As the driving creative force behind LUXOTIC, Edward Li's career in textile design is as vibrant and colourful as his signature patterns. Having worked with the some of the biggest names in retail - both nationally, and internationally - he founded LUXOTIC in 2016 as a conduit for creative freedom and expression, allowing his designs to flow direct from his studio into customers' homes with minimal intervention. As Creative Director, he works with a team of trusted designers to help bring their visions to fruition - the result is the bold aesthetic of LUXOTIC: recognisable and unique.
Q: Describe your style in three words.
A: Luscious, characterful, exquisite.
Q: What mediums do you like to work in?
A: Watercolour & acryllic paints. I have always loved painting.
Q: Were you always creative? What are your earliest memories related to design or art?
A: Yes, I have always been a creative. I remember in Kindergarten when I was around 5, we were all asked to draw fruits. While I was doing my drawing, I became aware that everyone was standing around me, watching me draw. All my life I have been interested in drawing and designing - and people have been interested in what I draw and design. But my parents knew that becoming a fine artist was a perilous journey. Nevertheless, I was tutored by some of the finest artists to help improve my skills - but on the agreement that I would also study business. That's why I did a degree in Finance and International Business, and this definitely affected my trajectory as a creative. It made me much more grounded in the commercials of art and design - to understand the purpose of what I'm doing: who is it for? Where is it going? How will it be used? These are not questions "true" artists ever ask themselves, but it's how I design and create.
Q: Favourite places to visit for creative inspiration?
A: Europe - especially Paris and London. They're so eclectic! I get inspiration from visiting the vintage shops and markets there - you can find some beautiful antique prints and fabrics. We reference these in a number of our designs; we like to take heritage motifs and breathe new life into them.
Q: What do you find the most challenging about being a designer?
A: The constant battle between commerciality and creativity. You have to be flexible, and not too proud. Pride can be good; it can give you confidence and encourage you - but on the other hand, it can be very destructive. It's like I tell my design team: if it's not working, you have to let it go. If it's not selling, you have to let it go. Move on - don't get hung up on it.
Q: What are some of your career highlights; what are you most proud of achieving?
A: Three highlights definitely stand out. The first was opening my first studio in Sydney in 1990 - as an immigrant. I spoke next to no English, and it was very hard at first, but also a very happy time. The second was in 1999, when I was introduced to the international market through KAS, designing for huge retailers in America and Europe. The third came three years ago, when we launched LUXOTIC in Harvey Norman - this was real validation that my design and my direction works and has value.
Q: When you're not in the studio, where can we find you?
A: Travelling! I think it's so important to experience the world. Not just as a creative but as a human being.
Q: What's next for you? What are you working on?
A: Building the brand, and widening the range! We have some really great ideas for new product ranges, styles and designs. Watch this space!
Q: Any advice for those wanting to pursue a career in art or design?
A: Prepare yourself. Both mentally, and financially. And be flexible. Don't be so focused on a goal that you ignore opportunities along the way.
Q: Finally, what's your favourite LUXOTIC product from the current range?
A: PARISA! I love this design. We based it on 500-year-old Persian wall art - a beautiful and intricate pattern that we adapted and changed to give it new life.