During my time studying my degree in Fine Art, I was also developing a slightly more commercial illustration practice, which burgeoned with my employment at online magazine Rookie, based out of New York. This side of my practice exposed my work to a much wider, international audience, one that was not necessarily from a Fine Art background. I embraced this by sharing my work regularly on social media, and used the traction this exposure gave my practice to bolster my profile as an artist who also happens to do illustration, too. I think art should be accessible to anyone, without specific education – and this is why I enjoy that my work exists in galleries, but also online and in commercial settings.
Since graduating from the Victorian College of the Arts in 2012, I’ve undertaken a studio residency at Gertrude Contemporary, and gained representation as an artist at Daine Singer – a Melbourne-based gallery. Daine, the gallery director, has been a significant mentor and supporter of mine, particularly as I was starting out. I’ve done other things too, like publish books, write my blog, have exhibitions, take heaps of selfies and outfit photos (a favourite past-time of mine) and continuously/consistently produced work.
Being an artist is absolutely not glamorous, and I like to be upfront about this. I would love to be a full-time artist, and I admire anyone who can make it work – but the reality for me is that I need my part time jobs to pay my rent. I work part-time at Art Guide Australia, an art magazine, and I also teach drawing at Monash University. I honestly like my part-time jobs because they use different parts of my brain, and they give me the control and routine that I lack in my more creative pursuits. Also, when I am not working and I actually get time in the studio, I am absolutely raring to go to make the most of any time I get in there. Anyway, that’s a kind of convoluted summary of how I have navigated/continue to navigate my chosen career.
Minna Gilligan, Brass in Pocket, 2016, collage and acrylic on paper. Courtesy the artist and Daine Singer