As a first dive into our series ‘In Her Shoes’, we met with Lillie Bernie, a young and promising abstract painter. Born and bred in London, Lillie navigated from modeling to journalism to painting, finding a way to express herself without limitations.
As usually happens in the modeling world, Lillie was scouted at a very young age. When she was just 14 years old, she began her career. ‘It was a great way of supporting myself and at the same time it opened my eyes to new places and new people’ Lillie says. Modeling allowed Lillie to explore different realities and collect new experiences and emotions, things that she would later express in an artistic form.
Four years later, Lillie packed her bags and moved to Leeds to study broadcasting journalism. ‘Once I finished my A-levels, I wanted to pursue a career as a tv-presenter’. While at university, Lillie quickly realized the industry was not suitable for her. ‘The school provided me with a range of new skills such as photography and communication, sharpening my attention towards new means of expressing myself, but the broadcasting career is too much news-oriented and so not the best fit for me’.
Lillie returned to London right after graduation, immersing herself once again into the fashion world. ‘I started working again as a model, but I wanted to do something different, looking for new means of expressing myself’ she says. ‘I had a painting I have done during my A-levels hanging on the wall of my living room. I never thought too much of it until one day my aunt asked me to do one for her’. Lillie who didn’t paint since school, soon found herself completely immersed in the world of colors and brushes, expressing herself on a canvas every day. ‘I shared my finished pieces through social-media and people suddenly started connecting with my work and contact me. I feel that I felt into the art world by accident, but everything happened for the right reason’.
‘In my paintings, I am able to express human emotions, feelings and personal experiences that I am not able to express in any other way. I paint ideas that I have and things that I see. Things and feelings people are scared of talking about.’ Lillie says. After just a few months, she was invited by American gallerist to showcase some of her works at Art Basel Miami, officially starting her career as a painter.
Today, she drifts in and out of two worlds, one of a model and the other of a painter. Both that meet themselves in her social media accounts. Her Instagram evolved in what today is a private gallery allowing her audience to have a deeper knowledge of her art thanks to a closer exposure to it. With no one else dictating her artistic guidelines, Lillie is able to connect with her audience on a more personal and intimate level.
Last year in Dubai, Lillie was part of a live performance organized in collaboration with English artist Schoony, combining abstract painting with realistic sculptures, and reducing, even more, the distance between the artists and the audience.
With social media facilitating Lillie’s exposure, her main focus for the future is to keep growing as an artist. ‘I can’t imagine myself without painting. I moved to my own studio a month ago and I want to create a whole collection of paintings. I also am looking into doing collaborations and showcasing my art globally.’
Thank you Lillie for meeting us and telling your story! You can further check her work from her Instagram account.
Lillie’s three favorite pair of shoes