Dressed in an oversized sweater and adorned with tattoos, piercings and a scrunchie it is clear Lorna Dunn is definitely the artsy type.
And as the Government comes under fire for belittling the arts in its controversial advert – ‘Fatima’s next job could be in cyber’- the Leicestershire hand-lettering creative is keen to share her insight.
“It really felt good flipping the middle finger”, says the 32-year-old, who also goes by the name Lesser Than Three.
“It felt like on that day everyone just sort of threw their dislike about the whole image on the internet. But ultimately, it was really sad that someone thought it was an appropriate message to put across in a serious way.”
The ad, which was published on behalf of the UK Government, went viral as people took to the internet to express their disapproval of the blatant lack of respect for the arts. Soon #Fatima was trending on Twitter and memes circulated every social media platform.
As a creative herself, Lorna knows how valuable the industry is – not only in terms of her professional career, but her personal life too.
“[The arts are] everything to me, it’s how I nourish and feed myself, whether that’s going to the local independent cinema or exhibitions and galleries”.
It seems the advert failed to recognise the passion and endless hours and hard work that goes into being a creative.
“Working for yourself is a really different ball-game because you have to manage all your own time and it may be that you work day and night sometimes because there’s no one else to pick up or support you, but at the same time, it’s absolutely life changing because you’re ultimately free to take your work in whatever direction you feel”, says Lorna.
Before Lesser Than Three, Lorna worked five part-time jobs at various pubs and bars and it was not until she began creating board displays there that she discovered her special talent for hand-lettering.
“I started to practise lettering in my own time and the more I did, the more I found that people would come to me and say ‘ooh can I have one of those, but with my new baby’s name?’ or ‘can you make me a sign with this on for my wedding?’ So I started to realise that people wanted to buy what I was making and that feeling was really nice.”
Now almost a decade on, she works as a teaching artist, running virtual workshops for Facebook employees during their lunch breaks – offering a creative outlet.
“It’s cool because I get to do the classes for people all over the world, so last time I did a class, there was someone in California and someone in Ireland and Scotland, so it feels quite nice to reach an audience that I perhaps wouldn’t normally reach.”
Looking forward, the 32-year-old says she has no definitive plans for her business – expressing that she likes to ‘go with the flow’ and take each week as it comes.