ISSUE | 11 FEATURING PERTH-BASED ARTIST ANGELA LIU
© 2020 Bento Magazine All rights reserved. BENTO is a bi-annual online magazine of all things art and design brought to you by Bento Box Design Studio. A collection of innovative and eye-catching visuals in the one place ready to inspire and open your mind to new and exciting things. BENTO prides itself in featuring emerging creatives consisting of local, national & international talent. We understand how important it is to follow your passion and how little opportunities there are for you to get your name out there. Through BENTO, we want to connect aspiring designers together with other like-minded individuals all across the world. Bento Box Design Studio aims to build a wide community involving all facets of art and design. If you are interested in becoming a contributor and submitting a piece for our next issue please follow the steps found at bentoboxstudio.com.au/magazine . We would love to see what else is swimming around in the minds of creatives. If you would like to work with us on any further issues of BENTO we are always looking for opportunities to collaborate. Reproduction of this publication in whole or in part is prohibited in any form or by any means, including photocopying, scanning or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the editor, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other non-commercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the editor, addressed “Attn: BENTO Permission”, to firstname.lastname@example.org The views expressed in BENTO Magazine are those of the respective contributors and are not necessarily shared by the publisher, company or its staff. Design by Bento Box Design Studio Cover artwork by Angela Liu
BENTO ISSUE 11
Catching up with...
A R T I ST | P ER TH, WA
ARTIST | PERTH , W A
Combining her passion for community engagement and love for native flaura (and fauna), Mikaela is making her mark by inspiring others to pay more attention to their surroundings and to value the unique splendour of the natural world.
Fantasy Queen, Angela Liu, talks strange creatures and naked ladies with us. Now showcasing her art through live streaming on Twitch, she is finally compiling the wonders of her art for the digital world to see. Her unique artistic expression through two juxtaposed subject matters has gifted Angela a creative flair that is untouchable.
Our Partners Guerrilla Establishment Guerrilla Establishment is a hub for all creatives in Perth. With a focus on community growth, Guerrilla provides workshops, networking events, space hire and industry speakers aimed at students, graduates and business owners.
Propel Youth Arts WA
Propel Youth Arts WA is the peak body for youth arts in Western Australia dedicated to creating access and opportunities for young people to engage in the Arts.
Discovering Marketing A Message from Siobhan Discovering Marketing is an introductory unit at Curtin University, aimed to give students a taste of the art and science that encompasses the marketing discipline. Students rose to the challenge and produced wonderful implementable solutions for Bento Box Design Studio, as work integrated learning and authentic assessments are fundamental to this unit.
Jerrick Prince M. Julian
Catching up with Mikaela Miller ISSUE 10 | FEATURED CREATIVE
P H O T O G R A P H Y | Be n t o Box D esi gn St ud i o ( @b ent ob ox. s tudio)
Mikaela Miller ARTIST | PERTH, WA AGE | 24
I N S T A G R A M | @m i k mi l l er_ F A C E B O O K | @m i k ael ami l l erc reat i ve W E B S I T E | m i k ae l ami l l er.c om
We had the honour of featuring Perth-based Mural Artist, Mikaela Miller in our last issue. Bento Box Design Studio decided to check on her during these uncertain times to see what she’s been up to during her own self-isolation period. It seems there hasn’t been drastic changes for our young creative, although it may come to be that Mikaela did encounter some minor challenges with her current and upcoming projects Unstoppable; as prescribed to many endearing artists - Mikaela told us of her ways in overcoming these barriers and how she has used this time in embracing her own journey of creative discovery and self recognition. Public Art plays such a big part in your creative journey and the safety measures that were put in action during the global pandemic may have affected your ability to work with the community, or even to create murals all together. However, we have seen that you overcome those challenges and continued to create beautiful art pieces that brightened up our streets. Tell us about some of the projects that you have been working on in the past few months. Some of my bigger projects (bigger in this case meaning more complex, with longer planning and lead times) have continued without too much disruption. These are murals for renovations or redevelopments with clients like schools or hospitals, and they have been happening for a number of months. We’ve continued with planning, research, liaison and such - so you may not be able to see them on the streets yet, but I have been working on a couple of those types of projects in bits and pieces behind the scenes. I created a little floral hopscotch artwork for the City of Stirling, to activate a suburban laneway near Karrinyup Primary. I also painted a hoarding (around a construction site) on Beaufort Street in Inglewood. That was a collaborative project with the Inglewood on Beaufort community group, which we were lucky enough to invite the general public to contribute to once the restrictions in WA began to ease a little more. I also had more time in the studio experimenting with some work for a group exhibition/mentorship project with SHAC (Sustainable Housing for Artists and Creatives). SHAC is a collective of artists in Fremantle and they ran their “Incubate” mentoring/exhibition as a virtual event from their gallery instead of a physical one this year. Although the delivery changed, we were still able to correspond with the other artists for the month of mentoring, and create works for sale and display by the end. What has been the biggest change in terms of how you work with your clients and the community? Have expectations changed? Do you have a new process? Talk our readers through it. To be honest there wasn’t a whole lot of wriggle room with the community work, at least regarding murals. Most of the painting projects that were lined up for festivals or events with the public had to be cancelled or
postponed. I didn’t have a lot of solo murals scheduled for that window of time because winter is a tricky time to be painting outside. I like to imagine that if I had been working on a few of those types of jobs, they would probably have continued in much the same manner as normal. Perhaps with an extra wide cordon around the worksite to maintain the physical distancing precautions between myself and the public - those community painting projects would have worked out. But really if it’s just me, a wall, and a few litres of paint, there’s not much that would need to change. The hopscotch I painted in Karrinyup would be the best example of this. In terms of process and workflow, the main difference was that some of my correspondence with clients in the planning & design process shifted from physical meetings to become virtual meetings instead. I also spent a bit more time out in nature - especially working on ideas for studio pieces with my mentor, Lynne Tinley, for the SHAC exhibition. I think that time working outdoors and experimenting has inspired me to work a little differently in my studio practice, but only in a subtle way and I think that had more to do with learning from Lynne, and less specifically to do with being in isolation. How have you adapted to the recent challenges that have resulted from the pandemic? I think it has reminded me to be patient and go with the flow, as corny as that sounds. I had hoped to apply for some work interstate or even internationally this year, and I think the fact that there has been such a sudden, unpredictable, worldwide event to throw a spanner in the works - goes to show that you need to stay flexible and be smart about how you set your goals. Luckily those goals of mine were tied to the fact that I wanted to broaden my horizons; build my network, and try new things. As much as I was tied to the idea of travel and adventure, I was at least still able to fulfill my goals in other ways - building my network and trying new things. Even if that all looks different to how I’d originally imagined. We have seen a new wave of home bakers and people taking to TikTok. So tell us, what new skill(s) you have picked up during lockdown? This can be a creative skill set or a personal achievement. I was one of those sourdough people. I had a starter going for a while. Baked a few loaves and used leftover starter for pancakes and all that - but I’m pretty sure my starter is very dead in the back of my fridge somewhere now! Did you find yourself exploring any new or different styles or techniques that you may have not attempted before self-isolation? After working with Lynne for the SHAC mentorship/exhibition, I have been experimenting more with incorporating background elements into my work - rather than just always having the hero flowers/subjects and
not much else. I think I’m also gradually adding in more colour and pattern without linework, so that my signature stylised linework is used more selectively. You’ll see that a bit in the Inglewood mural. I also invested in some fancy watercolours. I’m no watercolour expert so I doubt you’ll be seeing or buying any finished pieces featuring watercolour, but I have been using them for planning design concepts and research/field sketches. Many creatives delved into the online world and hosted virtual workshops to continue to inspire and help the community. We noticed that you were invited to run your own workshop and hosted some live streams via social media. How did you find this experience and will this become a regular thing? Yes, some of the festivals or events that I was supposed to be working at (which were cancelled), ended up moving online. Once we figured out how to set up the technical logistics (i.e. having a bird’s-eye view camera, as well as a front-on camera to show what my hands and face were doing) - the actual content and workshop structure didn’t have to be too different, surprisingly. With this in mind, I’d say yes there will probably be more of these workshops on offer from me eventually. The only weird part is not having the immediate human interaction. The workshops I held on Zoom weren’t quite as bad in comparison to a live stream demo on Facebook, but it still felt strange to be standing in my studio, demonstrating something and essentially feeling like I was talking to myself! As we are exploring the concept of ’Journey’ this issue, could you share with our readers a challenging time in your life where you have come out on top stronger and better than ever? How did it alter your journey and how did you capitalise on this? This may be your personal journey or creative journey. I don’t think there’s a single event that I can pinpoint for this. So far, my whole journey since I started running my business has been a challenge that has left me stronger on the other side (and will continue to do so). It’s been a pretty consistent 4 years of risk-taking, learning, trying, failing, succeeding, adapting, applying for opportunities, getting turned down, getting shortlisted, building skills, building networks,
collaborating, working long hours, getting underpaid, over-quoting, losing work, winning work, selling work, and figuring out what I actually want (I know, crazy). It has honestly been wild, but I’m starting to see the pay-off from all the work, emotion and trust that I’ve invested into my practice. I can’t tell you how many times I doubted or questioned my choice to be a freelance creative/sole trader. It’s hard not to compare your successes, income, or opportunities to your peers in other fields but patience and persistence really goes a long way. Once I found myself on this path, I knew I needed to commit to this business for a good few years to really give it a chance. When is a better time to take that chance while you’re still young, and don’t have too many responsibilities to hold you back? There will always be other options to fall back on if it doesn’t work out. As I’ve grown and developed my work, my business has strengthened and I’ve started noticing more work coming to me, and less work that I need to chase after myself. It’s given me a lot of confidence. Plus, the fulfillment I get from my work only increases with every project. I think watching that momentum build after working so hard and for so long has, perhaps not altered my journey, but solidified it. It has strengthened my commitment to this career path. I’ve also been able to capitalise on this added commitment and confidence by reinvesting that energy back into what I’m doing, which has only helped my business grow even more. What advice do you have for creatives who have been feeling demotivated, lost or discouraged throughout these uncertain times? Go back to the core of whatever it is that inspired you in the first place. Make time for playing and creating just for the joy of it. Not for work, not with any expectations, and with no pressures or deadlines. If you find inspiration in nature, go there. If it’s in other art, explore that. If you get your energy from other people, find a way to connect with them. The best thing about being a creative is we basically have an inbuilt coping procedure - so just make some time and space for whatever that is for you, and the rest will come together when it’s supposed to. I’m not a religious person or a super spiritual one, but I do believe in trusting yourself, your intuitions and your creative energy.
P H O T O G R A P H Y | M ika e la Mille r ( @m ikm il le r_ )
P H O T O G R A P H Y | Mika e la Mille r (@ m ik m ille r _)
Guerilla Establishment I N S T A G R A M | @g u e r r i l l a.est F A C E B O O K | @g u e r r i l l a.est W E B S I T E | th e g u e r r i l l a st ory.c om.au G E N E R A L | co n n e ct@theg uerri l l ast ory.c om.au C R E W | cr e w @th e g u e r ri l l ast ory.c om.au C H R I S T I A N O S H I R O | c hri st i an@t heguerri l l ast ory.c om.a u K E R R I E A L L E N | k e r r i e @t heg uerri l l at ory.c om.au
Guerrilla serves as a not-for-profit hub for creatives in WA to be given the chance to grow, support and collaborate with each other. After a short period of time, this hub grew into an establishment as a way to begin including individuals and businesses outside of the creative field. Founders, Christian and Kerrie had a vision to provide workshops, networking events, and space hire, for students, graduates and business owners in order to generate a more inclusive creative community. In our last issue, Guerrilla was thrilled to tell us about their KNACK Exhibition that takes place every few months, showcasing Perth talents and giving them an opportunity to network through positive change. Christian and Kerrie sat down with us this time to fill us in on the changes taking place at Guerrilla now that we are in the face of a pandemic. COVID-19 impacted the lives of many individuals and brought upon many new challenges. What challenges did the Guerrillas face and how did you overcome these challenges? Christian: This pandemic has certainly affected our lives both as individuals and as a collective. For instance, all of our planned workshops, face to face meetings and social gatherings were put on hold for a while and subsequently cancelled. It was definitely a huge challenge for us to adjust to the new times and reflect on different ways to communicate and reconnect with our troops. For us, video-conferences were the new norm and a few online workshops were being held during this time. We also had the opportunity to spend some quality time together as a team, rethinking and reassessing new projects in the pipeline.
