Produced in association with Officeworks.
To quote Petra Collins, Minna GIlligan “creates potent, psychedelic drawings and paintings that evade time and space like mirages.” Simply put, everything she touches turns to technicolor
We recently stopped by (announced) to Minna’s studio – after having let her loose on Officeworks, which is honestly a personal dream of mine – to shoot where the marker magic happens.
But enough about us (if you want to hear about how nice we are, she mentioned us in her blog )!
Being the ever-delightful human that she is, Minna also answered some marginally nosy questions we had about her creative process and how she gets her productivity on. Anyways, here’s
Wonderwall the lady herself:
What are your essential ingredients and/or rituals before sitting down to work?
I like to make sure I have everything I need on my desk before I sit down to work. I don’t like interruptions or even getting out of my chair when I’m in ‘the zone’ so I will make sure all my materials are easily accessible on my desk. I may put a record on, or a podcast, or play something on ABC iView if I’m working on some drawings; I treat these things as a bit of company while I’m working because it’s often very solitary!
What are your best tips to avoid procrastinating?
Giving myself deadlines is really helpful because they’re scary and give me that extra push to meet them. I do try to minimise distractions – I might turn my phone on mode while I’m working, if I don’t want to be interrupted. Scheduling breaks is good too because you can sort of use a reward system, like “If I work for an hour, I can go for a walk and get a chocolate bar” or something really basic like that. I would also say, when I’m painting and making work, I don’t tend to procrastinate too much because it’s something I love and something I want to do – so, if you do something you actually enjoy, procrastination isn’t a super big issue!
How do you source inspiration?
I source inspiration from literally everything. I’m super into collecting found photographs and printed ephemera from the 1960s and 1970s so I get a lot of material from those things – I like to think of my works as composites of memories – both my own, other people’s, and those I’ve conjured up in my head. I obsessively document exchanges and thoughts online which serve as a kind of library that I can draw upon when I’m feeling a little stagnant in the inspiration department.
Can you describe your creative process?
My processes are intuitive and largely based on feelings. I like evidence of immediacy in artworks, not evidence of labouring – I work quickly and do not plan what something is going to look like before I do it. I might be using a found image as a catalyst for the kind of drawing I may make, or if I’m painting on fabric I will be working with the patterns already on the surface. I like the magic of making without knowing the outcome. I think that’s why I’ll never get sick of art.
What do you do if you hit a wall and/or can’t get past a blank page?
I’d probably get up and go for a walk to the nearest Op Shop or something and have a browse. I might scroll through Tumblr a bit, or move onto something else more practical like emails and then go back to the work I’m struggling with. I’ll try and remain calm and have faith in the fact that eventually I will be able to push through!
I definitely see myself as unique as I manage a freelance illustration practice as well as my fine art practice. I sometimes get self conscious that people see my illustration practice as something that “devalues” my fine art practice, but I see it as a valid means of expression that allows me to fund my fine art ventures and general life expenses. Not to mention the fact that I enjoy making illustrations for a client just as much as I enjoy making paintings to be shown in a gallery.
I think boundaries between what is seen as ‘high art’ and ‘low art’ are being broken down more and more given the accessibility of the internet and spaces on social media. Artists are embracing these spaces almost as galleries, displaying their work and facets of their life. I see social media as a great equaliser that has the power to make art accessible across the board.
Popped into @dainesinger this afternoon and was happy to see my painting hanging alongside Zoë Croggon’s beautiful collage in the gallery stockroom! ?? #zoecroggon #dainesinger oh, and a little bit of Jordan Marani in the top right! ??
What’s some of the best creative advice you’ve gotten that is practical and has really stuck?
Probably from my Dad who has allowed me to think of my art practice not only as a creature vocation but as a viable business vocation. If ultimately I want to make a living off my art, I need to be able to flit between a lot of things and be a multi-skilled practitioner. I get my work ethic from my Dad too, sometimes taking on a bit too much – but I don’t think I’d have it any other way.
What are some songs/albums you employ to get in ‘the zone’?
At the moment I’m super into Dolly Parton, particularly her 1977 album ‘Here You Come Again‘ and her 1983 album ‘Burlap and Satin‘. I also have been listening to Heart – ‘Dreamboat Annie‘ and ‘Little Queen‘ a lot. I treated myself to a brand new fancy record player when I moved into my new studio and I’ve been using it non stop!
For your listening pleasure:
Photos shot by Amy Whitfield.
For a clear desk / clear mind head to Officeworks.com.au