FK chats to illustrator Amy, who’s bringing our favourite Pop Culture crushes to life with her label, Amy Blue Illustration. // above image credit: by Katie Goodwin Photography //
How would you describe your style of artwork and how has this evolved?
Kitsch. I am attracted to drawing about things that seem to have no value on the surface. Like pop culture and mundane objects. I like to keep my themes simple. I don’t want to over work the viewer. I like to use pastel colours and limited line work. I have been a practicing illustrator for just overs 5 years and my style has significantly evolved. I get terribly embarrassed seeing some of my old stuff still hiding deep within the pockets of the internet.
What is your background and when did you start illustrating?
I had quite a long stint of studying different things from fashion design to cooking, to illustration, to glass blowing and back to illustration again! I recently completed a bachelor of illustration in Melbourne in 2012 and have been creating prints, badges and paper printed goods since 2008. I’m based in Sydney now and have ventured into the world of small business, which is challenging and scary.
I started drawing as a wee lass and I just didn’t stop! My mother is an artist, so I was surrounded by lots of creative people when I was growing up. My drawing was always encouraged which was really beneficial.
What inspires your work, and where do you look for inspiration?
Inspiration is such a fluid device. The mundane inspires me. I love to sit in food courts in shopping centres and sketch. I get some of my best work done in those spaces. It’s weird.
Fellow illustrators inspire me. Like the work of Kate Bingaman-Burt, Ronald Searle, Gemma Correll, Emma Leonard, Nicole J Georges, Roxanne Colk, Lauren Nicolson, Romi Pezzilleri.
What materials do you prefer to work with and which ones would you like to explore more?
Lately I have been working with Photoshop a lot. This process involves me working entirely from the computer. It’s fantastic because it allows me to do commissions for friends and clients, in a short amount of time and doesn’t cost clients an arm and a leg! I also work with pencil, ink, watercolour, print and marker.
My favourite way to draw is in my sketchbook. It took me a long time to learn that the sketchbook was a place you could relax. I would always try to make every page perfectly composed, with intricate details and slaved over pattern work. I was worried what people would think if they looked through it, so I wanted it to be a representation of what I did. Then I realized that’s what portfolios are for!
I would love to explore the world of screen printing. One of my illustrator friends uses a gocco in her work and the results are just phenomenal.
Describe your workspace and surroundings and what your creative process is.
At the moment I work from home. I have a desk set up with my computer and a few decorative motifs and books. I think it’s important for an artist to have inspirational objects in the environment where they carry out their practice.
My work process has changed a little in the previous months. I made the daunting decision to quit my job and focus solely on my illustration work and am trying to create a business out of it. My process has turned into a whole lot of marketing and admin stuff. The internet is a fantastic tool for illustrators but you have to be up to date and use it every day to see results. It’s usually the weekends when I draw for myself. Yesterday I drew Eric form True Blood, Larry from Curb Your Enthusiasm and Selina from VEEP. Quite a productive day!!
What do you love most about being an artist, and what are some challenges?
I like that I can practice my profession anywhere and I am the boss. And I like that people find it really amazing but really it’s just simple. You just draw and it happens.
There are many challenges in the creative arena. It’s always hard because there’s no real path for you to follow to be successful. It’s up to you to find advice and create your way. This is relevant in many professions I know, but it’s so temperamental in the art world.
What has been your favourite project or exhibition and why?
My current project Pop Suey: Ten Up, has definitely been the most fun I’ve had in my drawing history. I aim to create a series of ten, top 10 lists. Each list will be presented as 10 illustrated portraits categorised within a theme of popular culture. When it’s finished there will be a total of 100 portraits of celebrities and popular figures. The lists will be specific to popular culture trends within TV, Movies & Music.
Some lists I am working on now are Top Ten Lady Lovers in Film & TV, Top Ten HBO Characters & Top Ten Pseudo Intellectuals.
What aspirations do you have for the future and what would be your dream project?
I’ve always wanted to have a solo show and still haven’t had the opportunity to have one. It would be fantastic to have a show for the Pop Suey project.
I am currently working with Urban Walkabout on a portrait series for the maps they publish. These maps are centred around 11 different districts of Sydney and have shopping, café and gallery suggestions.
I also illustrate for new magazine called No Cure, which is a fantastic art and design mag celebrating artists and illustrators from around the world. I am hoping to have a project on the horizon with ACON.