Lost At E Minor launched just over 10 years ago as a way to celebrate all the awesome local creative talent that we were coming across who weren’t getting the attention their work deserved. We were on the look-out for amazing work and we found it in every corner of the country in the form of bold artwork, brilliant photography, soulful music, and engaging films. We’ve been showcasing creative Australian talent every day since 2005, and now we want to show even more appreciation.
So we’ve partnered with our friends at Coopers to present The Lost At E Minor Young Creative Australians Awards, seeking to unearth and promote the best emerging talent in the country. The awards are comprised of six categories: Art, Photography, Architecture, Design/Fashion, Film/video, and Music (DJ/producing).
We’ll be presenting Lost At E Minor’s nominations for each category in the lead up to Australia Day on January 26, 2016, and announce the winners of each category on that day.
But why stop there? Since Lost At E Minor is all about celebrating inspiring Aussie talent, our site will undergo an all-Aussie takeover on Australia Day 2016, where every post on the site will be locally themed.
The first category we’re covering in The Lost At E Minor Young Creative Australians Awards is Art.
Since our inception, we’ve been huge supporters of local art scenes around Australia, from Sydney to Strathalbyn. We’ve showcased illustrators, painters, sculptors, graffitists, and every other artist imaginable, that left you (and us) in awe.
We’ve narrowed down our search for The Lost At E Minor Young (21+) Creative Australians Awards recipient in Art to three brilliant artists: illustrator Fionna Fernandes, illustrator Kentaro Yoshida, and painter and illustrator Georgia Hill. Each artist has been outstanding in exemplifying out-of-the-box creativity that’s fresh and original.
Sydney-based illustrator Fionna Fernandes has wowed us with her epic artwork just months after graduating from university with a degree in visual communications. Influenced by pop culture, childhood sentimentalities and video games, Fernandes has already built up an impressive portfolio that sees her working with big name clients such as Chupa Chups and Officeworks.
How long have you been illustrating and how did you develop your unique style?
‘I have been drawing and creating since I was young. I would always doodle during class and make tiny animal sculptures out of blue tack. I was very passionate about visual arts during high school and went on to study Visual Communications at University, where all my electives were illustration related. After graduating at the beginning of 2015, I decided to make a website and Instagram account to showcase my illustrations. I gained a following and online presence on Instagram, where people began to contact me for freelance work.
‘I developed my unique style by experimenting with vibrant colour combinations, expressive mark-making patterns, and combining digital and hand-generated elements. Early visual styles I experimented with were psychedelic and oriental, which eventually developed into the aesthetic I have today. I practice drawing whenever possible to constantly develop my illustrations’.
What are you currently fascinated by and how does that influence your work?
‘Feeling nostalgic as a young adult, I am currently fascinated by my childhood and the ’90s era. Being a ’90s kid, I loved watching cartoons like “Rocko’s Modern Life” and “Rugrats”. These animations influenced me to use bold linework, vibrant colours and dynamic patterns.
‘As a young girl, I was also obsessed with the “My Little Pony” movie and toys. The playful character designs inspired me to not only use multiple colours, but also experiment with more feminine visual elements such as pink, flowers, hearts and stars. Having an older brother, I also grew up with video games. As a child, I was fascinated by the stylised and surreal worlds displayed in games, particularly “Super Mario” and “Zelda”. Video games inspired me to use fantasy subject matter and create dreamlike backgrounds. My childhood influences have remained with me today, and as a result, my illustrations have a youthful and playful aesthetic.
‘I am also currently fascinated by the internet, particularly Instagram and Pinterest. Today for inspiration, I like to use Instagram daily to follow the work of illustrators, brands and models I like, including Hattie Stewart, Lazy Oaf and Arvida Bystrom. I also use Pinterest to gather images of fashion photographs and patterns’.
You’ve worked with some big Aussie clients already. Was it difficult to gain recognition for your work initially?
‘I have been fortunate enough to work with big Aussie clients including Pedestrian TV, Officeworks on a video campaign, and Chupa Chups Australia and Give Art Science on a portrait series. Initially, I gained recognition for my work through the website ‘The Loop‘, an Australian creative community. My illustrations were sometimes featured on the front page and I gained some acknowledgement. However, it was only when I created my Instagram account that I started to get job offers and gain significant recognition for my illustrations. I am grateful for how many people follow and like what I do, as it motivates me to continue to illustrate’.
Describe your creative process for us, from an idea to the finished artwork.
‘During the ideation stage of my work, I like to create several thumbnail sketches and mock-ups in Photoshop to help me visualise the composition. To create my illustrations, I initially begin with a refined sketch. Once I am happy with the sketch, I ink the line-work using a pen and lightbox to trace. For the background of my illustrations, I use a paintbrush and paint to create mark-making patterns. I then scan in the linework and background patterns onto the computer. Using Photoshop, I combine the linework and background pattern, then colour, shade and highlight the illustrations’.
