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artist q&a: philippa kruger

Sewing Machine

Philippa is an illustrator from Adelaide. She successfully combines pen and ink line drawings with digital collage to bring about interesting effects, which allows her to incorporate an array of fabrics and textures into her work, resulting in the perception of hand made illustration and design. I chat with her to see what she’s been up to lately and what it means to be a female artist.

What’s your background and have you always wanted to be an artist?

I have completed a Bachelor of Visual Communications (Illustration) and a Graduate Diploma in Graphic Design at the University of South Australia.  Roughly two years ago I started PipDesign to establish an outlet for my creativity and to develop a brand that would be recognised and trusted. This is where I work on both personal and client based illustration and graphic design projects. Ever since I was a child I have loved to draw and make things with my hands, so embarking on a journey in which I can do this full time is truly amazing to me.

What is your preferred medium?

I love to experiment and play, but my illustrative strengths lie in combining my pen and ink line work with digital collage. This process allows me to incorporate an array of collected textures and fabrics into my work. I’ve scanned in all sorts of things ranging from hand-made doilys that my grandma made to my mums tea towels and old dress fabrics. Adding a personal touch to my work is very important to me.

How would you describe your work?

If I would have to choose one word to describe my work it would be playful. I don’t focus on getting things perfect, I appreciate and embrace the natural imperfections that come with working freehand, even after I scan in my line work and begin to colour digitally. I like my work to look bespoke and hand-made, as though every copy is a one off.

Who/what are you influenced by?

I take inspiration from all the simple little things around me. I have my sketch book and a fine felt tip pen with me wherever I go, so that when ideas come to me I document them and it might be months later that I go back to that sketch to work with its potential. I don’t know exactly where these ideas come from, half the time it feels like they are popping in totally out of the blue. I like this process, as it feels really natural to me.

What inspires you to keep going and how do you keep yourself motivated?

I work extremely well from home. I keep myself motivated by setting lots of small achievable goals throughout the day. I break down large projects into tiny steps and I write lots of lists. I am a very methodical person and doing things in an order means that anything is possible. What keeps me inspired is my love for creating and drawing, it’s something that I can’t switch off. Ideas come to me at the strangest of times so it’s important I am always at the ready to document them.

Has your work developed over time?

I feel that my work is evolving all the time.  I am always open to expressing my ideas through my illustrations in new ways. For example, my drawings have transferred quite naturally from prints onto a range of greeting cards that I launched earlier this year. I am also in the process of having some of designs printed onto fabric.

Do you think the art world is still a man’s world?
To tell you the truth, this idea has not even crossed my mind. I believe that as a woman, it is important to move forward in a strong and positive way and having this belief is unproductive; eventually it will begin to show in your work. I like to think that i am where i am as an artist because of my talent, not my gender.
Do you think it’s more difficult for women to establish themselves is the art world?
I am going to speak from personal experience here, as a woman, I have not found it any more difficult to establish myself in the art world, although I can’t really compare! I think that above all it is so important to have the right mind set when establishing yourself in the industry; if you are dedicated and passionate then gender doesn’t play a role. (To see some of her work and next an exhibition she will be part of).

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