Australian-born London-based wallpaper designer, Angela Groundwater, creates hand-drawn, narrative and concept-based wallpapers and specialises in bespoke design.

She is heavily inspired by brutalist architecture and concrete utopias. Angela grew up in quiet Melbourne 1970s suburbia, in a family haunted by the supernatural. She would digest the world by meticulously drawing everything she saw or by withdrawing into the grey tones of a tiny black and white TV. Films about foreign places with cold concrete back drops, set in the near past or on distant stars in the far-off future, spoke to her fascination with alien landscapes and inspired her dystopian ideals.

By her teens, Angela escaped into a colourful Melbourne nightlife – eventually finding herself in London where, surrounded by her early love of concrete and crowds, she was motivated to find a voice for her inspirations. From 1996 to 1999, Angela studied a BVA in Animation at Griffith University in Queensland.

After graduating, Angela’s love of grey chaos had her back in London where, for some 10 years, she found herself in film post production. Throughout her film career, Angela worked on films from Harry Potter and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, to V for Vendetta and perhaps one too many films about talking dogs.

Children gave Angela the opportunity to break free from the long hours of the film circuit and being with them gave her (a little) time to inject with meaningful activities. She volunteered in a care home for the elderly, where her admiration for the marginalised older members of society blossomed as she chattered and sketched while her children played at the smiling residents’ feet.

Wanting to articulate visually her ideas but dissatisfied with computer as medium she returned to the tactile nature of pencil. To explore both the mechanism and subject further, Angela went to study with artist Eleanor Crook. Meanwhile the artist Lady Ray commissioned Angela to create a wallpaper for a building she was designing. Wallpaper combined all of Angela’s skills: her knowledge of pattern making – learnt from texture creating for feature films – detailed drawing, and her knack and love of storytelling.

Angela soon realised that wallpaper was the perfect vehicle – a narrative hidden in pattern. She could subvert her obsessions, fears, and fascinations: aliens, brutalist architecture, old age, religion, insects… To liberate all the things she found most beautiful and confronting.

Angela loved the domesticity and everydayness of wallpaper – the idea that it should be lived with, challenging the viewers’ ideas while telling stories with grace, modesty, and respect, was subtle and perfect.

Since 2012, Angela has been drawing and designing wallpaper in East London. Along with her main lines, she regularly works on carefully selected commissions.


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