You’re ¼ of the typographic girl gang “The Letterettes” - Can you please introduce yourself and share what you have gotten out of being apart of The Letterettes?
Hello! I’m a letterer and illustrator based in Melbourne, working from home alongside my English staffy Vince. In addition to my personal freelance work, I also join forces with girl group The Letterettes. Together we customise pieces with our lettering - be it cards, diaries, or items of clothing - as well as teach workshops and work on commercial projects. Isolating as freelancing can be, it is wonderful to be able to do what I do as part of a group. And a group that inspires, supports and motivates me!
You’re also no stranger to Praise You - third year! What have you enjoyed about being involved with Praise You?
Woo! Third year! And thank you so much for having me, it is an honour to be involved. There are many reasons why I love taking part - the fact that we’re helping to support The Butterfly Foundation and all the great work that they do; the exhibition also helps raise awareness around body image and self love, two topics that we need to make sure go hand-in-hand; plus it’s a chance to draw purely for the love of drawing - triple win!
Have you been met with any challenges as an artist along the way? (Personally or professionally)
Yes, to both categories. Being a small business owner is no easy feat, and with it brings a whole host of constant little hurdles. What to charge, how to talk to clients, finding new work. Then, as so many creatives are emotionally tied to what they do, these day-to-day work-related challenges naturally flow into our personal lives. For me, I’ve found it hard to separate myself from my work and so, for better and for worse, my self-worth is often linked to my folio.
What does body confidence mean to you? Is it something you’ve ever struggled with and why?
It has been a continual struggle since the age of 14. I’m now 31. That’s over half of my life not liking the body that I’m in. That’s rough, guys! I’m working hard on flipping that, but it ain’t easy. I think for me, body confidence would mean freedom. Free from shitty thoughts and free to eat without guilt and wear certain clothing without shame.
Can you please share a little about how you go into creating artwork and how you’d describe your style?
Style - I’m still working that out, but I think my style is often bright, colourful, fun, perhaps a little sarcastic. My work will always start with a pencil sketch, then refinement in black and white, finally adding colour. Even though I love colour it’s something I find pretty challenging, so I might spend a fair bit of time on this part of the process!
Do you tend to create from personal experience or from observing the experiences of others?
I would say both. More and more my work is reflecting what’s going on with me at any point in time; lately I’ve been focusing more on the message than the style in which it’s presented. And ideas for these pieces will come to me at breakfast, walking the dog, in the shower...just your standard, everyday activities!
What’s your idea of empowerment?
Backing yourself in a decision you’ve made, and feeling confident that you’re actually going to be OK, whatever happens.
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?
Being unwell or having someone close to me struggle (mentally or physically) has definitely made me grateful for the body that I have been given. Sure, I’m still working on loving it, but I can be proud and grateful for the things it can do...and thinking this way helps me with the self-love bit.
Praise You isn’t just about raising awareness for eating disorders and celebrating body positivity – it’s also shining the light on female support in the creative community, in saying that, what does inclusivity and its importance mean to you?
I feel we (society) have a pretty decent track record of pitting women against women. We can be our own worst enemies at times. So practicing kindness, empathy, and inclusivity is key to reversing that.
What inspires your style of art? What are the best ways you've found that have refined your practice?
The tools I use certainly influence it, my personal preference for being colourful and over-the-top, and definitely the books I read, the music I listen to.
Do you have any mantras you live by?
I stop and say, ‘Kate, you can do this’ about three to four times every day.
What advice what you give your 18-year-old self if you could?
Just do what YOU want to do instead of what you feel you should be doing. And don’t be afraid to take time to figure that out. This is the time to figure that out.
How do you keep up your creative momentum? Where do you look to for the drive to create?
Trying to keep myself as a healthy, functioning human is I think the best way to nurture creativity, because when I’m feeling crap - physically, mentally, emotionally - I got nothin’.
Who’s work are you currently loving right now and why?
Cyla Costa’s lettering is just so beautiful, and especially impressive when she paints smaller, detailed pieces by hand. And Megan McKean will continue to inspire me with her colours, her ideas and her drive.
Social media has been on a pretty interesting journey over the past few years - where do you see it now as opposed to two years ago?
It’s changed and I worry about what may happen with it in the future, as I admit I depend on it so heavily for work. Instagram is quite saturated now and I often treat it as a pretty demanding client. I don’t know if this is necessarily healthy, but I absolutely feel the pressure to be continually producing ‘awesome’ work, complete with progress shots, studio-quality folio photos, and a timelapse video to boot.