Kerrie: Obviously being predominantly an in-person workshop provider, the COVID-19 situation brought us to a screaming halt in February. Like so many organisations, we used this time to strategise, regroup and plan what our “comeback” would look like. We are actually far more focused and ready to increase our impact after the disruption - so it’s turned out to be a rainbow in the storm!
Guerrilla wants to build and nurture all three pillars of what we believe creates happy and confident individuals. We are also reinforcing our Social Guerrilla armed with the development of new exciting projects that will unequivocally create a positive impact in the community.
We also had the tough conversations around what has been working, and what needs improving. Now there is a new sense of excitement around getting back into action.
Due to the global pandemic, many of us remain working from home, attending limited events and steering clear of crowds. This means being in a physical space is not a viable option for everyone. Besides attending events, workshops or talks, how can people still get involved with Guerrilla Establishment? Guerrilla Establishment started off as an alternative platform providing ongoing education, support and personal development for Perth students, graduates and industry members. Using our studio to run different events is essential to us. Fortunately, our State Government has managed the pandemic crisis with ease and that allowed us to gradually return to the studio.
Social media platforms have proven to us that many individuals have discovered their hidden talents and skills to bake, cook or dance. What new skills did the Guerrillas pick up? Christian: If social media wasn’t already a chaotic place for many people, during the pandemic we learned to communicate effectively to our audience by keeping our message simple and concise. By the same token, we reminded ourselves that a good conversation over the phone and checking on the human first was just as important as discussing any given project. The constant communication between Adam, Hien and I were taken to the next level during those video-conferences and dinner catch ups. We surely took advantage of those friendly meetings and were able to produce more sincere and exciting ideas. Guerrillas learnt how to pick up the phone (no pun intended). Kerrie: Oooh we haven’t been as creative as we should have been, but there has definitely been some fun hand painting, some studio improvements (you can call us IKEA flat pack experts now), and definitely a lot more cooking! What’s new at Guerrilla Establishment? Can we expect to see any changes? Besides our habitually celebrated workshops, networking events and art exhibitions, Guerrilla have been strengthening ties and cooperation through being actively involved with several community groups and student organisations. We are really looking to nurture connection and community through our learning program and a dedicated “Guerrilla Social” focused program as we finish 2020 and move into 2021. We will also be introducing an exciting program built around all out creativity. GET READY TO GET MESSY!
So yes, expect great changes soon!
Its founder members, as well as the crew, are always open to suggestions and will always find an excuse to grab a coffee (and churros) to discuss new ideas with you. We would also love to hear from our Guerrillas on our respective social media channels; Instagram and Facebook. A Guerilla Youtube will be coming in the next few months, and we launched our new website over lockdown as well. So come and say hi on any platform! Tips on how to stay inspired and build your skills while staying at home. Christian: Here’s my list: • Read a book. • If you like music while working, set the mood with your favourite WFH playlist. • Do some stretching. • Get in touch with your peeps (no to texting, yes to phone calls). • Disconnect. Kerrie: ROUTINE! It’s so easy to slip into bad habits and get used to having no routine when you don’t need to leave the house. Create a daily routine, like you would when you head to your workplace, and try your hardest to stick to it. Start time, finish time, scheduled breaks get productive in set times so you can then relax on the couch with your favourite snack and show after it’s all done!
P H O T O G R A P H Y | C hris tia n O s hiro a nd Ke v in Vizc a r r a
P H O T O G R A P H Y | Ch r i s t i an Oshi ro and K evi n V i z c arra
E X H I B I T I O N N A M E | G ra d ua ting in CHAOS E X H I B I T I O N D A T E | 0 7 A u g u st , 2 02 0 S O C I A L T O P I C | G ra d ua te s tra ns itio n to th e wor ki n g w or l d
ILLUSTRATOR | PERTH, WA AGE | 27
I N S T A G R A M | @h i enl eart
Illustrator, Hien Le spoke to us in our previous issue about her KNACK exhibition that was due to showcase this year. Her passion and determination propelled our excitement even more, especially regarding the theme of mental health which was to carry through in the art she was presenting. Hien’s exhibit ‘Graduating into Chaos’ slowly became an actual representation of what ensued thereafter, as her exhibition was postponed due to COVID-19. However, fortunately us WA folks were granted the opportunity to attend her exhibition in early August due to the ease of restrictions. Since then, she’s got a few tips for us on how to navigate these uncertain times as an emerging creative. Individuals all around the world have been impacted by COVID-19 and this has in many cases affected their mental health. For those who are struggling during these uncertain times, what advice can you share that will allow them to overcome or manage these challenges? During uncertain times, it’s normal to feel anxious or afraid. However, when these feelings start to cripple you from doing day-to-day tasks, that’s when they become a problem. During COVID-19, I felt all these emotions and more! But I knew I didn’t want to wake up feeling anxious or dwell on any negative thoughts. I think that’s the first step to overcoming and managing your mental health, you have to make the decision to change your state of mind. When you do, you become curious to find out as to “how?” you did. My second recommendation is to research and educate yourself on your situation. When I research and learn about my situation, whatever it may be, I gain some sense of control over my problem and it then doesn’t seem as bad as I thought it was. Another suggestion is expressing your thoughts and emotions by doing the things you love. For example, I love drawing and painting so I did heaps of paintings and drawings during COVID-19. This really helped me to keep sane. Staying at home has also given us the opportunity and time to focus on self-care. During self-isolation, how did you practice self-care? I had the opportunity to work from home so it gave me heaps of time to reflect and evaluate my life. I would say I practiced self-care by having a morning routine that prepares me for my day ahead. I find when I go for morning walks, take my time to enjoy my breakfast or read a book before starting my day, my mind is clearer and I am more energised. Another self-care practice I exercise is my passion for art and design. Everyday, I would either paint, design or draw. It’s what I love to do and that’s what everyone should do to take care of themselves. To do what you love! Whether it was jumping onto the Dalogna coffee trend or learning one of many TikTok dances, were there any hobbies or projects that you revisited? Or did you learn a new skill? I did both. I revisited paintings that were unfinished. Working from
home gave me extra time to work on my paintings and painting skills. Furthermore, out of curiosity, I did a short course on psychology. How has your art helped you through these uncertain times? It helped me stay calm during these uncertain times. When I paint or draw, my mind shifts to another place and my focus is on what I am doing at that very moment; imagining how I want to draw what I envision. It’s therapeutic and I feel refreshed afterwards. Did you find yourself exploring any new or different styles or techniques that you may have not attempted before self-isolation? Very good question… It all started when I was a kid watching my oldest During COVID-19, I learnt how to create smooth blends from one shade to another with acrylic paint. It may sound easy but it’s harder than you think. I spent days perfecting my blending technique. As the business world took advantage of platforms such as Zoom and Google Meet to host meetings and conferences, people also used the platforms to stay connected – from enjoying a meal together in front of the screen or wishing one another Happy Birthday. Creatives also took to the online world and continued to support, inspire and stay connected to the community. Were you involved in any online workshops or talks? If so, please tell our readers about your experience and what it involved.and why it is important to raise awareness? In my spare time, I explored running my own online art classes. I started with groups of friends from all around the world. It was easy to set up and do as everyone was using Zoom to connect during COVID-19. I did my art classes over Zoom, teaching friends the basics of drawing a realistic coffee cup. My friends and I had fun. They enjoyed learning something new and it helped them pass time. Although your exhibition was postponed, it was finally up and running in early August. We are so extremely lucky here in Perth and happy to see your first ever exhibition supported by so many friends, family and creative individuals. How was this experience and when can we expect to see the next one? The experience was surreal. I enjoyed every moment leading to the night of my art exhibition. It was great to see my family, friends and people I haven’t met before showing up to my art exhibition to support me and my work. Currently, I entered the South Perth Emerging Artist Exhibiton, which I am waiting to hear if I am in this year’s exhibition. I then have a Guerrilla drawing workshop at the end of this month to launch Guerrilla’s new program Mind and Body. What advice do you have for creatives who have been feeling demotivated, lost or discouraged throughout these uncertain times? Don’t give up! In every challenge, there are always opportunities to learn and grow to be the best version of yourself.
