Thanks Laura Bernard for both entering and talking with us!
Tell me a little about your work and how you got started as an illustrator?
So I've always been an illustrator really. I was the kid at the back of the classroom doodling on the fronts, backs and insides of my Math book. Its been a thing that I’ve felt I’ve always had to do. Although through school I kept my creativity to myself until I discovered illustration in my final two years at high school and fell in love with the art world.
Did you attend university, if so where and what did you major in?
I have just completed my third year specializing in Illustration at Massey University in Wellington and plan to finish my degree in the near future at at a University in Melbourne. I have also done 6 months in Textile Design which is something else I am interested in.
What are some of the recurring themes or imagery and their significants?
I like to paint a lot of conceptual/ surreal themes and most of the time they evolve around things like intra-personal connections, or I suppose being alone too. Not loneliness, I don’t like that word, but just being by yourself. Being a creative introvert myself, I've dealt with lots of misconceptions and assumptions surrounding the word ‘introvert’ from the people around me. I think this is something that definitely seems to come through in my work.
Why do you hate water?
I hate water because my dad loves it. He made me go on many boat trips when I just wanted to be on land! Solid reliable ground. To make things worse, when he realized that I wasn’t so keen on water, he signed me up to a week long sailing course because "I must try it myself before I made up my mind" (even though my mind was made up!). I hated it more than almost anything. I do love underwater sea life and visual concepts including water but its not my thing (sorry Dad!).
All of my personal works do have titles, although commissions are usually just “Commission for ____”
The title always relates to the works, even if conceptually or personally.
Your pieces seem like part of a story, do you see them as little series or interconnected in some way?
I think that all of my pieces do have a connection, as I do like them to be consistent and coherent as one body of work or like a storybook. I also love the idea of creating works that women can relate to and connect with, one way or another. I like the pieces to show emotion, which usually comes across as Melancholic, so I’ve been told!
Can you tell me about the significants/ meaning of the titles for Lucidity and Prickly head?
Lucidity is actually hanging in my mums living room, she fell in love with it, it reminds her of me! The name’s meaning is primarily explaining the transparency of being up in your own head, and how clear things are up there! Almost like a lucid dream.
Prickly head imagery signifies the barrier that everyone naturally puts up. almost like a mental defence system. Prick them before you get pricked!
We all have deeper side; those aspects of ourselves that we don't share. My work exposes these by connecting women to their inner-selves. It's providing a vehicle for them to have their internal dialogue illustrated. So they can feel fine about feeling how they do, and ultimately be themselves. Being able to create work that connects and resonates with woman is what I try to accomplish, although it is tricky to illustrate emotions and things that aren’t tangible. I feel the best way I can do this is conceptually, with hidden motifs and symbolism, or even an illustration open to interpretation; where what it means or meant to mean is interpreted differently to each person.
What other things do you do beyond illustration work? (Day job, hobbies?)
Other than Illustration, which to be honest is what most of my spare time goes towards, I will bake, play some video games or do yoga. My illustration has been my part time job for the past few months, so since I am not studying any longer, I'll be looking for full time work to help save for my move to Melbourne.
What is your studio space like/ where you make work? What is your current studio "jam" (what you are watching or listening to while you work?
When I work, I do it in three different ways. I either listen to very very loud music (that I usually sing to). Quiet, mellow music that helps me focus on any tiny details, or I will watch a tv show/ movie for background noise. Ive always loved Radiohead, and they are fantastic to listen to; upbeat or Mellow!
I see that you have a furry studio assistant, what is his/her name and tell me a little about him?
Haha my cat is amazing! His name is Balto, he’s a bit chubby and he loves cuddles, licking, sleeping and sitting on my work. He accompanies me every day, and is good company! I will be flying him over to Melbourne once myself and my partner have found a place!
Thanks again for this opportunity, and hopefully I’ve answered everything!
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/laura__bernard/ (double underscore)