If your following wasn’t aware already, you’re a full-time graphic designer and “the rest of the time” creative - how do you find a balance with work and passion? Also, can you please introduce yourself?
My name is Amy Clemens and I’m a full-time graphic designer, part time illustrator. I studied graphic design at Swinburne University, and there I found my passion for all things design, but always felt drawn (pardon the pun), to illustration and art. Once I graduated, I started drawing more while I was job hunting. I set myself the challenge of completing 1 drawing a day for 30 days. In the end, it took 3 months instead of 30 days, but I had learnt a lot – mainly teaching myself how to use coloured pencils. I posted all my work onto Instagram and the rest is history. I now work in a small packaging/branding studio in Melbourne, and work on my illustrations on the weekend in my own studio.
I find balance really important in what I do and it is something I love about having both creative outlets. I find illustration a huge break from graphic design, it’s relaxing for me to use my creativity in another form. On the flip side, going to work full time in a studio allows me to pursue design, as well as paying the bills.
Compared to your earlier works, your more recent work has a positive influence to it, what inspires that positive style of art?
I draw people I admire, who inspire me or who intrigue me. I’m fascinated with portraiture, and how a portrait of someone can say so much about them and their story. I like to drawn strong women mostly, these are mainly the people who inspire me to create, or alternatively, I also like to explore the vulnerability within people. I think my art has become more positive over the years purely because I’ve grown up and become more confident in myself and my artistic style.
How long have you been illustrating/creating for? – how has your work and practice developed over time?
I’ve always been a drawer – ever since I was 4 years old and the other kids used to get mad at me for “hogging” all the coloured pencils. I started developing my current style of illustration in 2008, while completing my year 12 art folio, and haven’t look back. The biggest change to my work over the last 10 years was when I taught myself how to use coloured pencils. This was huge for me, I was always so scared to venture away from my trusty grey lead. This changed my work and also opened a lot of doors for me in terms of what I could do with my art and how I could explore new ideas.
What or who have been some of your main creative influences?
I am so inspired by some of the incredible female creatives in our business. Whether it be illustrators, artists, typographers, photographers or musicians, I am constantly in awe of women who run their own business and do it all alone, while still maintaining their integrity as creatives.
What’s your favourite part about your body and why?
I think that’s a really hard question, as like many women I am not really that confident about myself, and constantly doubt everything. My favourite thing about myself is probably my hair. It’s part of me which constantly changes (getting the chop, changing colour, style etc.), but I always feel confident about it. I think this probably shows in my work, as hair is one of my absolutely favourite things to draw, and probably one of my strongest skills.
What’s your idea of empowerment?
Women who do their own thing, regardless of what other people think and are confident in their own abilities and ideas.
What message do you have for those who are struggling with body confidence/self-love/weight or appearance issues? – What’s helped you in the past?
I can’t say that I am any sort of brilliant example of this, but you have to love yourself and be confident in who are and what you are doing. I think if you stick to your own convictions and push forward you will get to where you want to be. Another important one I have learned is to
never compare yourself to others – especially online. You can’t compare your worst day with an edited image on Instagram. In the end, you just have to be yourself and know that you are enough.
As you’ve gotten older – how has your perception of your body and confidence changed?
I think my perception of myself has changed, I’ve done so many things I never thought I could do. Body confidence is harder, as I wouldn’t say I’ve ever been very body confident. I just try and stay healthy, which makes me feel happy and more confident.
Do you think there should be more talk about body image specifically in the creative industry and what do you think is missing when it is in the spotlight?
I think body image and how it is portrayed is generally becoming better across all media. The idea of celebrating all women and their body has become far more accepted in recent times, which I think is so good to see. Healthy body types are being promoted in a wider sense, across
so many different platforms. This is important for all women, especially younger girls who rely on the media to guide them in their choices.
What I would say is missing is just more recognition of these ideas, and pushing them further to the point where having a positive attitude to your own body is normal, and not the other way around.
Where do you see yourself and your art headed in the next few years?
I’d really love to take my art further, whether that means expanding my print business or selling original pieces. I would love in the next few years to exhibit some of my work further; maybe in a solo show, but we will see how everything goes.
Do you have any mantras or words to live by?
Everything happens for a reason, and if it’s meant to happen it will. I’ve always been a huge believer in this idea, and it really helps me creatively and also personally.