Thursday, April 28, 2011

Natalie Hughes "Crowd of Creatures"

Natalie Hughes is an illustrator from Norfolk, England. She graduated in 2009 from the University of Gloucestershire and is currently looking to find a publisher for her children's book, she is also available for commissions  ( With TYT she speaks about her favorite creatures, never getting bored and why it is fun being allowed to act like a kid.

I adore your crowd of creatures. How do you create your favorite creatures? 

Natalie: Thank you so much! I start off by doing a bit of research.. looking at lots of photos, making a few sketches and getting an idea of its basic shape. Next I draw out the character in my own style, scan it in and add colour and texture using Photoshop. Since uni I've been collecting/creating scanned in textures which I collage together.

What is the best part about being an illustrator? 

Natalie: The best thing about being an illustrator is never being bored. I always have something to do and a new illustration to plan. The other best thing is being allowed to still act like I'm a kid...being an illustrator means you can use your imagination... writing stories and designing characters is always fun. I have a valid excuse for still reading children's books !

Where do you get your inspiration from? 

Natalie: Travel is my main inspiration. When I can't go travelling I day dream about travelling.. the thought of all the endless possibilities out there, all the different people,cultures and places to see. I'm really inspired by the natural world too.I had a really nice childhood surrounded by pets and trips to the countryside, I think this had a massive impact on me. When I need a bit of inspiration I watch movies..I'm obsessed with movies!

Do you have favorite illustrators you'd like to collaborate with? 

Natalie: I've got quite a few collaborations in the works..including a charity colouring book called the Oh GOSH Project.  Off the top of my head some mega talented illustrators who I'd love to work with are James Burlinson or Bart Aalbers . I'd love to collaborate with an animator too, it would be great to see my characters come to life! In my dreams I'd work with Shaun Tan or I'd go back in time and collaborate with Charley Harper or Edward Gorey!

Can you remember the first creature you ever illustrated?

Natalie: I can't really remember, but I do remember the first drawing I did which I was proud of. I did a drawing of a wicked witch, with shelves behind her piled up with bottles of colourful potions. I wonder if I still have it..... and I wonder if I saw it now whether I'd recognise any of my style in it!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Helga Thagaard "Never a certain kind"

Helga Thagaard is an artist from Denmark. Her work ranges from sculptures to graphic art.With TYT she speaks about imaginative art, masks and birds.

What is it like being an artist in Denmark?
Helga: Well it is rather difficult to make a living. Only very few persons are able to do that. But there are many  possibilities for exhibition. You can either pay for it or you can be invited by a private art union, of which there are many. But there are many other ways.

How would you describe your work? What inspires you?

Helga: My work is partly naturalistic partly imaginative. Birds have always been one of my motives, although they are never a certain kind. I also often use masks. This makes the atmosphere in the artwork a little surrealistic. 

Do you have a favorite artist? 

Helga: Yes, I have many favorite artists. Danish: Among others Reidar Magnus, Sven Wiig Hansen. From abroad: Cesanne, Miro, Anselm Kiefer, Degas, Kâthe Kollwitz and many many more.

What advice would you give young artists that are only just starting out? 

Helga: Just: go on, go on, go on. Never give up!

Monday, April 25, 2011

THE LOCAL, photography series by Eliza Gregory: "Art strengthens community"

THE LOCAL: holding on and letting go is a Melbourne-based series of photographs and interviews by Eliza Gregory. She is an artist and writer from San Francisco and lives in Melbourne. Eliza likes to make art about people and their places. In an interview with TYT Eliza speaks about telling stories about people with photography and why her project helped strengthen her community. 
The series is now available to view online at The next showing of THE LOCAL will be at the Global Gallery, in Paddington, NSW (which is essentially in Sydney). It runs from May 6-15th.


Your exhibition "The Local:holding on and letting go" in Melbourne just started. What does this project mean to you?  What inspired you to this project? 

The project consists of portraits of people from many different backgrounds, paired with interviews about the process of cultural adaptation. People tell stories of moving from one country to another, dealing with rapid change in the country they've always lived in, coping with prejudice and cultural repression, and navigating the process of building and maintaining one’s personal cultural identity.
The project is conceived of as a way to help mitigate the social isolation that many new immigrants or marginalized populations feel. It’s also designed to catalyze new relationships by breaking down cultural barriers and prejudices so that people can more easily get to know each other. 

Do you think your project strengthened your community through art? 

I believe that art is essentially about communication, and communication is what builds relationships between people. One measure of the health of a community is how many relationships there are. The more quality relationships you have in a given area, the happier and healthier people in that area tend to be. So to me, art is something that can often lead directly to strengthening communities. This project is based upon that idea, and is designed specifically to catalyze and support relationships between very different people or groups, which it can be difficult to form without some kind of boost.

Did some of the pictures you took change your view on your community? 

Oh definitely. That's what this project is all about--trying to see the people that you pass on the street every day and don't really notice. This project has helped me get to know so many new people, and learn so much more about their lives. I feel a very different relationship to my community now than I did before this project. I feel personally embedded in my community, and excited and interested in it. And I feel a lot of affection and admiration for all the people I got to know over the course of the project.

What part does photography play in your life? 

Well...a big part! For me, photography is both an end in itself--I enjoy trying to make something beautiful, and so each picture is another chance to reach that goal--and a tool to achieve a specific end. In this project, I wanted to have a small but meaningful impact on my community by demonstrating my respect for the people who live around me. Photography, audio recording, partnership-building, and personal relationships were all tools I used to achieve that goal. I think photography is a great tool for a project like this because it is fun and quite straightforward: it's easy for people to understand what I'm doing. It also is reproducible, so it allows one image to be used in many different ways: in an exhibition, as a gift to the subject, and online to reach a larger audience.

So photography is both eminently practical in my work, but it's also something that moves me. It makes me excited about life, happy to be alive, happy to feel curious about others. I think photography really celebrates learning and feeling, and those things are very important to me. 

How did people react to your project? 

People are really supportive, and it couldn't happen without their support. It begins with the support of the staff of the organizations I partner with. Those people have to believe in the project in order to introduce me to their clients. Then THOSE people (the clients) have to believe in the project in order to feel like they want to participate. And then a whole bunch of other people have to be excited about the project in order to come and see the exhibition, or look at it on the web. This time, I also used the crowd-funding platform called Kickstarter to help catalyze enthusiasm and financial support for the project, and that has been extremely successful. So, in general, I'd say people have really been excited about the project. They have described the exhibition as feeling welcoming--as though they are part of a close knit community, even just standing amongst the photographs. I really like that.-

Joe Boy and Donnie
Duc Toan Diep
Nick, Pha, Belle and Rory

For more on Eliza Gregory visit


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