Clerkenwell Design Week & Luke Adam Hawker

With one of London’s most famous creative events, Clerkenwell Design Week, starting this week we caught up with the hugely talented Luke Adam Hawker. Luke will be showcasing some of his brilliant artwork at design week as part of the Creative Clerkenwell showcase. We’ve been talking to Luke about space, design and his top tips for London’s newest creative talent.

Do you want to start by telling us a little bit about yourself and what you’ve been up to lately?

TateModernLukeAdamHawkerMy career path started when I was studying a Foundation Art course at college and I realised I had an interest in spatial design. I had always loved drawing, so the thought of pursuing a career, where drawing was at the core of the process was a natural progression. I decided to focus on studying Architecture and Interior design, securing a position at Nottingham Trent University.

The third year of the four year course was a year long work placement, which I did in London; this was an invaluable experience, and something I would highly recommend to anyone looking to study a creative subject. During this time I fell in love with the city. It was in this year that I began to draw on location around London, I haven’t stopped since.

After I graduated I worked for an architecture firm, before getting headhunted by an interior design agency, due to my drawing ability. I never looked back and I’ve been working in interior design ever since.

Whilst progressing through my design career I have also developed as an artist and illustrator, with all aspects of what I do influencing the others. Through exploration and experience, I have come to realise my one true passion is drawing, whether it’s generating new ideas, or observing and capturing the world around me.

So how did you get involved with Clerkenwell Design Week?

That is quite a long story. Charlene Lam, founder of Creative Clerkenwell organised a pop up event as part of Clerkenwell Design Week. She saw my work on Instagram after buying a print, and asked if I was interested in getting involved. I’ve been to Clerkenwell Design Week before and know it’s worth being part of.

I’m partaking in a pop up event called ‘Creative Clerkenwell’. Charlene Lam’s theme aims to showcase the diversity of local talent.
Luke Adam Hawker


Space evidently plays a huge part in your work, where does this interest come from?

I think space is an interesting and relevant topic for everyone. Studying architecture and thinking more deeply about space and how it affects people has directly informed my work. In all my work, as a designer and as an artist, I try my best to communicate the qualities of a space, not just the physical, but also the emotive.

What kind of space do you use for your practice? I noticed a lot of your work is created on site, do you still have use for a studio, office etc?

I have a studio in Herne Hill, but it’s pretty much just used to frame my work. I always draw on location so there’s not as much of a need for a studio. I never draw from photographs. I believe I have to be on location to capture the true essence of a place.

As a young creative how did you find starting out in London? What were your struggles? What did you find positive?

Luke Adam Hawker

I guess it depends on the industry you’re looking to go into. I could ramble on for hours on this subject.

If you look at the design industry you can put a lot of pressure on yourself.

When you go out into your professional career you lose the ultimate control you had at university; this can feel a little demoralising and it’s important to have patience, as long as you are learning you are on the right track.

Renting is a struggle, however it’s a necessary evil for the majority of people moving to London for work. Unless you are lucky enough to have help. Flat sharing is the best option to keep rent down and meet new people, I am still renting and flat sharing with close friends, I can’t really imagine it any other way now.

Ultimately, all my the struggles lead to positive outcomes.

How have you found being a practicing creative in London’s current climate? Have you felt the pinch of rising rent and constant redevelopment?

I haven’t really felt much in my sector. When I started my career year in 2008 it was at the peak of the global recession. I turned up as a paid intern whilst everyone around me was getting fired, which was really bizarre.

I have also been at companies whilst they’ve been growing. I feel that there is always work out there, you just have to be versatile and adaptable within the creative industries in order to get it.

Do you have any advice for our young creative audience?

Spread your creativity. If you are a creative person, it’s important you are able to express yourself. If you have various outlets it’s not so depressing when one isn’t quite working out.

Draw… It’s often the quickest and most universal way to communicate to your team and clients, so building confidence in this skill is wise. It doesn’t have to be a work of art, just enough to get the idea across. My best ideas are often spat out of my mind in the ugliest of sketches. Though technology has revolutionised the way in which designers work across all creative sectors, drawing still plays an important and core role in a successful design process.

Lastly be confident and challenge convention and surround yourself by people that are better than you, it’s the only way you will improve.

Check out more of Luke’s work here.