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Weekly updates

Georgia Hill is a freelance typographer, illustrator, and artist based in Sydney, Australia. With a degree in visual communication under her belt, and a dynamic ability to work within the modes of graphic designer and artist, she has scored numerous design projects, and has been involved in shows at Westside Connection, Global Gallery, and most recently  GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS! at the Tate in Sydney. We chat to her about how her work, and how it feels to be a girl in the world of art and design.

You recently showed at the Tate at Toxteth group exhibition, GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS!  Is this is the first group show you’ve been involved in?

I’ve been involved in a few shows in the past year, through the guys at Westside Connection with their Sidewayz fundraiser, and another one coming up at Global Gallery in Paddington; the brilliant ladies from Tough Titties and a few through The Wall at World Bar.

This exhibition seemed to be less about graphic design, and more about art. Your previous work is more stylistically aligned with graphic design, was this a big transition for you?

It’s not really a big shift – a lot of the graphic design work I do is inspired by the typographic pieces I work on, and vice versa. I’ve studied and work as a graphic designer but then I’ve always been drawing and painting, and my process and style has a very hand generated feel. It’s nice to get to a place where both of these approaches are working together.

Do you consider yourself more of an artist or a designer?

I’ve always painted and sketched, and I’ve been lucky enough to find a little style at a time when people are liking my aesthetic in both art and design. I completed a degree in Visual Communications at UTS which has gone hand in hand with the whole art knowledge of composition and so on – subconsciously I use a bit from both worlds to create both things, rather than try to be a graphic designer one day and artist the next. Right now I’m definitely more a designer and typographer than ‘artist’, but ideally within the next year I’ll be throwing in the designer day job and have my own studio space and really get into art and that process. Still, I don’t think there needs to be a line, as art isn’t created from one medium and neither is design.

What attracted you to the creative arts initially?

Compliments!? No, it’s just something I’ve always done, and something that really gets me excited and that I want to build on, work harder, be better, which is something I rarely stick out. Just about everything I see gets me going – which is a challenge, half the time I want to be Picasso and the other half I’m lost in super stylised typography, so I feel like I’m taking forever to cement a style I’m truly happy with. In the most basic sense I just enjoy things looking beautiful, and while there’s a million ways to do that I like that I can translate my impressions into something that looks nice and is a bit amusing too, rather than writing some diary that would probably sound like an angsty 13 year old.

Girls Girls Girls! is about girls, by girls. How do you feel being a female in the world of design?

I love it. It’s interesting for me as my style isn’t really the whimsical faces of girls with flowing hair thing, but I still have that feminine point of view. I do find I really prefer a lot of work coming from the guys rather than the girls, and I also find it interesting how girls work is compared to guys, and it’s something I keep in mind quite a bit. Boys seem to throw themselves at it where as ladies think it out, which I’m very guilty of, so lately I kind of aim to say yes and work like a dude and without the hesitation.

How do you feel about being called a “female” designer, as opposed to just a designer? Do you feel there is an obvious gender divide in your industry? Any specific instances you’ve encountered?

Well I’m still very new to the whole industry, but it doesn’t really phase me – I can’t say anyone’s ever said it as a bad thing! I’d rather work hard to be one of the best designers or illustrators than be recognised as being good enough ‘for a girl’. I don’t think that sex should be any kind of factor in shaping the recognition people get for their work, and I would love to see a few more ladies on boards and judging panels and so on, but I have to admit the majority of the work I see that I like is from the boys. Still, as far as working as a ‘female’ designer, right now as a young designer I feel it comes down to your attitude, being willing to learn, and the quality of your work more than your gender, which is how it should be.

What was your inspiration for this exhibition? Whose work are you loving at the moment?

I started dreaming up a series months ago based off big lights and vices – Vegas, gambling, ladies, losing yourself in the not-so-savoury things, distractions from real life, and I kept coming up with little phrases about these – kind of the gloss and the grit of it, where the nice look brings up the sadder side. I did a sketch of my first idea about Lady Luck, and this one has finally brought me to the second phrase, Lady Love. My inspiration is usually just how my head starts to string words together and the little rhymes and patterns that start, and kind of amusing connections I find between things in these little ‘ah-ha’ moments.

Lately I’m loving a whole lot of people – I don’t really know where to start! There’s a lot of running through endless blogs in my lunch break where I end up with a list of 40 artists, designers and typographers I need to follow up. I also love everything that’s coming from the Stupid Krap and World’s End, which I think is the general consensus across Sydney so no surprises there.

Who / what is your biggest influence? Who are your favourite artists / designers?

My biggest influence lately is colour, which I’m slowly coming around to using a lot more of. I feel like some corny shit is happening where I’m seeing things properly and when I add colour and get it right it all falls into place, but I’m really set on certain combinations and the feel they have – some of which don’t match the tone or words at all so I need to control myself.  I also love the whole world of video clips and fashion shoots, which is really far from type but I love how things can be so totally styled and overwhelming.

Also, just seeing other designers and artists that have decided to genuinely give their time to do things right and push themselves in their own style – I got obsessed Pau Bonet’s work the other day, Anna Pogossova, McBess, Joel Birch, the whole world of illustrators I’ve just met through The Drawing Arm – I think I like other artists who are doing things that I’m not, which could stem from a bit of jealously that they’re getting it so right! But also that I think you need to look to other disciplines and approaches, rather than what is just in your own practise.

Can you name your dream job / client?

I think if I got to have my own studio and just paint and draw all day, every day, I’d be a very happy lady. But in the real world of making money – anything that would be large scale painting. I love the scale and impact of Espo’s Love Letter series so if someone wanted to pay me to do that I wouldn’t be arguing with them.

What project have you worked on that you’re most proud of to date?

I really love the mural I painted for The Buffalo Dining Club in Darlinghurst, Sydney. It was four days up a ladder on a staircase, and the first job for the year –  even though it was a long haul I loved every minute of it.

Have you got any other upcoming projects / big plans for the future?

I hate this kind of question, I usually curse every job I have by mentioning them! In the too-soon future I have a big installation over two walls for a music label’s offices which I’m really excited about, a whole world of freelancing work, running away to Melbourne for Jacky Winter’s Field Trip and hopefully another agency’s walls on the books before I flee overseas. And find a studio. Phew.