Propel Youth Arts WA I N S T A G R A M | @p r o p el yout hart swa F A C E B O O K | @p r o p e l yout hart swa W E B S I T E | p r o p e l .o r g . au
A few months ago, Propel Youth Arts WA was gearing up for action in preparation for their Youth Week KickstART Festival. There wasn’t a slight prediction that the year would be heading down its current direction. Through weeks of development and planning, came a temporary hold on one of Perth’s greatest community events. Youth Week WA was looking forward to presenting Koora, Mila, Yeyi (Past, Future, Now) and celebrating its 10th anniversary. Although 2020 didn’t see this through, Bento Box Design Studio was afforded the time to have another chat with Project Coordinator, Cecile Vuaillat. We discovered how the pandemic has affected the festival physically, the newly introduced KickstART Virtual, and what creatives can look towards during a time of much needed motivation. The KickstART committee put in hours of hard work into organising Youth Week WA 2020 and this certainly was all a journey itself. However, as we have learnt journeys are filled with bumpy and winding roads along the way. Can you briefly talk about the challenges that Propel was faced with amongst the global pandemic? On Monday, March 16, 2020, the Propel team and the board made the decision to cancel the 2020 Youth Week WA KickstART Festival. This was a month before we were set to launch Day 1 of the festival. While this was a really difficult time, it wasn’t a difficult decision - it was something we had to do in the best interest of the WA community. A few days later, the government mandated restrictions on public gatherings which ironically would have affected us anyway. I would say for the following week we went into overdrive with the process of announcing the cancellation and contacting artists to reassure them that we were still going to pay them because we knew it would hit our artists extremely hard in the following months, and it really did. After that week, as a team we were completely deflated. We were dealing with many thoughts and feelings; both personally and with our work
situation - deciding very quickly that it was best to start working from home. We had to learn to use new online communication platforms and adapt to the new working environments, which each of us also dealt with differently. I personally don’t remember much of that first week working from home other than being excited to work in my PJ’s and realising it wasn’t as much of a good idea as I thought it would be. Instead, I just became complacent and more stressed! Propel adapted to the situation quickly and created KickstART Virtual. How did you come up with the idea for KickstART Virtual? Kobi Arthur Morrison, our Creative Coordinator, was actually the first to float the KickstART Virtual concept. I believe this was possibly a few days after we cancelled, but I’m not 100% certain. At the time we didn’t have the brain space to consider it further as an idea, we were just busy cancelling everything! Eventually after two weeks of settling into the working from home situation, we checked in as a team and started discussing what a virtual festival might event look like. Six frantic weeks later, and we had our first ever virtual festival, using Zoom, Facebook and Instagram as our main online platforms. We wanted to deliver an online festival because we thought it would be a shame to put KickstART in the bin completely. We figured everyone would be staying home anyway, and is more likely engaged online because of this situation. We had the left over funds as well, and decided it would be a good experiment! Will this be something that Propel will continue to do, whether it may be at a smaller scale or turned into its own thing in conjunction to the traditional KickstART festival? We learned so much from KickstART Virtual. We had one of those moments realising that this is something we should have already been doing in terms of accessibility and building online resources. Suddenly our solution to engaging regional young people was solved. Now young people with mobile disabilities and young people staying at home can still watch the event. Next year’s KickstART Festival will definitely have online programming. The team’s not yet sure how it’s going to look exactly, but as a start we would like to record all live performances, have more live streamed events and panel discussions, and overall more opportunities for people to engage with the festival online. I think physical events are still important and a big part of the KickstART experience, particularly with hands-on workshops or with our big market day, however we definitely want to start to focus more on creating a positive and memorable online experience too. What type of feedback was received by participants of KickstART Virtual? The feedback that Propel received was overwhelming. Most people were
K I C K S T A R T V I R T U A L 2 0 2 0 | Pr ope l Youth A r ts WA
grateful that there was still some version of KickstART being offered - they thought the programming was interesting and engaging. For example, out of mainly coincidence, we locked in an online masterclass with Jacob Collier, who is a Grammy Award winning musician and songwriter. We had only 100 spots available in the online webinar and within 4 hours it was booked out. All the musicians of Perth just flocked! They loved it. We also had an excellent panel discussion with photographer Jarrad Seng and a few of his other professional photographer friends who were able to share incredible and valuable insights for young emerging photographers. I was also particularly proud of our online market and the young creatives that got behind the idea who were able to promote, and sell their products and art to our online audience. The positive feedback from the makers was also wonderful to receive. The online realm proved to offer more ways for Propel to provide access to networks, mentoring and skills development to those who reside in the creative industry. Adopting new strategies and techniques along the way, will we be seeing them incorporated into the way Propel connects artists, youth workers, practitioners, arts collectives and communities with relevant organisations? Absolutely. Again, online platforms break down many accessibility barriers that we hadn’t even thought of. We will definitely be thinking more strategically about things such as mentorship programs and how that looks if done remotely, and the ways in which we can connect our Propel Community together. As a matter of fact, we will have set up a new online community initiative for our 2021 KickstART Festival by early September. We’re calling it our KickstART Community. It’s a way for us to connect with young voices that have participated in KickstART before or would like to be involved for the first time. It’ll also be great to have an open dialogue during the planning process about what they want to see represented in the festival, allowing it to become our sounding board for ideas and programming for KickstART. The Community will be hosted on a facebook group and will be led by our Youth Planning Committee throughout the year. Several online open meetings will be organised when the committee wants to present ideas and gain feedback. Anyone aged 26 and under is welcome to join! Can you tell our readers about how they can continue to access your services during these uncertain times? I would definitely recommend that they register to become a Propel member which is free if you’re under the age of 26. You will be subscribed to our monthly newsletter and receive ‘members only’ intel and offers. Otherwise, we’re very active on our social media pages and always share new opportunities and updates on how to get involved with Propel.
Something that is also unique to us is our open door policy. We welcome anyone to email or call staff directly and pop by for a chat about how they can be involved with us or get started in the arts industry. We’ve met some really special long-term members this way and have been lucky to see their careers and futures grow. What can readers be involved with whilst self-isolating at home? So many things! our Communications Officer, Yoshika in particular has been killing it with the online resources that we have available on our website. There are so many little gems. To start off, I definitely recommend reading the amazing blog series that Yoshika has been developing called #YoungArtistsofWA - which you can find a: propel.org.au/youngartistsofwa The series involves interviewing different young Perth artists here and there. They each have really wonderful stories and experiences to tell, it’s a really inspiring read. We have another blog series called Conversations with Propel. This is a slightly more casual and fun space where we feature voices of young people and members of our Board. There’s even a post where I share some of my favourite at-home-baking recipes. I recommend the brownie recipe! There is also a new section on our website with a bunch of COVID-19 resources for young artists which has links for more things people can do at home: propel.org.au/covid19-resources Lastly, get amongst our KickstART Virtual video uploads. We’ve recorded all the live talks and put all our video uploads into one place on our youtube channel. My personal favourites include: Native Plants and Food with Bindi Bindi Dreaming, and Keeping Well with Chelsea Gibson. Here’s the link to the youtube playlist: bit.ly/KSvirtualyoutube What advice do you have for creatives who have been feeling demotivated, lost or discouraged throughout these uncertain times? That we see you and we feel you. Be kind to yourself and don’t feel pressured to be super productive or creative during this time. Right now we need to prioritise our physical and mental needs. If you find that you use art as a way to process your thoughts and feelings, then by all means do that. Now is the best time to be selfish and indulgent with your art.
A Message from Siobhan Discovering Marketing is an introductory unit at Curtin University, aimed to give students a taste of the art and science that encompasses the marketing discipline. Work integrated learning and authentic assessments are fundamental to this unit, as it provides students with the opportunity to engage with ‘real world’ business problems that clients would face. This approach allows students to apply their knowledge by creating marketing plans to address specific client objectives resulting in strong engagement and collaboration between industry and academic partners. Bento Box Design Studio approached me with the primary objective of growing engagement with emerging creatives attending university. The primary focus was for students to breathe new life and create a marketing plan to increase submissions to BENTO. The challenge was paramount, given that BENTO is an online, free magazine that was created to feature up-and-coming creatives across the art and design disciplines. This project required students to consider the unique product, and provide strategies to increase the promotion and distribution of the magazine. Students rose to the challenge and produced wonderful implementable solutions for Bento Box Design Studio. The top three groups were selected by the team at Bento Box Design Studio, based on the cohesiveness of their strategies and ease of implementation of the marketing plan. Zorana Soldat, sessional academic at the School of Marketing, found the collaboration with Bento Box Design Studio a huge opportunity.
“BENTO facilitated the platform for real world engagement, because students were able to engage in immersive strategic planning.” - Zorana Soldat We are incredibly thankful for the generosity and ongoing support from industry partners like Bento Box Design Studio that provide our students opportunities to enhance their skills and also add this to their emerging portfolio.
Dr Siobhan Hatton-Jones phD, B.Com Honours First Class (Marketing) Lecturer | School of Marketing Curtin Business School Faculty of Business & Law
A few students caught up with Bento Box Design Studio to discuss their pandemic woes, and life as 2020 undergraduates. New challenges surfaced, and it allowed each of these individuals to discover a part of themselves through their own creative pursuits. Although being fully online led them to find other forms of communication during their semester at Curtin University, they were able to shed light on the more positive experiences that surrounded their current circumstance.
Jeniffer Muth L O C A T I O N | P e rt h , W A A G E | 19
Due to the recent global pandemic, many of us have had to self-isolate. We are aware that this has also resulted in some negative impacts, but how each individual has overcome this varies from one person to another. How have you overcome the negative impacts that have risen during the pandemic? Personally, I don’t think many of the negative impacts that affected other people were an impact on myself because pre-COVID-19 I was, and always have kept to myself - I would only interact with those in my small group of comfort. The only negative that resulted from the pandemic were earlier restrictions of self-isolation when the case numbers were at its peak. Pre-COVID-19, I enjoyed leaving the house for food. Being a strong lover of food, the restriction made me feel sad that I was not able to just leave the house freely for food without having to worry, or be paranoid that the virus could potentially be where I would be. Although there were such restrictions I still managed to find a way to enjoy food that I wanted to enjoy. I didn’t let it stop me from eating outside food, which was all thanks to the delivery and takeaway services. Maybe another negative impact was being stuck at home and not being able to leave freely. During the months where the pandemic was at its peak, there was nothing to do outside of home for me, because my work was on hold and university also transferred to fully online. The only sunlight and “fresh air” I got was going to the backyard, but I never did because I just couldn’t be bothered. I took advantage of the times where I needed something from the grocery store to be able to leave the house. Other than that, I just kept myself busy at home with Animal Crossing: New Horizons , movies, videos and music to overcome the negative feelings that were caused from being restricted during a very uncertain time.
It also helped me accept the rules and restrictions. I reminded myself why they were put in place and understood the consequences of not following them, which was quite evident in some other states and countries. People didn’t listen and rebelled because they did not see the importance of working together and understanding their authorities’ decision to keep everyone safe. Most importantly though I think to overcome anything negative, COVID-19 or not, is to be positive or have a positive mindset to be able to push through and see the better side of things, which is what I tried to do. On a more positive note, this has also been a great time to focus on the things we love the most and ultimately focus on ourselves. This may include new self-care regimes and revisiting our passions. Did you find yourself exploring or trying something new during self-isolation? Yes, I found myself discovering more creative passions. I have always been an artsy person. During all my years in school, I did visual arts so that’s what I thought I would go into at university, though I ended up choosing accounting and taxation instead. I kind of let that creative passion go and promised myself I would pursue it after my commerce degree. Though during self-isolation, I kept watching and engaging in so many creative videos that were full of aesthetics, creativity and design. I stumbled upon sewing/design videos, and now my goal is to learn how to fully sew with a machine and create pieces of clothing after this semester ends - so I am very excited to pursue that during the summer.
How did the pandemic change the way you undertook your studies? Please tell our readers about the challenges and how you overcame these challenges. When the pandemic started to become more serious in March, my units transferred to being fully online. A challenge that was introduced due to the pandemic was group assessments. As students, we had to either get into groups ourselves or were randomly placed in groups depending on the unit. Being part of an online group assessment was a challenge for everyone involved because we could not have face-to-face interactions to easily discuss the assessment, our ideas and opinions to bond. To overcome this, I heavily relied on digital technology to fulfill my tasks and expectations of the assessment as part of the group, so I guess today’s technological advancements really came in handy during the pandemic. My friends actually struggled with the online change at their university because they hadn’t studied fully online before, but I had previous experience studying online so it was not as difficult for me to adapt and it did not really change my study results.
tedious when it’s natural to crave face-to-face interactions. In regards to online study, I have adapted through reminding myself where I want to be at the end of my course and what I want to achieve. This reminder has been helping me with my stress in regards to studying and my course, because studying is already hard and stressful, and on top of that there are the impacts of the pandemic as well. It’s also a reminder to motivate me to keep going, to focus and to take one step at a time and enjoy the present moment - in the end I will get to where I want to be. These recent challenges have given me moments to think, to bring myself back from the negative emotions that I have gathered because of them, and to get through them with a more positive mindset. I feel like I haven’t needed to adapt physically or change my routine from these challenges because I think Perth/WA has been very lucky and cooperative with the State Government’s decisions in protecting the health and safety of residents here. But mental health has definitely been a real challenge - I am sure for many others too, and I feel that it is important to adapt a new and improved mindset to get through hard times like these.
However, I did struggle with keeping up with each week’s topic for my units. Before everything went online, I had 4 classes on campus, and that kind of “forced” me to be prepared for each class according to each unit’s program schedule. When it became fully online, there was no longer a set timetable that I had to go by. I think another challenge from studying online is not receiving the input and ideas of other students in class. I feel that this is a really big part of learning, and it just isn’t the same in an online environment because it’s more difficult to discuss and interact face-to-face.
