Michaela Gerrity, 28, from Auckland, has been a high school Art/Design teacher for 5 years.
We came across her amazing illustration while browsing http://www.behance.net/MichaelaGerrity
(Head on over and give her an appreciation)
Her style captivated our imaginations and her simplistic illustrations leave you wanting more.
Here’s what she had to say about her creative process and love of art.
I completed a bachelor of visual arts, a post-grad diploma in Fine Arts, then realised I didn’t really want to be an artist full time. To me being an artist was turning out to be a very isolating profession and I kind of felt out of touch with the ‘real world’. I decided I wanted to be out in the world helping people so I went to teachers college.
Have you always been creative? Or is it a new venture?
Yes, I have always had an interest in Art, but it wasn’t until my last year in high school that I took a sculpture class and really loved it. I had always underperformed academically and really struggled through most of my subjects. I hated school, but I felt really at home in the art department.
What inspires your work the most?
Definitely amazing visual information from science and fashion, stories. I used to be really interested in creating quite busy complicated compositions and trying to show lots and lots of images and ideas in one place. But now I think simplicity is way more powerful and interesting. Recently, I have been way more driven by emotional states, especially the idea of loneliness and isolation. Also falling in love had a big impact on my work.
How many hours do you spend on illustrating and what is your process like?
Drawing for me is a very part time thing and something I would like to make more of a priority in my life, as it is so rewarding and challenging. I guess some of the detail in my work makes my process quite intense, it requires lots of focus, which is probably why it’s so hard to sustain. I always listen to music and have lots of resource images around to give me ideas. I will usually complete a drawing over a few sessions. My process is pretty laborious. I find reference images in books/magazines/online then use them as the base of the drawing.
Do you have a piece of advice or a illustrating technique for our readers?
One thing I struggle with is time and motivation. I usually don’t have much energy to do my own work after my day teaching. My advice for anyone who has a similar issue is just chip away at things gradually. Its cool how much progress you can make if you put aside an hour every so often.
Its also great to fill your brain with inspiring stuff you love, I have pin boards at home where I collect images that give me ideas.
Why is it important for you to be creative and how does that influence your teaching?
For me it is important to be creative as it makes life meaningful and more beautiful. To me teaching is a very creative practice; like art it’s all about ideas and problem solving. I love teaching because teenagers can be really unpredictable and come up with unexpected ideas and solutions in their work.