Saturday, 8 August 2009

The Red Door Gallery would simply not be the same if it wasn't for the wonderful support of independent and emerging designers and artists dedicated to presenting original, inspirational and affordable artwork.

In amongst all of these talented folk is the very lovely Gemma Correll. Based in Norwich, Gemma Correll is a freelance illustrator producing prints, zines and quirky accessories (including the ever popular 'bean brooches'....we can't get enough!). Gemma's works and her blog about her daily creative adventures always make us smile from ear to ear. Gemma adores drawing, making things, cuddling kittens and drinking coffee....sometimes all at once. Her work is a mixture of character design, pattern, typography and doodles. So when Gemma agreed to be our first interviewee for our monthly designer/artist feature we were over the silvery moon! Thanks for giving us a great fun read Gemma!....

Q - Please describe what you do. What materials/techniques do you use?

A - I'm an illustrator stroke crafts person (crafts girl?). I generally use pen, pencil, printmaking processes, collage and a bit of paint for my illustrations. Oh and trusty photoshop. I also make plushies and brooches out of felt and calico and hand-paint ceramics, among other things!

Q - Where do you live? How does it feed your art?

A - I live in Norwich at the moment, although I'm hoping to move somewhere warmer next year. I get a lot of inspiration from the people in Norwich, especially the ones that I see in the city at weekends who have probably never travelled any further than Great Yarmouth.


Q - Describe your studio. Where is it? How often do you use it? Do you work alone?

A - My studio is the spare room in the apartment that I share with my boyfriend Anthony, who is also an artist. He works in the living room (if you can call it that, our apartment is basically one big studio with a bedroom, bathroom and kitchen attached). I spend the majority of my time there, listening to music and drawing or sewing or packing orders....etc.

Q - What name do you work under?

A - It's just Gemma Correll. Very boring. Although I am under the impression that I am the only person called Gemma Correll in the world, which is pretty cool. There have been reports of a Gemma Correll in Australia but those have yet to be confirmed.

Q - Have you always been a designer? How did you end up doing what you do now?

A - After graduating I worked at Topshop for a short time, which was awful and then as a Teaching Assistant which was lovely but tiring. I was still doing my illustration work on the side. Now I'm financially able to survive as a full-time freelance illustrator, which is great - I'm really lucky.

Q - Where did you study?

A - I studied here in Norwich at the School of Art & Design. I graduated with a first class BA in Graphic Design, specializing in Illustration.


Q - What inspires you?

A - People and animals, things I overhear, old stuff that I find at car boot sales, Americana, kitsch from the 50s, vintage screen prints, music, breakfast cereals......pretty much anything.

Q - Is there anyone or any style that you're influenced by?

A - I think I started to develop my 'style' when I was young. I have wanted to be an illustrator since I was a little girl (it sounds cliched but it's true!) and I used to be quite obsessed with illustrators like Posey Simmonds and the cartoonist Giles. So they were definite influences on my developing style. I try not to be too influenced by other artists now and just concentrate on refining my own style. It's easy to look at someone like Lizzy Stewart and wish I could draw as well as her and want to emulate her style....but I don't draw like her. I draw like me.

Q - What piece of machinery or tool could you not live without?

A - Pens. Not the most sophisticated of tools, but if I was stuck on a desert island I'd have to have my pens. And my Macbook....

Q - Besides the products you sell at The Red Door is there anything else that you make?

A - I sometimes make jewellery but that's just for me....It's far too shabby to be sold in any shop, it tends to fall apart quickly.

Q - What are you working on at the moment?

A - I'm designing a tea towel for To Dry For, which I'm really excited about. That and a couple of editorial commissions.

Q - What do you do when you are not working? Can you switch off? How do you unwind?

A - I do find it really difficult to switch off. Even if I sit down to watch a movie I'm sewing bean brooches at the same time. The one thing that helps me to unwind is yoga. I go to a class once a week which isn't really enough but I don't have time to go to any more that that!Q - What's your favourite pastime?

A - Eating nice food and drinking coffee. And coveting other people's pets. We're not allowed animals in our apartment but I really, really want a cat and a pug.

Q - What do you like least about being a designer? Any occupational hazards?

A - It's very easy to procrastinate, especially if you're working from home. Also it's pretty hard work. I don't have a lot of free time. I work every day, including weekends and evenings. Sometimes I do think it might be easier to just go and get a 'real' job.....but I couldn't do it.

Q - What do you like most about being a designer?

A - I like that I can decide when I work. I don't have to ask anyone's permission to take a holiday or go and buy a coffee. As a freelancer, I can travel and take my work with me, which is awesome. I love being a designer and I realise that I am very lucky!

Q - What's your favourite possession? This can be absolutely anything!

A - I don't know really. I have a pair of shoes that I really like but to be honest, it's all material....I'd rather have a pug!

Q - What advice would you offer to other creatives?

A - Persevere! When you're starting out, it may seem like you're working really hard for no real gain....but it will be worth it eventually....honest.

LINK LIST. Who's work do you love? Any artists/makers/friends/galleries/websites you'd like to share.

Bjorn Run Lie www.bjornlie.com
Anke Weckmann www.linotte.net
Max Estes www.maxestes.com
Camilla Engman www.camillaengman.com
Lizzy Stewart www.abouttoday.co.uk
Anthony Zinonos www.anthonyzinonos.com
Lizz Lunney www.lizzlizz.com

There are loads more but I can't list everyone. I publish a blog about my favourite artists: www.illustrationisgood.blogspot.com


Thanks Gemma! You are definitely one of our favourites....

Pictures top to bottom, left to right: Bean Brooches, Cat Mart, Gemma's studio at home, Mickey Bouncer, Good Hair, I Like You, We Are Robots, I Love Coffee, My Idea of a Good Party, Favourite Print.

1 comment:

fmatthews said...

Nice blog!!

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