Graphic designer / Illustrator
[photo by Chris Grundy]
Born and raised in Japan, Kentaro Yoshida moved to Australia when he was 18 and studied visual communications for four years before working as a junior graphic designer. Now based in Manly, Yoshida is constantly impressing us with his original ideas, from illustrating surfboards to sunglass labels and bold streetwear brands.
Tell us how you first got into illustrating. Was it something you were always passionate about?
‘I’ve always loved reading manga (Japanese comics), which was a big part of the artistic culture in Japan when I was growing up. When I was young, I spent a lot of time drawing my favourite manga characters and during school I was constantly drawing/doodling on my textbooks. Later, at university, I got more into vector and digital illustration, so I suppose illustration was something I really enjoyed and did often, but I don’t think a true passion developed until later’.
What would you say has been the biggest influence on your work so far?
‘The fundamental structure and style of Japanese manga has a big influence in my work. Black and white or limited colour palettes and fine line work with intricate details are typical of manga drawings, and I use similar styles and techniques in my work too.
‘Living in Australia for the past 11 years has influenced my work conceptually a great deal also. And particularly for me, the differences between Japanese and Australian culture and my experience with both.
‘I’m also influenced by a whole bunch of great artists and illustrators from all over the world who work in crazy detail: Jeremy Fish, I love dust and Ben Brown, to name a few’.
When did you decide to start illustrating on surfboards? Are you a surfer yourself?
‘I started painting on surfboards in 2008 when one of my friends, a professional surfer from Japan, asked me to paint her surfboard. At the same time, a good friend of mine and surfer from Shikoku island, Japan, suggested I start painting on boards. I owe it to both of these guys for pushing me to start illustrating more seriously.
‘And yes, I surf myself. Ever since I’ve been in Australia, I’ve been surrounded by surfers and people involved in surf culture whether creatively, athletically or just for the lifestyle. And, living in Manly, I try to get out for a surf as often as I can — it would be a crime not to at such a beautiful beach’.
You’re originally from Japan. What do you think is the biggest difference in the arts community in Australia compared to in Japan?
‘To be honest, I don’t know much about the Japanese art community yet, as I’ve been in Sydney most of my adult life. I do feel, however, that nowadays because of social media and specifically Tumblr and Instagram, it’s much easier to put yourself out there and connect with other artists and communities around the world. Artists aren’t restricted by their geographic location anymore’.
Artist & Illustrator
Sydney-based Georgia Hill is an illustrator and artist specialising in hand-drawn artworks that push the limits of creativity. Using a range of media, Hill’s focus lies in generating large-scale murals and installations that have appeared all over the world, in particular The Michelberger Hotel in Berlin, where she focused on hand-generated works.
What is one thing that truly inspires you as an artist?
‘At the moment it’s looking at the structure of things, especially across different disciplines. I’m realising I’m very into how things are put together – layers of an artwork, architecture, jewellery design, even things like fashion editorials – how a scene is set, why that fits there, how the final letter form comes about and so on, and how I can apply that to my own compositions. That said, it could all change next week, so I’ll leave it at that!’
Walk us through how you went from illustrating to creating huge artistic murals across Australia.
‘I originally studied visual communications at UTS, Australia, and had a pretty short run at graphic design. My first studio job hired me mainly because I could do hand-generated type, and after tightening those skills in Sydney and Berlin, I got a bit fed up and just went full time on my own style.
‘I’ve always loved texture and pattern, so once I started concentrating on secondary elements to support my lettering in more of an ‘artwork’ sense, it all got bigger (figuratively and literally!), and the jump from exhibition pieces to full-on large-scale murals finally seemed right. I’d always wanted to do larger pieces, but didn’t really love where my work was at, so I’m happy I’m at a point where I can really commit my work to these bigger formats and it’s (hopefully) not be just another mural style people have seen before’.
A lot of your work has a black and white theme throughout. Can you explain why that is and if that’s a new style for you or you’ve just always been drawn to those colours?
‘I’ve always been drawn to black and white, but I tried to ignore it for some bizarre reason. The more I fell into art and illustration, I had to kind of make my own guidelines, which was admitting a lot of things to myself – what do I actually like, what am I interested in. I’ve always loved black and white, and excess and exaggeration, but also really tight, exact works, and I pretty much took those as guidelines and used that as my starting point. Cutting everything back to black and white really made me focus on textures, detail and line work, and using really simple manipulations, like inverting and physical manipulation, and suddenly it’s all falling into place’.
What has been the highlight of your artistic career so far?
‘I’d have to say the large scale murals I completed for First Coat (Toowoomba) and Wonderwalls (Wollongong) have been highlights, for the fact people trust you to get up and knock it out, and also the people you get to meet on these trips. I’d always wanted to go really big, so First Coat was a major step up, then Wonderwalls was, I guess, proving to myself I could do it twice (and without a helper!). I feel like each big wall never works out exactly how I intended, because I still have a fair bit of learning to do. So hopefully there’ll a few more coming up next year too!’