Boyd gets artistic

As the new Boyd community centre settles into Southbank, the library, playgroup area and café are being well patronised.

The final piece of the Boyd puzzle is community classes and the first of these was launched last month by one of the world’s most experienced fashion illustrators.

At 82, Louise Baker has forgotten more about fashion illustration than most people will ever know. She’s been working in the industry since 1950 and now offers her considerable knowledge through teaching.

She has been given a studio in the old school building behind the community centre, but, after moving to a smaller space in the soon-to-be-demolished halls, she was no longer able to teach.

Luckily Louise has been given a chance to teach from a room in the redeveloped building and she plans to teach a new generation the art of fashion illustration.

The straight-talking Louise said she feared for her beloved industry and wanted to ensure the right methods were being taught to youngsters.

“I have not seen fashion drawing like this, commercially, in Australia. You won’t find anyone with this much experience, just because I’ve been doing it so long!” Louise said.

The experience is so varied Louise brought her CV along with her to chat with Southbank Local News. It includes graduating from St Martins School of Art, her first job at the national trade press, illustrating for Vogue with Antonio Lopez and teaching for nine years at RMIT.

When asked by Southbank Local News if she was passionate about fashion illustration, Louise’s response was forthright: “You’re darn right I am. I need to keep fashion illustration alive. I am passionate, why shouldn’t I be?”

It’s this passion, mixed with a CV longer than many novels, that Louise believes provide a quality class.

Far from slowing down, Louise is also planning an exhibition on the history of fashion illustration, from the 15th century until the present day, to be available during Melbourne Fashion week in September.

As for the future, Louise is hopeful she can stay in the Boyd school studio as long as possible, saying: “I don’t even care if the bulldozers have pulled half the building down, as long as my studio is still standing, I’ll still be there.”

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