Editorial illustrations for The Guardian: Part One

It seems I’m on a roll with The Guardian, which is good news for this Guardian fan girl. They are doing a six part series on the impact robots will have on our work and lifestyle.

Part one starts with this paragraph, which gets my mind racing: When Aristotle described “the complete happiness of man”, he thought it would include, among other things, “self-sufficiency, leisureliness and unweariedness”. Unfortunately the philosopher concluded that “such a life would be too high for man” – it was suitable only for the gods. All the same, he encouraged humanity to keep striving to get as close to “complete happiness” as possible.

Read more here, it’s a pretty neat article.

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I am Syria

As you can probably tell from past posts and projects I’ve worked on, the current refugee crisis breaks my heart. When I say refugee crisis, I should emphasise that refugees aren’t the problem. It’s the treatment of them by countries who have vast wealth and facilities *cough cough* Australia *cough*. Honestly.

I won’t go on about it right now as the purpose of this post is to share with you a recent illustration commission I created for The Guardian and UNHCR. Working for The Guardian is a bit of a dream, really. I consider them some of the last real journalists. Also, UNHCR do incredible work, so again I was humbled to work on such a meaningful piece. The illustrations help to explain the disastrous situation in Syria while reminding us that there is always the possibility of peace and a brighter future. The below is just a small section, to view the whole piece click HERE.

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First film photos since moving to Melbourne

I moved here a couple of months back and have only just taken myself on a proper photo mission around the suburbs of this glorious city. Yeah, the weather has been a bit rubbish. But supposedly bad weather is what gives a city its soul. It means more indoor activities and moody art. The photos from this day however were of sunny skies and (not that you can see it) warm floaty scents of the beginnings of spring. Unfortunately the colour and lighting is a bit off with most of the photos from this set as I only had my hands on 400 speed film. Who cares though, I had fun. Scanning in the negatives last night was part of the fun. A process I’ve missed.

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Flower arranging as meditation

I’ve been freelancing at a creative agency for the last couple of weeks. It’s quite an interesting jump from running my own business to being back in that kind of world. Really lovely people to be around though.

This weekend I did a whole lot of nothing. It’s what I needed. I did however pick some flowers from the garden and thoughtfully arranged them. Ikebana is an ancient form of art and meditation in Japan. It’s something I’ve enjoyed since I was a kid, but I of course didn’t know what it was way back then. I just used to walk around barefoot in my childhood garden snipping off lavender, azaleas (the leaves so sticky), ferns and nasturtiums. I would then sit on my front porch and take my time with arranging them just so. Then off to proudly present them to my mum because that’s who they were always, always for.

Virginia Woolf portrait

Oh, those sad and weary eyes break my heart. A very short but poignant quote of hers that I like to remind myself of from time to time:

You cannot find peace by avoiding life.

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My recent work featured in The Age

I have been very quiet on the blog front these last few months. I blame it on preparing for moving house….and now a couple of weeks settling in to said house. I moved from country Victoria to a suburb near the city of Melbourne. I can’t express how much I’m enjoying the creativity of this city and the warm hum of its people.

Another piece of excitement recently was having my work featured in an article on The Age. The work is from an educational app I provided illustrations for to help prevent racism in schools. I wrote about it a few blog posts ago. It was such a worthwhile project to work on and I feel so grateful for the opportunity, hey. You can read more about it here.

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So it goes

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As someone still swimming around in grief, I found comfort in reading Slaughterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut (possibly my third reading?). I find this particular paragraph from the book to be quite softening for me:

“The most important thing I learned on Tralfamadore was that when a person dies he only appears to die. He is still very much alive in the past, so it is very silly for people to cry at his funeral. All moments, past, present and future, always have existed, always will exist. The Tralfamadorians can look at all the different moments just that way we can look at a stretch of the Rocky Mountains, for instance. They can see how permanent all the moments are, and they can look at any moment that interests them. It is just an illusion we have here on Earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone it is gone forever.
When a Tralfamadorian sees a corpse, all he thinks is that the dead person is in a bad condition in that particular moment, but that the same person is just fine in plenty of other moments. Now, when I myself hear that somebody is dead, I simply shrug and say what the Tralfamadorians say about dead people, which is “so it goes.” “

I made this painterly caricature tribute to Vonnegut. I wish I could send it to him, apparently he used to be quite warm toward his fans. But his body is in a bad condition at this moment in time.

creativity and how it can make you feel like you’re about to burst

It’s funny how there are times where I feel like the blood running through my veins is a shade of beige. But then suddenly, it’s like I could explode from all of the ideas and creativity I want to experience. The latter is me right now.

I’m craving a photography mission soon. And I will do it. Most likely with my film camera as it’s been a while since I’ve felt the anticipation of having film developed.

I took this particular photo a couple of weeks ago. It’s my dear Mia cat enjoying some afternoon sun. She knows what’s good for her. I love that scene in The Hayao Miyazaki documentary where he is looking at his cat saying “Look how carefree she looks….you have no schedule”.

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Latest project: illustrations for an educational app to reduce racism in schools

Well, it seems that the universe has an understanding of the types of projects I would be over the moon to work on. One I’m currently a part of is an educational app for Australian children, put together by an incredibly worthwhile charity, All Together Now. My involvement is to design characters and provide illustrations for various scenarios based on exclusion around racism.

A bit more about the app: “A recent study of NSW teachers’ found that only half of classroom teachers had undertaken professional learning around incorporating anti-racism strategies into lessons, with 20% not having taken any professional learning in the area of multiculturalism. 60% of teachers agreed that implementing anti-racism strategies are effective for fostering cultural inclusiveness in school….In response to the findings in our research and development phase, All Together Now will be creating an evidence-based app that will teach students in Year 2 (8 years old) and Year 4 (10 years old) how to identify and challenge non race-based and race-based exclusion….”  You can read more about the whole project here.

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Personally, I was on the receiving end of some pretty harsh bullying at primary school. It hurt in more ways than one. But the sad thing is, I can remember instances where I joined in on jokes and jaunting of other children who weren’t Caucasian, (because they weren’t). It’s incredibly shameful to admit. If I could take it all back, I would. So I guess the next best thing for me to do is to contribute to positive change, now.