What do you hope we all learn or take away from this experience? OR What have you learnt or taken away from this experience? From all the actions and opinions against the Government’s decisions around the world by people who are too stubborn to do what is right to help the bigger picture. I hope from this experience everyone can agree that we should all follow restrictions and understand that a pandemic is bigger than a school ball. The safety of yourself, your family and neighbours is bigger than a music event and the health of your future is more important than getting drunk one night at a club. A sacrifice that lasts for a month or two, where everyone follows instructions, is nothing in return for years of a COVID-19 free world. I really hope we will be more mature in handling such a situation should it arise again, and not just think about ourselves - rather help, uplift and strive to get to the otherside together. From this pandemic, I have learnt that anything is possible. The pandemic was very unexpected, or at least the scale of it was. From this experience, I’ve taken away the patience, understanding and kindness displayed by countless people to their communities and neighbours. It is priceless and helpful in uncertain times like these, and it is truly the better side of the human race.
Although being shy is challenging as well, I am taking advantage of this time to actively ask questions during these online classes through the chat box. For an introverted person, it’s actually relieving and it helps me a lot. However, I do miss being on campus, seeing other students and being present somewhere outside of my bedroom. How have you adapted to the recent challenges that have resulted from the pandemic? A recent challenge resulting from the pandemic for me is studying. Having to focus and concentrate through online forms of study is quite
Katy Falconer L O C A T I O N | Perth, WA A G E | 40
Due to the recent global pandemic, many of us have had to self-isolate. We are aware that this has also resulted in some negative impacts, but how each individual has overcome this varies from one person to another. How have you overcome the negative impacts that have risen during the pandemic? During lock-down, I was fascinated by the news coverage of the pandemic and had the television going for most of the day. I couldn’t take my eyes off what was going on in the world to the point where I wasn’t studying and actually failed my first assessment due to this. Luckily, it was early in the Semester.
campus, instead, these were done at home - which meant I really had to think about the best plan for how I was going to do this without any interruptions.
My mental health was being affected, seeing the livelihoods of people deteriorating everyday and the incessant death toll statistics really got to me. I knew I had to stop watching the news. As soon as I did that, I felt a huge weight off my shoulders. I began to focus on my studies again and my grades thanked me for it.
How have you adapted to the recent challenges that have resulted from the pandemic? We are very lucky to be living in WA, our sense of normality returned fairly quickly. We now work from home 2x days per week, which is something we have to get used to going forward as I feel it is a new normal. It’s actually a nice change not rushing around every morning and losing so much time commuting.
I also made sure I kept up my exercise regime, by turning to home workouts, running, or walking with my dog. Whatever it was, I just made sure I did something every day. On a more positive note, this has also been a great time to focus on the things we love the most and ultimately focus on ourselves. This may include new self-care regimes and revisiting our passions. Did you find yourself exploring or trying something new during self-isolation? Before lock-down, I had started learning juggling - something I thought I would never be able to do! When everything shut down, I bought some proper juggling balls and I became a master at this new skill! How did the pandemic change the way you undertook your studies? Please tell our readers about the challenges and how you overcame these challenges. I completed my studies fully online, so the pandemic actually didn’t affect the way I studied. The final exams were not completed on
I made sure I completed all the preparation work that was issued by the uni. For example, running through the test-run exam scenario so I knew there would be no surprises on the day, nor would any time be wasted figuring out how to submit it etc. I made sure everyone in my house knew what time I was completing it so there were no interruptions. I knew by doing all this, anything else that went wrong would just be bad luck!
What do you hope we all learn or take away from this experience? OR What have you learnt or taken away from this experience? I have definitely learned to appreciate what I have in my life. I have never appreciated having stable employment and working for a great company more than I do now. It has its ups and downs, but ultimately when it gets hard at work, I always think how lucky I am to have permanent employment. It was the one thing that remained constant during the pandemic. I also hope we learned that the risks associated with climate change are critical. What we saw from a world shutdown from greenhouse emissions and human interaction was breathtaking. Investment in cleaner energy sources should be high on the agenda as is the need for reducing our human footprint we leave on our planet everyday.
Samantha Oo L O C A T I O N | P e rt h , WA A G E | 19
Due to the recent global pandemic, many of us have had to self-isolate. We are aware that this has also resulted in some negative impacts, but how each individual has overcome this varies from one person to another. How have you overcome the negative impacts that have risen during the pandemic? At the initial peak of the pandemic, the quick and sudden restrictions placed over Perth were definitely a challenging and scary time. A way I overcame this was to find ways to occupy my mind from the situation. I kept myself busy by either doing some Uni work, staying connected with friends, spending time with family, and binging TV shows. I also tried to look at the situation from a different perspective. Whilst self-isolation was a completely new and apprehensive concept, at the same time, I kept thinking to myself: ‘I have never experienced a global pandemic before, and may never again. I may never experience being in lockdown with the majority of Perth again…’ - and so, (in a weird way) I came to view this as a once in a lifetime experience. On a more positive note, this has also been a great time to focus on the things we love the most and ultimately focus on ourselves. This may include new self-care regimes and revisiting our passions. Did you find yourself exploring or trying something new during self-isolation? It was difficult to explore new things since a few of my passions involve the outdoors. However, self-isolation did allow me to unravel my mind. Prior to the pandemic, a standard day for me often consisted of going on campus to attend classes, as well as studying, going to work, and spending time with friends and family around Perth. My busy schedule didn’t allow me many opportunities to just unwind. As someone whose mind seems to be constantly racing, I can get stressed out easily if I’m unable to settle my worries through thorough evaluation of my options. With the long period of self-isolation, paired with so much ‘me time’ I almost wore out my brain.
How did the pandemic change the way you undertook your studies? Please tell our readers about the challenges and how you overcame these challenges. The pandemic changed the way in which I attended all my classes and lectures. It all became solely online learning. In my case, this change brought more positives than negatives as it completely eliminated the travel time to my campus and allowed me to attend class in my own room. I also found online study more efficient for me as I was able to coordinate my studies and timetable better. The only challenge I had was the discussion of group projects with team members. Asking for assistance from tutors was sometimes a struggle as well - it was just difficult to ask questions and clearly get my point across. At the end, I was able to overcome this through honest and consistent communication. How have you adapted to the recent challenges that have resulted from the pandemic? I found that I was quite adaptable to change as a result of the pandemic. I was able to control my urge of going outside, and I’ve come to appreciate the joy of maintaining relationships through online interactions. I was still able to do my Uni work online efficiently, and I loved focusing on myself through self-isolation. What do you hope we all learn or take away from this experience? OR What have you learnt or taken away from this experience? From the pandemic as a whole, I’ve learned the effect that every individual has on the betterment of the community. One person’s action makes all the difference, even if it’s not obvious. This is evident through Perth’s steady return to normal life operations prior to the pandemic. In terms of self-isolation, I’ve recognised how important oneself really is. Having so much time to ourselves when we often rely on others is actually quite humbling and refreshing for our own maturation. Something I hope we all take away is that this pandemic won’t last forever, so while it’s important to be educated and kept up to date with this virus, we must not let the negativity overwhelm our minds. Take this time to love yourself and keep your health in check. Act responsibly and selflessly.
Tanya Rose L O C A T I O N | Perth, WA A G E | 34
Due to the recent global pandemic, many of us have had to self-isolate. We are aware that this has also resulted in some negative impacts, but how each individual has overcome this varies from one person to another. How have you overcome the negative impacts that have risen during the pandemic? I tried to stay as informed as I could be, so that I didn’t feel overwhelmed or anxious. Keeping a positive mindset helped a lot, plus I am lucky that I have great friends and family I can turn to for support when I did start to feel the weight of it all. On a more positive note, this has also been a great time to focus on the things we love the most and ultimately focus on ourselves. This may include new self-care regimes and revisiting our passions. Did you find yourself exploring or trying something new during self-isolation? I was drawn to activities that were creative like drawing, cross-stitch and learning to play the piano again. Piano was something I used to play in highschool, so it was nice to start up again. My goal is to learn and play an Elton John song by Christmas to show off to my family. How did the pandemic change the way you undertook your studies? Please tell our readers about the challenges and how you overcame these challenges. Fortunately I’m an online student for most of my classes, so the changes in my study habits were not significant. Sticking to a routine worked
well for me – it helped me normalise the situation, as well as keep me on track, focused and sane. Without a sense of normality, I think I would have gone a bit mad. How have you adapted to the recent challenges that have resulted from the pandemic? I was surprised with how well I was able to adapt to the changes, especially because I was working and studying from home – I felt like I had more time for out of work activities because I’m not getting ready for the corporate environment or commuting, easily giving me an extra 3-4 hours a day. For me, an important part of working from home was to make sure I was “switching off” and making the conscious effort to shut everything down, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to separate work and personal life. What do you hope we all learn or take away from this experience? OR What have you learnt or taken away from this experience? Compassion. I have friends and family over in eastern states who are really struggling with the pandemic. I think that we tend to forget about the struggles of others because we are in this WA bubble where we feel much safer, and are somewhat bulletproof. There is this feeling of smugness that I have witnessed from Perth people, so I think we just need to stop and take a moment to think about others that might not be doing so well.
Angela Liu ISSUE 11 | FEATURED CREATIVE
ARTWORK 01 | Dragon Snail
Angela Liu ARTIST | PERTH, WA AGE | 29
I N S T A G R A M | @ a nqi. a rt F A C E B O O K | @ a nqia rt W E B S I T E | a nqia rt. com A R T S T R E A M S | twitch. tv/a nqia rt S T O R E | anqi-a rt. re dbubble . com T O O L S | A dobe Photos hop
Tell us about where it all began and how you discovered your creative talents. What piqued your interest in art? Growing up in a creative family, I have always loved art. My earliest memory of drawing was with my older sister. We used to copy animals from children’s books, and her pictures would always be better than mine. I remember the day my drawing surpassed hers, and from then on, she stopped, and I progressed. Throughout high school, the art room became my second home. I fell in love with Ghibli films and Final Fantasy X, and for a long period of my life, was obsessed with drawing tigers (I even dyed my hair in tiger stripes, and designed my first tattoo of tiger paws to go on my wrist (I am so glad I didn’t go through with it!). Interests change... now I’m obsessed with drawing naked ladies and creating weird and wonderful creatures. Due to the recent global pandemic, many of us have chosen to self-isolate. We are aware that there have been some negative impacts, but at the same time, this has also been a great time to focus on the things we love the most. Self-care and revisiting our passions. Did you find yourself exploring new or different styles that you have not attempted before during self-isolation? Prior to COVID-19, I was attending weekly live life drawing sessions. Life drawing is where you draw strangers, in all their naked glory. It is all about the study of form, lighting and movement, and the continuous challenge of capturing the human form. The human body is the ultimate puzzle! Since the pandemic, I have settled for drawing naked strangers through Zoom, whilst live streaming my process on Twitch. I never thought I’d be doing this in a million years, and I am glad I haven’t been banned for drawing lady bits on my streams yet. What new skills did you pick up during lockdown? This can be a creative skill set or a personal achievement. People have always asked me if I sell my art, and to be honest, self promotion makes me uncomfortable. But with time to spare during lock down, I finally opened an online store on Redbubble , and have been slowly populating it. I’m not sure who would wear a T-shirt with a naked lady on it, but it’s up there! I am in the process of releasing my creatures next. Similar to my streaming, it starts out slow and I don’t really know what I am doing, but it slowly gets better with time... like cheese. The Bento Box team had the pleasure of attending an exhibition that celebrated the completion of one of the biggest projects that you’ve taken on board. In this space you not only showcased the murals that you had been working on, but you displayed a showreel which demonstrated your very diverse skill set. Would you say there are any consistent influences that can be seen across all your work? If yes, please explain what those influences are. In 2019, I took on my largest and most challenging project, Atmosfera . I branded a dance studio and painted 5 indoor murals within the space. The theme was inspired by Greek mythology, featuring Poseidon, Amphitrite and Venus, within an aquatic realm. My largest mural measured 13 meters long! During the opening party, I showcased all my personal art alongside my murals, as a way to capture my journey as Anqi Art. My work has always been inspired by fantasy, tigers, myths, nature, colour, and creatures. Although my style keeps shifting, my subject matter stays consistent. I go through waves of inspiration that lead me to different projects, yet I find it quite fascinating that I can draw a tiger over and over, and never get tired of it. You can view my style evolution on my Instagram @anqi.art, dating back to 2007. Take us through your creative process. How do you complete your art pieces from start to finish? I often go on a journey to study different styles that inspire me. This leads to exciting new techniques and mediums, which broadens my abilities, however, this also means I end up with a large variety of styles. Through my explorations, I switch between traditional mediums - watercolour, charcoal, pastels or pen, to using the computer. Recently, I’ve gone completely digital, working in Photoshop and Krita. Since live streaming, my design process has adapted to accommodate a fast paced turnaround and engagement with viewers. I’ve been creating about 2 creatures a week, where I combine 2 or 3 animals BENTO 31
“Mistakes are your best friend. If you are not making them, you are not improving.”
