Let us introduce, Katy McHugh! We stumbled across her business card in one of our fave coffee spots, and have been ooohing and aaahing over her work ever since. She has graciously let us show off some of her talent to you. Enjoy!
Katy is a freelance graphic designer who works at a University in Brisbane and volunteers with The Brisbane Collective and the Gallery of Modern Art. Ta dah! Check out her Facebook and Instagram too if you like what you see.
What kind of art do you do?
I used to be strictly traditional - watercolour, acrylic, ink and charcoal. However recently I've fallen in love with things like digital illustration and paper collage.
When and how did you start doing this sort of thing?
I've always drawn and painted for myself, however when I studied Graphic Design I suddenly realized that my creativity could be a career. It's only been the last year where I've really started to promote myself and start exhibiting my pieces. It's been a blast!
What do you love about it?
I love being able to create something beautiful that can provoke an emotional response. I also use my artwork as a form of communication with the world around me. I've always studied languages, and art is just another one to be spoken.
What influences and inspires your work?
Everything! I read a lot, and spend hours trawling through Pinterest. I like to overfill my brain with material and then when I can't concentrate any more I just stop. I put down my work and go for a walk, do some cleaning, anything where I'm not focused on it. That's usually when the best ideas pop up.
What do you love about Japanese style?
Japanese is my second language and I love the culture. I've worked a lot with Japanese students in the past and they are so lovely. I'm still friends with students from years ago and visit them when I'm in Japan.
I adore the beautiful craftsmanship and the lovely use of colour and pattern. I am drawn to the concept of Wabi-sabi too. Wabi-sabi is all about seeing the natural beauty in the cycle of life, death and decay. It's all about art that is imperfect, impermanent and incomplete - quiet undeclared beauty.
What drew you to collage work? What do you like about it?
I'm a huge fan of antique and second hand shops. Looking through piles of old magazines and books can lead to the most incredible discoveries. Sometimes it's a bit like a treasure hunt.
Are there rules to creating a great collage?
No, that's what makes it so amazing! I usually create a collage to reflect how I feel in an exact moment - My setup is usually a table full of magazines, a cup of tea and music. Lately It's been Alt J - An Awesome wave.
Where do you source your materials?
All of my collage materials are second hand. I source them from op shops, antique shops and boxes in friends' garages that they don't want anymore. Using secondhand material is really important to me because of the amount of energy and water that goes into creating paper. I think it also helps when creating pieces about sustainability and animal rights to practice what I preach and try to use recycled materials.
Why do you mostly feature women in your work?
I feel incredibly lucky to live in a country where I have equal rights and opportunities as a woman. Unfortunately that isn't true for so many women around the world, even in this age of technology. I feature women to draw attention to their beauty, strength and importance.
Are there any other recurring themes in your work? What's with the animals?
I feature animals because I want to draw attention to their plight and the world around us. It's only been a few generations since we stopped being so close with nature and I think that connection is incredibly important. We have a great responsibility to the planet, that's what I'm trying to convey.
Which pieces are you most proud of?
I recently did a series of posters about Narcissism and Social Media. I was really proud of those collages and the amount of research that went into the imagery and media.
What is the hardest part about what you do?
Confidence. Some days you feel really wonderful about what you've made and others it all feels a bit silly. The most amazing feeling is receiving feedback from people, especially comments that show a person really enjoyed the piece.
How do you hope your work will impact people?
I hope that my art is something beautiful for people to see, I hope they enjoy it and that they draw their own meanings from it. However, I also hope that it makes at least one person stop and think - about anything. Art is all about communication, I would just like to get through.
What do you do for fun?
Besides Collage? I'm a bit of a bookworm, and I love curling up with a cat and a cup of tea to read. I also go to a lot of art exhibitions. And I Bend it like Beckham on Sundays at indoor soccer!
What is your favourite breakfast food?
Obviously it has to be pancakes, what else is there? All meals should be breakfast food.
What's your top living-room-dance song at the moment?
That's a hard one. It depends how I feel - If I'm energetic it's Peking Duk- Say My Name. if I'm a bit more chilled out it's probably San Sisco - Fred Astaire or Two Door Cinema Club - Undercover Martyn.