Five Questions With The Nonsense Maker

This post was first published on 1 August, 2016


image features artist Emily May of The Nonsense Maker

Melbourne illustrator Emily May, best known by her alter ego The Nonsense Maker, lives rogue in a world ruled by imagination.  Meet Emily at our Melbourne market next month, 20-22 October! 

Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to begin your label.
The Nonsense Marker started out as a way to express my own alter ego; a caffeine fuelled adventurer and professional maker of nonsense. Starting out in fashion design I have always loved to draw, but it was after a two year adventure living in London and exploring Europe that my nonsense making really began. Bringing my sketchbook everywhere I went, my sketches were initially a fairly realistic view of my surroundings, but towards the end of my trip trickles of nonsense had dripped into the imagery. Gradually I found that the more nonsense that snuck into the pictures, the more sense and meaning they had to me. When I returned home to Melbourne I became obsessed with creating these dreamlike images and before long decided it was time to free them into the real world.


image features gift cards illustrated and designed by the nonsense maker


image features the Octopus has Eyes Art Print – illustrated and designed by the nonsense maker

Who inspires you and your creative process?
My inspiration can come from anywhere, books, film, music, and the places I visit every day. Growing up in Melbourne I have always been fascinated by its hidden lane-ways, and the many secrets they must hold. The best ideas often come from just letting my imagination dawdle along a path of its own. Every illustration starts off as a vague thought. Sad, silly, or simple as this thought may be, it usually snowballs into a wild and extravagant story, rambling and jostling forward until I can whip out my sketchbook in time to catch it. Because of this process every one of my prints has a little back story behind it.

Tell us something exciting that you have planned for The Nonsense Maker this year.
The Nonsense Maker always has new prints and cards underway, but this year I am most excited about introducing some original illustrated fabrics inspired by our newest collections, ‘Overgrown’ and ‘Hidden Bellow’. I am also lucky enough to be surrounded by so many other wonderful and unique local artists, so I’m always on the look out for fun collaboration ideas!


image features Overgrown Stories Art Print – illustrated and designed by the nonsense maker


image features Work In Progress with Fine Liner, Illustration of Turtle Reef Art Print – illustrated and designed by the nonsense maker

Name one resource that your label could not live without.
The Nonsense Maker could not exist without that special place that sits somewhere between dreaming and reality, where silliness and sadness dance and play, and where imagination is never restricted by reality. That and fine liner pens. Many, many fine liner pens.

Tell us about your favourite product from your collection.
I love all my products, but I have always had a soft spot for Gerald the Giraffe. A set of two A5 portrait prints, it is Gerald’s silly story that makes him so special. Descendant from a long line of prestigious leaf eaters, Gerald was all set to continue in his family’s footsteps. But in his heart of hearts something didn’t feel right, so one day he decided to risk it all and follow his long held childhood dream, Accounting! Gerald has a witty sense of humour and is a fiercely loyal friend. His courageous tale is a bit sillier that most, but please don’t tell him, he considers himself a serious professional.


image features Harvey, Marlon and Gerald, Animal Portrait Art Print – illustrated and designed by the nonsense maker


image features Wonderland Art Print, 4 of Diamonds – illustrated and designed by the nonsense maker


  • Amanda marx says:

    such a beautiful interview … can’t wait to add to my nonsense maker collection xXx

  • Joyce Moore says:

    Imaginative work and excellent drawing. Keep going with your art. Really like the originality

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