and create a brand new creature. The animals are selected with the help of my viewers at the planning stage, and anyone can join in on the challenge. I invite guest artists and friends to chat and discuss art whilst we create, and I have a Discord channel where we share our final pieces and provide feedback and support. You can find my stream schedule at www.twitch.tv/anqiart, make sure you follow and join in! This issue, we are addressing the theme journey. Journeys not only consist of success stories, but also have their share of challenges. Can you share with our readers a few of the biggest challenges that you had encountered and how you were able to overcome those challenges. One of my biggest challenges has been sharing my art and my process. I’m sure many artists can relate, when you create a piece that doesn’t meet your expectations, and you never feel ready to share it. The problem with withholding art, is that you end up stopping yourself from progressing onto new pieces. This can be debilitating as an artist, and I often find myself in this spiral. My decision to start live streaming was intimidating at first, especially after watching established artists on Twitch. There was a lot of set up and anxiety attached to engaging with a live audience. But I am so glad I persevered. Reflecting back, I’ve reminded myself to focus and enjoy the process, and less about the final product. My new challenge is maintaining consistency. What advice do you have for creatives who are feeling demotivated, lost or discouraged? Initially, I wanted to say ‘don’t give up’, but sometimes you need to know when to take a break. Read your body and your emotions. If you are feeling unmotivated or discouraged, identify the cause, then solve this before you attempt to create again. One of the worst things that I can do is keep creating when I’m feeling unmotivated. If I create something below my standards, it would make me feel worse off, reducing my desire to be creative. Now that we have heard about your challenges, let’s celebrate your success stories. Can you share a few milestones with our readers and explain how these have helped you develop as an artist. After completing my Master’s in Interactive and Visual design in 2012, I started focusing on my career as an educator, whilst developing my brand Anqi Art on the side. During this time, I’ve said yes to as many creative projects that I could. Here are some exciting milestones I’ve accomplished over the years: I created background illustrations for some animations for the WAnimate 3|Thirty challenge, which my team and I won two years in a row (‘The Shadow Oasis’ - 2018 and ‘Volcano’ - 2019). The 3|Thirty challenge is an annual competition where you spend 3 months creating a 30 second animation around a prompt word. You can find our winning entries at www.youtube.com/wanimate. •
My artwork has been featured on the Yagan Square digital tower in Perth City for the AFL semi-grand final win between the Eagles and Collingwood. I exhibited with RAW Australia in Perth, and featured in the Bare life drawing exhibition, selling prints and originals. I have recently created a series of creatures for an upcoming
tabletop RPG (role playing game). My more recent works have been acrylic paintings for private collections and corporate businesses. You can find my fiery wings at Iluma fine foods in Leederville, Perth. In 2019, I painted some large indoor murals, the largest stretching 13 meters, for a dance studio called Atmosfera. More recently, I have been live streaming creature design challenges and life drawing on Twitch, and selling my art on Redbubble. Under Anqi Art, I also design logos and branding solutions, I illustrate book covers, design tattoos, and collaborate with animation, audio, film and games design practitioners at SAE where I am a lecturer of Graphic design.
All of these projects have collectively built my confidence and abilities as an artist, and I am very grateful for every opportunity that comes my way. Have you ever been commissioned to do any strange/unusual art pieces? Tell us what the commissioned piece was and where it can be viewed. I once had a client (a middle aged lady) who commissioned a massive, detailed, nude charcoal drawing of herself. It was a Christmas gift for her boyfriend. She came to my house and posed for 2 hours, where my dad helped me set up the awkward session. I was working at a picture framing shop at the time, and she spent a silly amount on an extravagant frame afterwards. The framed artwork was so large, it would be impossible to hide. I often wonder if they hide it at dinner parties? Is it hanging in their lounge room? Are they still together? I can’t help but giggle when I think of her unique gift. What is your favourite commissioned project so far and why? My most enjoyed commissioned project would have to be a series of creature illustrations I created for an upcoming tabletop role playing game (Io RPG by Cheeky Monster Games). The client created a world of playable unconventional fantasy and scientifically accurate creatures, from horticultural giant to intelligent fungal beings, all which needed illustrating. I’ve always been fascinated with strange animals, and heavily inspired by James Gurney (Creator of Dinotopia), Terryl Whitlatch (Creature Designer for Lucasfilm), Frank Frazetta (Godfather of fantasy art), Brian Froud (Fantasy Illustrator) and natural history illustrations. My art has always gravitated towards the theme of world building. I practically modelled my Master’s project off creature design. This project has been one of the most inspiring and exciting one that aligns with my interests, and it rekindled my fascination with nature and animals at a time when I needed it the most. What makes your creative pieces instantly recognisable and shout Angela Liu? I draw naked ladies and creatures. Although a contrast, I’ve been told there is cohesion in my mark making and ‘style’. My ladies are often quite realistic, rendered in black and white, with fluid lines. I focus on observation and problem solving. I love how the human body can stretch and squash, and when you think you know your proportions and anatomy, the model does a handstand and you are left with a whole new puzzle to work through.
ARTWORK 02 | Hippojellymus
My creatures combine my fascination in exotic animals with my creative exploration. They often end up very vibrant, glowing and wet looking. It’s all about trying to create believable creatures based on real animals. However, with my recent time limit on streams, form doesn’t always follow the function. Is there an issue or topic that we should all be addressing, creating awareness around or bringing light to? Why do you think it is important to start a conversation around these issues/topics? People blush when they think of naked bodies. The respect and appreciation of the human form in all its shapes and sizes; is liberating. Women across the globe are being objectified, so promoting body positivity and being able to shed light on the beauty of nudity in a tasteful and artistic way, is important to me. My creatures are a little more spontaneous, in that I just love learning about animals, and creating new, wild creatures. I hope that through my explorations and creations, I can help inspire others to learn about animals, to be appreciative and compassionate towards everything nature has to offer. Do you incorporate any of these issues or topics into your creative pieces? If you answered no, could we expect to see this in the nearby future? I draw to create, and creating makes me happy. I don’t feel that my art necessarily always needs to reflect an issue, and if it does, it will be ever changing and revealed in time. If you could spend a day with any renowned artist, past or present, who would it be and why? How will you spend your day together? I would love to meet James Gurney, and paint animals and landscapes alongside him, plein-air style - maybe in the Swiss alps. I would pick his brains on his experience with rendering artifacts at excavation sites for National Geographic, and how unveiling ancient civilisations inspired him to create the world of Dinotopia.
Tell us about those little birdies of yours. Would you say your creature designs stem from your love for animals? Definitely! Many people don’t understand birds, and find them alienating (like fish). However, with the right care and attention, they can bond with you like no other animal. Unlike dogs, who aim to please, you have to gain respect from a bird and build trust. Having them cuddle up to your face is the best feeling ever, and they smell amazing. My partner and I have two little parrots; Charlie, a peach face lovebird (@charlie.lovebird on Instagram - more famous than me), and Lemon, a yellow budgie. Being a bird person has allowed me to appreciate the intricate details in nature and animals, which is a major influence in my art now. Two things that are unique about Angela Liu: 1. I draw my women thick and chunky 2. I love Pocahontas ARTWORK 1 DESCRIPTION // This is one of the strangest creatures I’ve created; a Quetzalcoatlus x Dragon fruit x Snail. I created him in a live stream session, with the help and request of viewers. I love the combination of size dynamics, incorporating a plant, and exploring a secondary palette that I don’t often use. ARTWORK 2 DESCRIPTION // This is another favourite creature from my creature design challenge streams, a Bluebottle jellyfish x Hippopotamus. I trialled many variations in my initial sketches, from a hippo made out of jello, a hippo body with a jellyfish face, to a tentacle monster with a hippo mouth, and ended up with this cute and believable design. Can this be purchased anywhere? You can adopt both these creatures from my online store at anqi-art. redbubble.com
Aneliya Barenska ILLUSTRATOR | SOFIA, BULGARIA A G E | 36
I N S T A G R A M | @an e l i y a.t el i a F A C E B O O K | @b a r e n s k a B E H A N C E | A n e l i y a Barensk a T O O L S | i P ad P r o , P r oc reat e
DESCRIPTION // I am really fond of jazz music - in particular the open air summer festival in Sofia called A to Jazz . This jazz event creates an incredible vibe and is gaining in popularity every year. I hope one day to be the main creative behind the visuals for a certain edition (still working on it). Through this very own aspiration of mine, I got inspired and thus the creation of these drawings with musical instruments.
Briefly run us through some challenges that you may have faced or are still facing in your creative journey. How did you or how are you overcoming these challenges? I’m always facing the big impostor syndrome. Things rarely click quickly for me, and I need to put a lot of time into my work in order to be satisfied with the final illustration.
How would you describe your style? Bold colours and strokes, made with ink and aquarelle. I also draw with my tablet and pen.
Time is my biggest friend and my worst enemy. When I gather myself and focus, I’m capable of strong concentration and am productive with challenging deadlines. However, this is not the case when I have a few projects running simultaneously.
Briefly outline your creative process. What are the major steps? I often draw on my tablet, it’s quick and easy - but I do love the lazy weekend days, where I can experiment a little bit more with watercolours and inks. I am too impatient to draw thumbnails and often jump straight to the final illustration of its original size. This requires many iterations, every time starting with the same idea. But I see my progress after each one. I get an overall sense of happiness and enjoy polishing my final piece, after several attempts and seven or eight wasted papers later. If I draw on the tablet, things are usually simpler, with many, many layers in the program. Though in both cases, I like to leave the illustration “ripe” by coming back to it either the next day or in a week where I put the final touches, such as background, effects etc. Who and/or what influences your work and why? I get my source of inspiration from daily life - things happening around me, TV series I watch. I then usually mix all this with my own characters and ideas. I’m still working on my style and I’m trying to find my own voice. Thus experimenting with simple autobiographical comics, drawing digitally, working with aquarelle and ink - sometimes a mix, has helped with the process.
What challenges have you been faced with as a creative amidst the COVID-19 pandemic? Most of my commissioned work comes through recommendations from friends and clients. This usually happens during face-to-face events like talks, presentations, exhibitions, conferences, beer evenings, and co-working spaces etc. It’s hard to meet new people online, especially through cold contact, but I’m mastering my artist presentation via mail. I’m also trying to be persistent with updating my social media channels. As we have all been in isolation, this gives creatives a lot of time to experiment and discover new techniques and or styles. Does this sound like you? If so, please tell us what you have been doing. For me it’s hard to say “no” and I find that I’m constantly running from event to event. I became really focused and channelled my art energy, eventually allowing myself to maintain a good productivity pace. I made a subscription to Domestika - a platform with online courses for creatives. Through there, I found some nice and inspiring artists that work with traditional media. I have been a big fan ever since. Leave some words of positivity with our readers who may be going through harder times than you are amidst COVID-19. Persistence and small steps always work for me. Although sometimes it’s OK not to do anything. Just be kind to yourself and allow some downtime. The journey of an artist has many ups and downs, and we should learn to ride those waves, no matter what direction they are going in.
