If you're just tuning in, for the rest of the week I am sharing the work of 6 artists I chose to mutli-page feature as a co-curator of the new Curvy book releasing at the Semi Permanent conference this week. It was a very hard choice to narrow down many of the spectacular illustrator gals I know, but I hope you agree when I say I think I made the right choices (please share your comments below). Let me introduce you to Eirian Chapman -when choosing my artists I wanted to express the variety of different styles and mediums that female commercial artists work in, in the hope that young female illustrators could be inspired to step out of the girl drawing girl norm (of which yes I am guilty), and experiment with different subject matter and techniques. I admire Eirian for her bold use of colour and vector, the way she occasionally uses humour and sexuality in her work and also how hilarious she is in real life, unexpected with her quiet demeanor, but laugh out loud funny once she warms to you. Have a read of our interview below.
How did your career and life in art begin?
My first exposure to illustrations was through picture books as a child - the darker the theme the better. I liked unsolved-mysteries books with dodgy illustrations, mythology books accompanied by etchings and I especially loved Raymond Briggs graphic novels - When the Wind Blows and Fungus the Bogeyman. I was terrified I would wake up with a large boil on my neck and know that I had been visited in the night by a bogeyman (hopefully Fungus himself).
I enjoyed the experience of losing myself in the illustrations and I guess that’s why I liked drawing. In terms of making it a career, I enrolled in the Communication Design degree at RMIT in Melbourne in the hopes of making a living from my drawing. I worked in a corporate design studio and left after three years to start my freelance career as a graphic artist.
What motivates and drives you to be creative?
Getting away from the computer, packing a tent in the car and driving to a national park always helps to put me back in the mood to be creative. Going for long walks and listening to music are a great way to get the creative juices flowing.
How do you come up with concepts for your work?
I’m interested in mythologies, characters and stories. Coming from a design background, everything I do involves a lot of brainstorming, researching and sketching before attempting the finished piece. All my works come from a desire to simplify shapes into almost logo-like symbols. Communication is paramount, but I like hidden messages.
What is one piece of advice you wish you were given?
Working as a commercial illustrator is not always about being creative. It’s also about owning your own business and managing it well so that you are able to live off your work. Saving and budgeting is very important, as there will be periods when work is scarce.
Where do you see yourself creatively in the next 5 years? What sort of projects would you like to be working on?
I’m not a big fan of planning ahead. I prefer to let life take its course and see where it goes. If I end up living in a tree house with many pets and endless art supplies, I won’t be disappointed.
In the future, living as a nomad tree lady, I hope to work on many large-scale pieces of work, painting murals on the walls of my tree house in bright colours to warn away enemies trying to steal my food supplies.
The Curvy book releases at Semi Permanent this week and can also be ordered online here