Tuesday, 17 June 2014

The Colour in the Room {Qi Change- Lou Endicott}

Lou's life changed at 3am in a hotel room in Bangkok. It was the last night of a three month exploration of Europe, and jet lag was rearing its ugly head. Frustrated, she started thinking about what she would do with her life when she got home when an image from 'Lonely Planet' popped into her head. She began googling jobs, looking up the types of creatives required, visualising an office full of colour, a creative space, and researching the qualifications she would need to do this kind of work. "At seven o'clock in the morning I woke my partner, I said 'Wake up, wake up, I'm going to go and study!' and we jumped up and down on the bed, because he knew how sad I had been for so long."
Lou Endicott image

I first met Lou in 2011 when we were both directing pieces for 'Short & Sweet- Melbourne', a short play festival held to showcase and unite writers, directors and performers. The first time I spoke to her was at the initial audition session. She was the colour in the room; vibrant, both in dress and energy, she initiated conversation with a very shy me and within minutes we had named a host of Brisbane people as mutual acquaintances.

set free illustration etsy lou endicott one two carabou

Lou always knew she wanted to do something creative. Her father was an actor and she loved exploring the sets he performed on and "being in an imagined world". She studied performance at university and followed her degree with a Diploma of Education and Drama. For a while she worked as a Drama teacher but felt that wasn't where she was meant to be. A move to Melbourne, prompted by a need to reinvent herself as an actor, allowed her more scope for performance work; but in 2012 she found herself working in a Primary school as a performing arts teacher. It was "a period of being quite down, very stressed."

pan lou endicott red bubble tshirt

Lou decided to take a term off and go to Europe and the UK (for the first time) for three months to "reset everything, go back to ground zero." Rather that the usual barrage of holiday photos on Facebook, Lou posted gorgeous little collages of photos with captions, which, over time, began to incorporate illustrations she had done "There was this compulsion to capture, though my eye and through my pen, through my hand."

Following the epiphany in Bangkok, within forty eight hours of landing back in Melbourne, she had told work she wouldn't be renewing her contract and within a week had enrolled in a Diploma of Graphic Design. After drawing for enjoyment for years, a natural aptitude and passion for illustration was realised when studying it as a subject and her new path became clear.
elf illustration lou endicott forest etsy one two carabou

When I saw Lou for the first time since beginning her course, about two thirds of the way through, she looked different, glowing and happy. I had only ever known her as a positive person but this light was different, it rendered her ageless and transformed.

pixie on train lou endicott etsy illustration

Lou now works as a freelance illustrator and designer. Each morning she gets dressed and puts on shoes before setting up in her home-office nook for the day - the shoes help her focus and remind her that she is at work (a good tip). Much of her work is via word of mouth and she offers custom designs of posters for performances and events through her Etsy store. Building a name and a business is a slow process so she still picks up performance work when she can and teaches childrens' drama classes on weekends to pay the bills. The difference is that she now wakes up excited about what she faces in her day and has the ability to drive projects that she is passionate about.

pierrot the sad clown tote red bubble lou endicott

There was a moment during our meeting that has really sat with me. I had to take a phone call briefly and while I was talking, instead of playing on her phone (like the rest of us do), Lou took out a sketchpad and started drawing the sweetest face from her imagination. For me, that was the image of a contented soul.
slow down loris throw pillow red bubble

All photos and artwork in this post are owned and provided by Lou Endicott. You can buy her beautiful illustrations from her Etsy Store and she has wearable/usable art (t-shirts, iPhone cases, throw pillows, totes) available from Red Bubble.

This post was not sponsored. I love Lou's work and her approach to life and I wanted to share it with you. You may recognise her style from my blog header too.

This is the first in a series of posts I hope to write about people who have chosen a Qi Change in their life. If you (or someone you know) have chosen a way of life that is truer to self and would like to share your story then please get in touch.

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