TITLE | A to Jazz
TITLE | Canyon Escape
Anna Brockless ILLUSTRATOR | BOYANUP, WA A G E | 26
I N S T A G R A M | @f yrenova T W I T T E R | @F y r e nova W E B S I T E | a r ts ta ti on.c om/ f yreart T O O L S | A d o b e P hot oshop , Cl i p St ud i o P ai nt
DESCRIPTION // Aki, the fiery ex-pirate, and Lucia, the soft spoken elven mage, are dungeon adventurers from an upcoming project of mine. After raiding a dragon’s hoard, the duo attempts to escape on their horse, Striker. It’s supposed to be fun, yet exciting - leaving viewers to think about how the characters got into this particular situation. This illustration was an experimental piece to practice storytelling and to get a sense of the character’s personalities. Aki and Lucia’s personalities are polar opposites, but somehow they make their partnership work. I wanted to create a piece with a sense of adventure reminiscent of anime in the 80’s and 90’s. How would you describe your style? My style is very anime, specifically from the 80’s and 90’s. Growing up, I was greatly influenced by Sailor Moon, so that has definitely left an impact on me as an adult. I love drawing big, expressive eyes and faces with big fluffy hair. Briefly outline your creative process. What are the major steps? I just start by sketching. I will usually sketch a few different thumbnails before deciding on how I want the illustration to look. After settling on the thumbnail, I then sketch the scene. I don’t look for reference until after the initial sketch is done as I want my creative freedom to not be hindered at first by trying to make it too rigid and correct. Once I am happy, I will do an anatomically correct sketch over the top of the first sketch, and then I will move onto lineart. I am still learning with each piece, so I try not to get stuck for too long on one part of the process. Colour is definitely the hardest for me. I always want to make everything bright and saturated. Flipping the canvas between colour and greyscale helps me stay on the right path. Who and/or what influences your work and why? Kunihiko Tanaka and Nobuteru Yuki are the two biggest inspirations when it comes to character design and style. I love their use of expression in their manga’s and their sense of adventure. I also like that the female characters are a bit more gritty and have a sense of wear and tear to them. When it comes to colour I am influenced by old video games such as Spyro the Dragon. The colour schemes of Spyro were extremely bright and vivid, making the world seem magical and far from earth. It sometimes feels bizarre pairing a western video game with Japanese anime for influence, but I feel it also creates a new style and something unique.
Briefly run us through some challenges that you may have faced or are still facing in your creative journey. How did you or how are you overcoming these challenges? Backgrounds and colour theory, I find, are the hardest parts of the art process. Setting the mood just right with colour can be the difference between a good illustration and a great one. Pushing values on my work is something I am working on. I usually stay within the same ranges of values, either all darks or all lights. Backgrounds are another struggle. Perspective is super important when creating illustrations or art of any kind, and if the background doesn’t match, it can throw everything off. Using reference, and more than one reference, is how I try to overcome both of these struggles. What challenges have you been faced with as a creative amidst the COVID-19 pandemic? I make a good portion of my income from commissions and conventions. Due to the pandemic, the conventions have been closed, and of course people are saving every penny for necessities. Art doesn’t come first to many people and so finding work without cutting myself short has been difficult. As we have all been in isolation, this gives creatives a lot of time to experiment and discover new techniques and or styles. Does this sound like you? If so, please tell us what you have been doing. Looking at this from a positive view, the lack of freelance work has been beneficial to me working on my own projects. I am pushing my work harder and have more free time to practice parts of the creative process I struggle with. Every illustration I’ve done over the past few months I have focused on one part of art that I usually avoid. It has been wonderful to have the time to focus on skills I needed to brush up on without worrying that I should be working instead. Leave some words of positivity with our readers who may be going through harder times than you are amidst COVID-19. Lower your expectations during the pandemic. No one is able to move forward in life right now and it feels as if life is at a standstill. It’s hard not to think that you’re “wasting time” or “life is getting away from you” - but at the end of the day, it’s out of your control. Wear your masks in public, wash your hands, respect people’s space, and this pandemic will be under control sooner rather than later. The sooner we all put ourselves on pause instead of trying to rush through the pandemic, the sooner it will all be over.
Danial Shafi’i ARTIST | PERTH, WA AGE | 24
I N S T A G R A M | @f l y f r e shhunni es F A C E B O O K | @f l y f r e shhunni es W E B S I T E | d a n i al s h af i i .wi xsi t e.c om/ f l yf reshhunni es T O O L S | O i l p ai n ts, G l az i ng med i um, Canvas, W ood en F ra me
DESCRIPTION // Illusive was created during the initial stages of COVID-19, after a dream job opportunity fell through. I was very unsure of my next step in life. I found a canvas I had purchased and never used and decided to try oil painting for the first time. Much like in life at the time I was very unsure of what direction this painting was going to take. The final piece shows a girl at her natural resting state, holding a shrivelled rose. Behind her is a thriving rosebush. In some way I believe this depicts how I was feeling at the time, we are always looking in front of us at what we can never see the full picture of what is to come. How would you describe your style? I would describe my art as semi- realistic. I often pull inspiration from other artists whose art influences me in some way or another. This particular piece was influenced by a local artist Murray Smoker. I saw their painting when walking past an art gallery almost 3 years ago and have loved the idea ever since. I decided to use this inspiration for my first oil painting and along the way tried a few different styles of roses, backgrounds and even body shapes before deciding on what I thought would fit my vision. Briefly outline your creative process. What are the major steps? As this was my first ever attempt at oil painting, I knew I wanted it to be very traditional. For each aspect of the painting such as her hair, her eyes, the rose etc I researched and tested different ways of painting before I decided on what was right. Taking my initial inspiration I wanted a powerful woman in the centre of the canvas as I believe it immediately stands out to anyone who may view the work . After sketching this and beginning to work on her face it was really trial and error from there and I often had to repaint sections that I didn’t believe were working. This did get frustrating as I tried almost four backgrounds and often had to ask my girlfriend to hold a rose in a certain way so I can see the way the shadow lands, even if it was at 2am. Who and/or what influences your work and why? As previously mentioned the Art Gallery Temple of the Muse in Perth influenced this piece, although it is no longer open. At the time I had recently started my degree and was always looking for local galleries to see what art was out there. The initial painting by Murray Smoker titled ‘Demeter’ drew me in, but all the art in the store showed people in strange situations that didn’t always make sense. This stuck with me as it was so different to the usual landscape paintings I had seen. Looking back on most of the art or animations I have created I always seem to pull inspiration from multiple things in my life that inspire me or have influenced me in some way during that time period. I take little
parts of each of these things and mold it with my idea to create the final piece. For me this means my inspiration is always changing and therefore so is my art style. I believe that is such a big part of art, continuously growing and trying new things is how art is made rather than doing the same thing every time. Briefly run us through some challenges that you may have faced or are still facing in your creative journey. How did you or how are you overcoming these challenges? I often change my mind about what I want or where I want to end up. I am still overcoming this and I think trying new mediums and tapping into that creative side helps me realise what I enjoy the most. It is hard to not compare yourself to the people who are at the top but I always remind myself that everyone has their own journey and even those at the top had to work hard to get there. What challenges have you been faced with as a creative amidst the COVID-19 pandemic? As I had recently graduated just before COVID-19 hit I went into this year with a lot of big ideas, one of them being my move to Sydney to work in animation. This was very close to happening. At the time I felt stuck, lost and thought that I wasn’t ever going to get the opportunity again. As so many opportunities were no longer viable, I had a lot of time to think about what I wanted and make a new plan to keep trying as an artist! As we have all been in isolation, this gives creatives a lot of time to experiment and discover new techniques and or styles. Does this sound like you? If so, please tell us what you have been doing. Most of my time during isolation was spent on this artwork, it took me over three months from the initial point of inception to finish it due to everything else going on in life. For me this truly was an experiment, as I had never worked with oils before and had no idea how it would work out. Doing something creative during that time felt natural and it gave me a purpose everyday. Leave some words of positivity with our readers who may be going through harder times than you are amidst COVID-19. Sometimes you need to accept where you are right now in order to move forward. Everyone makes mistakes but the biggest one would be to not try.
TITLE | Illusive
TITLE | Sephora Collection Redesign Packaging
GRAPHIC DESIGNER | JAKARTA, INDONESIA A G E | 24
I N S T A G R A M | @d esi gni nt hemak i ng B E H A N C E | Ja cq u el i ne A z i s T O O L S | A d o b e I l l ust rat or, A d ob e P hot oshop
DESCRIPTION // I approached this project with a vision in mind, which included being cohesive, unique, memorable, approachable, and of high-quality. The design objective of this project was to elevate Sephora’s current private label and brand image - presenting cohesiveness across all of the products with consistent composition, design element, pattern, and a holistic colour palette. The goal was to make the packaging look more professional, high-end, appealing, and for it to stand out. The Sephora Collection is not only attractive to teenagers and young adults, but for women of all ages who are interested in affordable skincare and beauty, without sacrificing quality. How would you describe your style? Playful colour palette, youthful, and bold. Briefly outline your creative process. What are the major steps? First, I start off the project by creating the design brief, mood board, type board and target market. I then jump into the design development stage, where I start with sketches on various design directions. Since this was a student project from last semester, I was able to discuss and brainstorm with my peers and my mentor who helped me with the decisions on the design process. Who and/or what influences your work and why? This design concept was influenced heavily by geometric shapes and human facial features. All to closely represent the beauty products at hand. Briefly run us through some challenges that you may have faced or are still facing in your creative journey. How did you or how are you overcoming these challenges? I think the biggest challenge I found throughout the design process
was the starting point. I had to show up and really push myself to be divergent about the whole process. I eventually came up with much better and effective solutions for each project I worked on. What challenges have you been faced with as a creative amidst the COVID-19 pandemic? Most of the time I’m always working from home on my laptop. I didn’t encounter as many difficulties since everything was accessible through the internet. I was able to seek inspiration and still communicate with several of my clients online. Although there were times where I felt unmotivated and weighed down by those creative blocks - I tried to keep calm and do something else that would relieve me from stress when facing those creative blocks. As we have all been in isolation, this gives creatives a lot of time to experiment and discover new techniques and or styles. Does this sound like you? If so, please tell us what you have been doing. Yes, I had more time to reflect on myself and find my style. I haven’t figured it out just yet, but I’m trying to keep the momentum alive and maintain productivity through my daily routines. Also, I’m taking this time to start my long awaited personal project; being a part-time freelance artist offering graphic design and digital illustration work. Even though this has been quite slow in gaining interest from people, it was a big step for me. Leave some words of positivity with our readers who may be going through harder times than you are amidst COVID-19. You’re not alone, we are all in this together. Do not give up. Let us all keep on trying, and to give our best to anything we start. Enjoy every little thing in life.
