Meet the illustrator behind our S/S21 "Faeries" Print

What do you do? and how would you describe your work?

I'm an illustrator from Tamaki Makaurau Auckland. I usually work on lots of different kinds of illustration commissions, I also work on my own personal work and make prints and cards, etc. I try to keep busy with exhibitions and draws on the street such as the QuickDraw sketch gang. I guess I'd describe my work as quirky, dreamy and a stylish alternative narrative to everyday real life.

Did you have any trouble convincing our monochrome obsessed Designer to use so much colour?

Haha, I was a bit surprised (but very pleased!) to be asked in the first place as I know I'm at the other end of the spectrum from Jason's aesthetic in some ways, being quite a maximalist in my designs and leaning towards bright, poppy colours.  But there was no persuasion needed on my part as Jason was asking me on board to be myself and do what I do (which is always appreciated as an artist) and, after an initial brainstorm together, was very trusting... though admittedly we did do a bit of colour adjusting towards the darker end of the scale once the design was finished.

I am LOVING the little faeries sprinkled throughout this print, what are your favourite elements in there?

Yes I think the Faeries add a bit of a surreal element and keep it from just being a pretty floral print.  I looked at some old fantasy illustrations from the 1930's for inspiration - and my old childhood flower fairy books.  My personal favourite element is the wee caterpillar curled around the twig.

Your print has inspired a lot of joy for us, after spending the last almost 4 months in lockdown -  I wondered if you have noticed any impact or influence in your work post COVID?

That's nice to hear! I think Covid and actually even more so the threat of climate change and loss of bio-diversity  increases my determination to bring colour, joy and, especially, a love of nature into my work.  I like to include creatures from the insect kingdom as their part in the inter-connected web is important to life on earth but often over-looked.

What is it like designing now, compared to say 10-15 years ago when Social Media was only just emerging?

Social media can be a very useful platform for artists to get work out there. It can give a certain independence from relying on others (such as galleries or agents) to provide gateways into the wider world.  Although saying that, my friends (inc Jason) and I, of 15 - 20 yrs back, always seemed to find places to get our mahi out there, sometimes in slightly renegade ways.   And I do miss a little when there was much more face to face contact - although it could be a bit scary walking into places with your portfolio, people were always friendly and interested and because you've had a more personal connection than an email they were more invested in your work in the future and in helping out.  Instagram means a much wider audience though of course, including overseas and I enjoy the random little opportunities that pop up.

Any advice for young artists wanting to get into print making and design?

Draw heaps! Haha, I always carry a sketchbook with me these days which I can be experimental in with no attachment to the outcome and it's been really helpful to lead me in different directions and refine my style - I try to get it out instead of my phone when I'm waiting somewhere! (I have a few 'Covid queue' drawings)
I think if you follow your interests and strengths and draw what you love you will eventually (it may take a little while) find yourself getting the kind of work that is fulfilling and satisfying to you.
Also make sure you are immersed in a creative scene - make some illustrator mates and meet other creatives, it's hard to work in isolation!

We are SO ready for the New Year to arrive, what's in the cards for you in 2022?

A nice variety as usual! I'm painting a mural at the Maritime Museum in February which I'm quite excited about.  I have a small publishing job, some work for an exhibition to do, and whatever other jobs pop up randomly - there's not really too much projecting that can be done as a freelancer, which can be both fun and difficult at times.

Instagram: @rebeccaterborg_illustration