a sneaky peek inside minna gilligan’s sketchbook

“In high school, we were encouraged to keep sketchbooks religiously… it’s probably one of the only useful things to come out of what I learnt at school.”

In issue 83 of frankie we have a stickybeak inside three creative types’ sketchbooks. Here’s artist Minna Gilligan’s.

“My artistic practice is concerned with creating wistful, psychedelic and atemporal spaces, in the form of large-scale paintings, drawings and collages. I like to reference 1960s and ’70s aesthetics (from the perspective of someone who didn’t actually live through that time). For me, sketchbooks serve as time capsules, and are a means of organising the paper ephemera I tend to collect as I go. I put all sorts of imagery inside – things I may have cut out that didn’t quite suit a collage, or something someone passed on to me.”

“When I was younger, I definitely went through a phase of scrawling down Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen song lyrics as mantras among the pages. I like to use old books I find at Savers as my sketchbooks. To work with something already existing – to add to it and alter it and leave my mark. This particular book was from the 1970s and about God, which meant lots of melancholy pictures of the unenlightened, and blurry Vaseline landscapes to collage and draw over.”

“I don’t usually enjoy people looking through my sketchbooks – it feels like exposing a private thought process. They’re usually an in-studio activity, when I’m in need of some completely no-pressure making time. Something that will relax me and allow me to collect my thoughts and collate my visual stimuli. I think that’s what makes them what they are: there’s no self-consciousness or end goal for me. It’s like my own language that only I can decipher.”

“In high school art class, we were encouraged to keep sketchbooks religiously, and it’s probably one of the only useful things to come out of what I learnt at school. I’ve kept them since then, but in more casual ways. I might go through a phase of working with one intently and finishing each page. Other times, they get abandoned and forgotten, which I don’t mind so much – people get too precious about ‘finishing’ a sketchbook. Who says it needs to be finished?”

See more wondrous sketchbooks in frankie issue 83. Nab a copy here, or subscribe from $10.50.

  • art
  • illustration
  • interview
  • issue 83

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    Michelle

    Author of many travel blogs and user of www.travelmustard.com