Jasmine Lewis ILLUSTRATOR | PERTH, WA A G E | 22
I N S T A G R A M | @j a s l e wi sd esi gn W E B S I T E | al l th a tjas.c om.au T O O L S | A d o b e I l l u str at or
DESCRIPTION // After working from home for about 5 weeks, I now know all the angles of my desk and window, as well as being able to memorise every object in my work space. In moments of procrastination or lack of motivation whilst sitting by yourself at home, it generally calls for a ‘what is around me’ design inspired by isolation. When everyone at work is sharing photos of their temporary office space, I of course illustrate what is around me. The numerous cups of coffee, crazy plant, sticky note obsessed, and to-do list queen. Designing seems to be the only thing keeping me sane, distracting me and giving me a glimpse of creativity during a period of time that is not motivating at all. These strange times have pushed me to refine my design and illustration style - where I’ve been creating isometric and low poly pieces, which was a source of inspiration for this design. Paired with my personal brand colours, or perhaps colours that feel very ‘me’, is how I made it my own in case you were confused as to why there are blue plants. How would you describe your style? I wouldn’t say I have a set design style, or it could just be that I’m still figuring it out. But if I had to put 3 words to it, it would be bright, shapes and meaning. I’ve been leaning towards isometric and low poly design a lot lately because it’s a bunch of shapes that are simple, which have depth by using measured and precise design skills. Most of my designs are filled with bright, bold and contrasting colours which is a tip off to my personality. Everything I create also has an underlying meaning, whether it be from my country farm background, how I’m feeling at the time or pushing myself to try new design skills. Briefly outline your creative process. What are the major steps? I’m always ticked off by some sort of inspiration to start the creative process, whether I’m bored and scrolling through Pinterest or out on the farm with my family. There will be something out there I want to design or test a new skill on. This then leads me straight into Illustrator with a thousand different artboards. I’ve never been a huge drawer or sketcher, so I often skip this step. This is then followed by asking everyone around me for feedback - thanks Mum and Dad! Who and/or what influences your work and why? I feel like I’m heavily influenced by my upbringing and what is around me. I grew up on a big farm down south in Esperance, WA, where I feel I have a different perspective on things. I’ve always been inspired by the beaches that surround us, different aspects of the farm and the community we live in. It’s the small things. Recently, I’ve been developing all of my
Grandparents’ film photography from the 1940/50’s, and it’s inspired me to create and design something that uses those techniques and style. Briefly run us through some challenges that you may have faced or are still facing in your creative journey. How did you or how are you overcoming these challenges? The biggest challenge I’ve had to face is figuring out what to do with myself after graduating from University. I didn’t have any jobs lined up and I couldn’t figure out if I should freelance design or jump into an agency (which is pretty hard to get into anyway). I was cleaning up my portfolio and realised I didn’t have a style of design that suited me and I felt a bit all over the place. This took a lot of time, a lot of emails, job applications, practice briefs and YouTube tutorials to find what suited me and where I needed to be. What challenges have you been faced with as a creative amidst the COVID-19 pandemic? The biggest challenge has been finding motivation when you feel like there’s no point in designing. When people aren’t hiring or everyone’s tightening their design budgets, I feel like what’s the point in putting my creative work out there? It could also be the aftermath effect from weeks in self-isolation, perhaps trying to put yourself and your design out there can be a little scary and daunting now. As we have all been in isolation, this gives creatives a lot of time to experiment and discover new techniques and or styles. Does this sound like you? If so, please tell us what you have been doing. It didn’t sound like me at first, as I lost all motivation I had and wasn’t sure what my next move was going to be. After the realisation I was going to be stuck at home for a while, this is when I finally found the courage to try out some new things. I found my Mum’s old paint and craft box from 20 years ago and started painting A4 pieces of paper and putting them in frames. I’ve learnt some new 3D isometric techniques and put them to use by mapping out our farm. I’ve been entering different design competitions to keep my mind going and to push myself. Leave some words of positivity with our readers who may be going through harder times than you are amidst COVID-19. This is a good time to slow down, stop and smell the roses. While we’re stressed about work and not being with our loved ones, it’s important for our bodies to take a break, enjoy the simple things and recognise the important people and things in our life.
TITLE | Isometric Isolation
TITLE | Stories of A Meeting
Jeanne Saboureault ILLUSTRATOR | BRUSSELS, BELGIUM A G E | 27
I N S T A G R A M | @j a no.b xl P I N T E R E S T | @Ja no.st ud i o T O O L S | A d o b e I l l ust rat or, P roc reat e, P ap er, P enc i l
DESCRIPTION // I am a French Illustrator and Graphic Designer living in Brussels. This illustration is part of a new concept I just launched called, Stories of A Meeting.
feel loved. Everyone has their own special chance meeting, and it will never be the same person. It also means that there are many incredible people out there. It gives me faith in humanity!
I should start from the beginning:
Briefly run us through some challenges that you may have faced or are still facing in your creative journey. How did you or how are you overcoming these challenges? Getting paid is a challenge! It’s still hard to make people understand that even if you are having fun whilst “working”, you still have to get paid. So when I have time, I make gifts for the people that like my art, but can’t afford it. And I work really hard to find a way to live from my passion. Hard work will pay off for sure!
During the lockdown, I decided to design and post an illustration every day, once a day, on my Instagram account - talking about my daily life and how I wanted to run away from being bored. I had 100 followers at the time, mostly friends, so I didn’t really care about being “weird” or “gross”. I talked mostly about myself and sometimes I wasn’t trying to be funny - but people seemed to grow a liking to these short stories of mine. Soon, more and more unknown subscribers started to send me messages and talk about their daily life and how they could relate to my drawings. It felt just like we were back to the times of MSN, where we were missing the social link, and were happy to talk to anyone. I was also happy to make people smile - definite nod to something that I did. One day, I was talking to a stranger on Instagram, and I asked him: “If you had one chance meeting with someone that could change your life, who would it be?” That’s how I came up with the idea and decided to launch the concept for Stories of A Meeting The goal is to illustrate the importance of human interaction and meetings. They talk, I listen, they describe, I imagine, and then I create. Afterwards, I print 5 of the final illustrations and send it to them. What I love most about this project, is that it also started from a chance meeting on social media. It’s so dear to me. How would you describe your style? My style is illustrative, colourful and kind of geometric. Briefly outline your creative process. What are the major steps? People send me their story. I read and correct the text if I think it could be said in a more beautiful way, or if I think it’s too long, and then I send it back to the person who asked for the story. I ask them to describe themselves quickly, and the people involved in their story. They don’t need to provide a picture or image for me that’s part of the charm. By telling me about yourself and your story, I can imagine these scenes. Sometimes, it’s actually funny to find out afterwards that I was accurate about the colour details and the people looking just like how they do in real life! After this step, I draw five illustrations, then add in the colours with Illustrator. Sometimes if people want to, I post the story on instagram, but in any case it is always printed and sent out to the person once it is finished. Who and/or what influences your work and why? People, life, and love. Meetings are awesome, marvelous, and to me they describe the poetry of this world. In a split second, your life can become full of colour thanks to a person. It can also become a nightmare if it’s a horrible encounter. I’ve always loved stories like this: “If I hadn’t met her, I would still be on the streets.” Sometimes you also meet people that you would never see again, but within that hour, they may have impacted your life. Isn’t it wonderful? To be able to make someone happy, confident, inspired and
The fact that there are millions of artists wanting to be known and to live happily, I’m working even harder to be “seen” amongst the crowd. Hoping it’ll happen someday! What challenges have you been faced with as a creative amidst the COVID-19 pandemic? I lost my Grandfather due to COVID-19 when the lockdown began here. I couldn’t go back to France and I was anxious about the fact that I couldn’t see my family, nor go out of my flat. In these kinds of moments, you desperately want to say goodbye and be with the ones you love. I decided to work. And I worked so much that I made progress and could see the progress. I was really proud of myself. I think I did this at first to show my grandfather that he could be proud of me, and to also show my friends on instagram that I was alright, being ambitious and all. This whole project is about these weird times to be honest. How when you’re lost, it becomes interesting because you’re starting to look for answers. Even if it was a hard time, I think it challenged me a lot. This lockdown also didn’t stop people from wanting to get to know each other and talk to one another, even if it was a stranger. The first Stories of A Meeting I did was about a man that told me his story whom I’d never met. We just talked on instagram. The process was a challenge, but it was interesting because I had to imagine how he was, from his description and the way he talked. As we have all been in isolation, this gives creatives a lot of time to experiment and discover new techniques and or styles. Does this sound like you? If so, please tell us what you have been doing. I’ve been thinking about how I want to be an Illustrator that can make a living and have fun. So I learned about community management, made a website, created an illustration or more everyday, contacted people so they could see my work and give me advice. Right now, I’m doing my best I think. Leave some words of positivity with our readers who may be going through harder times than you are amidst COVID-19. The best meeting in your whole life is yourself. It sounds naive, but you will be with you all your life - so learn from the sad and tough times. When you are lost, always try, try and try. It becomes interesting when you start doing what you want, how you want and are not scared of failure anymore.
Jerrick Prince M. Julian
ILLUSTRATOR | VALENZUELA, METRO MANILA, PHILIPPINES A G E | 18
I N S T A G R A M | @y i h u a 0.0 T I K T O K | @y i h u a0 . 0 T O O L S | A u to d e sk Sk e t c hb ook P ro
DESCRIPTION // My illustration depicts a simple girl who spends her free time alone hanging out at the park as the day passes, waiting for something interesting that will take her attention away from her problems. I wanted to infer how patience is underrated, as the girl waits for “that” something interesting to happen to her day. I wanted to imply that even though it might take long, whatever you are asking for - as long as you have the patience, the moment will come for you. Especially in today’s time, some people usually rush things and expect that everything is handed to them. As everyone has their own pace, I don’t intend to meddle with people’s lives. I just wanted to imply that sometimes taking things slow is not that bad.
to further improve my works. The artist who inspired me these past few months, and is the reason for my current art style would be the Illustrator, Puuung. They influenced all the art styles I went through the years and made me the artist I am today.
How would you describe your style? I would describe my style as simplistic. My style focuses more on clarity rather than realism. I wanted to focus more on the simple side of things without worrying about tiny details. I wanted it to be simple enough to be readable, but also presenting it in a way in which it would be aesthetically pleasing to all ages.
What challenges have you been faced with as a creative amidst the COVID-19 pandemic? Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I am limited to creating art digitally as it prevents me from going outside to buy materials for my traditional works.
Briefly run us through some challenges that you may have faced or are still facing in your creative journey. How did you or how are you overcoming these challenges? As for my creative journey, I am still hesitant about my art style. But as time passes, I think devoting time to a single style helps me overcome this and helps me focus more on my recent works.
Briefly outline your creative process. What are the major steps? I usually start my artworks by doing things I enjoy, such as watching films and series, playing games, reading books, etc. These are usually hobbies that trigger inspiration, which leads to me creating illustrations. Having an inspiration makes the creative process more enjoyable in my opinion. I will then proceed to look up multiple references which gives me ideas on how I want my composition to look like. Several rough sketches are then drawn which I improve. I then use rough ink brushes for the lineart, and watercolour brushes for the colours. In the end, making people feel a sense of calm as they look at my work is my goal.
As we have all been in isolation, this gives creatives a lot of time to experiment and discover new techniques and or styles. Does this sound like you? If so, please tell us what you have been doing. Yes, for years I have been changing my art style as I cannot find the style that suits me the best. Anime-ish, Cartoon-ish, and even Realism were my go to style as years passed by. At this point in time, I am still learning new things to widen my skill set and really cement myself on a style I would devote my passion to. Everyday, I still look for artists who make me feel inspired and try to learn from them. In conclusion, I think that even without the isolation, I will continue to study my craft and always be a student.
Who and/or what influences your work and why? As a young artist, I grew up watching anime and cartoons, and reading manga and comics. These mainly influenced me to pursue art. Something about expressing thoughts and feelings through art piqued my interests.
