dirty Lola.
Your cat portraits have so much personality, are they based off real people?
Aww thank you! They are not based off of anyone in particular. I have always loved anthropomorphizing animals, and I just paint accessories I would actually like to wear in most of my illustrations.
You must have cats yourself, right? Can you tell us a little about them?
Yes of course! Hermione is our old grumpy house cat. She is a grey tabby, and she dislikes anyone who isn’t my boyfriend. She is not the friendliest of cats, but her character is unique which makes her special in her own way.
Oliver is 1 year old, and we first spotted him with his litter outside our apartment building. The kittens were 4 months old, and living in a bush and hiding in a dirt hole in the ground. My boyfriend and I rescued the entire litter. It took months for us to domesticate them, since they were so feral. All of his sisters got adopted out to wonderful homes! There was just something about Oliver that I couldn’t part with, once domesticated he was so loving and sweet, I knew I had to keep him. He is what we call a “Hemmingway Cat”, meaning he is polydactyl. He has 8 toes on one paw, and 7 on the other, he is a true gem, and I am so happy he came into my life!
You must be so busy with your two lines and everything else you do. Do you have any upcoming projects you're excited about?
Currently, I am insanely busy, which is a great thing! I have a lot of upcoming projects that are so amazing! My greeting cards will be hitting Trader Joe’s stores soon, which I am thrilled about.
I am working on developing a collection of scarves with my illustrations, which should be out by next year. Also, I am building up my art-licensing portfolio, which is really exciting. There’s a bunch of other great projects in the works, but they are top secret for the moment, but I can’t wait to share them with everyone soon!