Leave some words of positivity with our readers who may be going through harder times than you are amidst COVID-19. Stay strong, stay safe, and stay positive. We’ll get through this together as one. Don’t forget to love, and spread love.
As for artists, I admired Kazuki Takahashi’s work, as I grew up with Yu-Gi-Oh. I also admired Ethan Becker, an Animator who influenced me
TITLE | Attention
TITLE | Spit That Out!
Luca Brignoli ILLUSTRATOR | PERTH, WA A G E | 25
I N S T A G R A M | @q ui et .l ab W E B S I T E | l u cab r i gnol i .c om T O O L S | A d o b e P hot oshop , P roc reat e
DESCRIPTION // Spit That Out! is an illustration made in response to the arbitrary value we place on different animals in our society, in particular when it comes to eating animals. In creating this, I acknowledge that my reasons for not consuming each of these animals differs significantly - based on their appearance, perceived intelligence and where they lie on the spectrum of pest to pet. Even as someone who has the privilege of having chosen not to eat any meat. I enjoy the uncomfortable feeling that comes from the simple and playful style being in juxtaposition with the visceral subject matter, which depicts various species of animals chopped up into pieces and starting to jumble together. How would you describe your style? Bold, clean colours and lines. I’ve said before that even my work in the physical space often looks like it was created on a computer. This particular illustration is based on a style I developed for my part-time hobby of handpoked tattoos. In creating designs for this purpose, I reduce the subject down to simple linework while retaining what makes it interesting to me. Briefly outline your creative process. What are the major steps? As a Designer by trade (and as the recent owner of an iPad), I am used to creating in a wholly digital space. I will usually use reference images to suit or spark my concept, then go over them very loosely so I don’t accidentally “over-trace” or get influenced by exact forms, before refining the sketch to my own style. When I am painting I will create an image digitally before projecting and tracing it onto my canvas, so that it fully utilises the space available. Who and/or what influences your work and why? I am a huge fan of Keith Haring’s use of iconography and bold design, and the wit and fast paced imagery that David Shrigley is still churning out after so many years. In terms of this illustration style and handpoked tattoos, there are so many people to whom I am extremely grateful for just putting their work out there. I mostly use Instagram for inspiration and artists like @notcoolneverwas got me interested in where illustration and tattooing could be pushed with a handpoked style. I am also always particularly in awe of the work of Australian artists like @poko_ono in this sphere.
Briefly run us through some challenges that you may have faced or are still facing in your creative journey. How did you or how are you overcoming these challenges? I struggle with using social media to get my work out there and into the public eye, no one wants to seem disingenuous but sometimes wanting to avoid that can result in me not posting any work for months at a time, which then creates a looming backlog. I am trying to have more confidence in what I create and realise that it has to be out there first if anyone is going to see it/support it. What challenges have you been faced with as a creative amidst the COVID-19 pandemic? While COVID-19 has caused me to actually have more time to pursue creative projects, the transition has been a bit overwhelming. I’ve gone from full time work and having creative projects set aside for the evenings or weekends, to having all personal projects all the time. I think creative fatigue is real and I am slowly re-learning how to manage that. As we have all been in isolation, this gives creatives a lot of time to experiment and discover new techniques and or styles. Does this sound like you? If so, please tell us what you have been doing. I’ve taken the time to get really stuck into a series of paintings I had been putting off for a while, as I never found the time for them previously. In doing these, I’ve rekindled my love for painting and I’ve been enjoying taking my time and getting more of a feel for the process. Also, as I’m sure many creatives are, I’m taking the time to create a new website where my online portfolio can live, something that I hadn’t delved into as much previously. Leave some words of positivity with our readers who may be going through harder times than you are amidst COVID-19. I understand that I’m in a very privileged position to even be able to gripe that I’m not having as consistent of an output as I would like during this pandemic. In case any creatives or anyone at all needs to be reminded; however you’re keeping your mind and/or body engaged during this time is valid and important. We’re all experiencing this, but we’re not experiencing it equally - so reach out to those around you to both offer and ask for help when you feel you can. BENTO 51
DIGITAL DESIGNER & TYPOGRAPHER | FREMANTLE, WA A G E | 21
I N S T A G R A M | @vi tami nmd esi g n W E B S I T E | vi ta m i n m .myp ort f ol i o.c om T O O L S | A d o b e I l l u str at or, A d ob e P hot oshop , A d ob e i nDe s ign, Adobe Dime ns ions , Ble nde r
DESCRIPTION // This set was created in tandem with my newfound 3D rendering skills - brought to light during the unprecedented times of lock down earlier this year. Wanting to refine my typographic display skills as well as learn something new, I combined the two forms of media to create a more dynamic, spacial design. I’ve been obsessed lately with rendering items into a gelatin texture, so I thought that fruits might be the best way to convey the sweet, sugary tastes I imagine every gummy I create has! Especially since everyone loves a fruit flavour à la Allen’s Snakes. Being able to mix different textures and substances really helps each letter form have its own feel and mood in terms of display. I hope that further on in the future I get even more time to develop my gummy-making skills, just, with maybe no virus involved this time.
Briefly run us through some challenges that you may have faced or are still facing in your creative journey. How did you or how are you overcoming these challenges? As a recent graduate in COVID-19 times, I lost a huge chunk of motivation and self-worth during the weeks after graduation. I felt like all the work I poured into my subsequent years at Univeristy were dashed by my last semester being online only. The workforce around graphics was also severely impacted, wherein I thought I wouldn’t be able to find employment in my field - this limited my self motivation on personal projects as I thought it would never amount to anything special. I learned to use this extra time to work on and gain new skills, like 3D modeling and rendering - that would ultimately help me in the future.
How would you describe your style? My style is constantly changing, but I root myself within the more out-there, abstract design. That being said, I have a huge fondness for simple and interesting character designs mainly found in Japanese mascots. My obsession with Sanrio may have started when I was super young, but still to this day I’m amazed at the range of emotion a one mouthless cat can deliver! While I focus on the more feminine side of things, I just plain like anything that’s cute! Having something so simple invoke a range of feelings is great.
What challenges have you been faced with as a creative amidst the COVID-19 pandemic? Along with the aforementioned graduate woes, the inspiration for personal work was at an all time low. As I prefer to make more positively focused work, most of the media and general mood at the time was very doom and gloom! Even all the Sanrio characters were donning masks and socially distancing. I used this social change as an example of using design to make something good in light of the bad, so trying to have a positive spin on things was a bit hard at the time!
Briefly outline your creative process. What are the major steps? My creative process is quite backwards, actually. Usually I get a majorly fun idea at my busiest times, when I’m preoccupied with something else and would rather work on something fun! I’ll sketch a quick draft or scribble a vague note on a sticky note and place it in an inconspicuous place for me to find later. After a period of time, I’ll randomly find it again and get to work! I think leaving the ideas around gives me inspiration in times when I’d usually be totally lazy. After that, it’s usually getting down to business, then the usual route of saving final.png, finalfinal.png, FINALfinalfinal.png, until I’m content with it myself.
As we have all been in isolation, this gives creatives a lot of time to experiment and discover new techniques and or styles. Does this sound like you? If so, please tell us what you have been doing. Yes! As mentioned before, I recently took up 3D modeling and rendering throughout programs called Blender and Adobe Dimension. I always strayed away from 3D elements in design because personally, it all looked so hard and labor intensive! Applications like After Effects scared me away throughout its acute functions and learning curve! However, I did want to try something new, so I gave 3D digital sculpting a shot, and I was able to learn the ropes pretty quickly through free online tutorials and podcasts. It’s really amazing how streamlined new Adobe applications are, like Adobe Dimension! Being able to render objects in real time in super fun textures like gelatin and fur is such a great starting point to bounce ideas and projects off of! I would highly recommend anyone looking to learn 3D to start with Adobe Dimension.
Who and/or what influences your work and why? As mentioned before, I take quite a bit of inspiration from more Japanese origins - I just think everything down to the finite detail in terms of both design and lifestyle are streamlined so easily. The use of a mascot design for nearly every facet of life, like to promote a local sewer or gynecologist in a cute way, just really puts into perspective how design can be used to subvert and twist people’s expectations and feelings. I think having that power to visualize your point of view on any subject in any way you see fit is incredibly powerful - and I mean they have a pink penguin mascot for a brand of douche in Japan, so that’s like ultimate power to me. Wanting to be able to express my points of view on subject matters, as well as using my skills to brighten other people’s view of the world is my number one priority as a creative. That’s why I think Sanrio and other cutesy-based companies enthrall me so much!
Leave some words of positivity with our readers who may be going through harder times than you are amidst COVID-19. Never let anything distract you from what made you fall in love with creativity in the first place. It took me a while to learn, but now I’m at my most productive and happy! Remember your skills can help others in amazing ways!
TITLE | Fruit Punch - Typographic Set
TITLE | Lockdown Feels
Nora Gazzar ILLUSTRATOR | LONDON, UK A G E | 33
I N S T A G R A M | @n oragaz z ar T O O L S | A d o b e I l l ust rat or
DESCRIPTION // This piece is an illustrated humorous reflection of the lockdown experience. I was interested to illustrate my observations on how everything turned upside down in a matter of weeks, and how much it has impacted mine and everyone else’s life... with a sarcastic twist of course. A lot has happened in those past few months, from the stockpiling frenzy of unusual products, to the pressure of maintaining a spotless place, as well as the pressure of utilising every single minute of the time available to develop and learn something new, to videos circulating of “how to make your own mask”, all the way to the realization that I’m probably not going to the beach this year (so far). It has been a lot to take in and process. On a more positive note, I’ve managed to keep a plant alive all that time! How would you describe your style? If I were to choose keywords, I’d say humorous, clean, minimal and colourful. My work isn’t about the complexity as much as it’s about the implementation. Briefly outline your creative process. What are the major steps? I usually start off by having a rough sketch of the idea, followed by gathering references, then illustrating and colour exploration. When doing personal pieces, going with the creative flow is key, I don’t “stubbornly” adhere to the initial concept, if it’s not working or doesn’t turn out how I imagined, I alter and adapt until I’m happy with it. You’d be surprised how much an idea develops if you allow yourself to embrace that possibility. Who and/or what influences your work and why? Observing my surrounding and injecting sarcasm in everyday situations, regardless of how mundane or trivial they may seem. With the sea of content out there and numerous platforms showcasing amazing artists, I make sure I get my daily dose of inspiration. Developing my critical eye is as important as my illustrative skills.
Briefly run us through some challenges that you may have faced or are still facing in your creative journey. How did you or how are you overcoming these challenges? One of the challenges at the very beginning was publishing my work online for people to judge it. “Is that the best representation of my work to share publicly?” is a question that haunted me, but shifting my perception that it’s just a space for development and exploration helped me get over that. With so much talent out there, it’s like a double edged sword; both serve as a constant reminder of why I got into illustration (because it’s amazing!), but it also simultaneously evokes self-doubt. I tell myself to just follow the most shared advice in the creative field, just keep doing what I’m doing and I’ll eventually get there. What challenges have you been faced with as a creative amidst the COVID-19 pandemic? Like everyone else, I had my ups and downs. Started off the lockdown with very ambitious/ unrealistic goals. As much as it seemed like I had all the time in the world, getting myself to commit to daily practice was challenging next to my full time job. But with consistency, small steps helped me maintain my productivity during the inconveniences of the pandemic. Leave some words of positivity with our readers who may be going through harder times than you are amidst COVID-19. Developing and learning is important, but don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s easy to guilt yourself all the time for not spending your downtime being productive, forgetting that having fun is part of the process too. Find ways to make your development process enjoyable. At the end of the day, you’re doing it because you like it.
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