It's all I could imagine myself doing. Growing up, art and drawing was my happy place, a world and a language that I truly felt understood in. University was the first time I was introduced to the real range of artistic applications and I dabbled in my fair share of them such as film and graphic design before finally specializing in illustration which drew me in and excited me more than anything else, the shoe that finally fitted, one that I've worn ever since.
Your illustrations focus on a range of issues that affect society; When you create a new piece do you focus on the subject matter first and then develop an image?
I do, I believe that the story and idea behind a piece of work, is its heart and nothing beats the challenge of trying to communicate that. Usually the starting point is that moment where it hits you, an idea that springs to mind when inspired or moved by something. I don't like to plan too much, preferring to dive in and try things out, ideally everything will come together to make an image that speaks it's message. Sometimes it says what you want it to, sometimes it doesn't and can miss the mark. It happens, but if it was easy it wouldn't be worth it.
What do you hope people take from your art?
That when they've seen it, they haven't just 'seen' it, but they've 'felt' it. A lot of my work looks happy and colourful and but the actual theme and story behind it can be the opposite of that. I like playing with ambiguity, because when the meaning is hidden a little deeper into a piece, the audience have look a little closer to find it.
For example, I will disguise dark subject matters under bright colors and bold forms to create that contrast. Where people have to see past the initial charade, that attempts to deceive and divert their eyes, in order to understand it. Which I feel mirrors the act of seeking out the truth in a culture where everything can be dressed up/covered up to appear "fine", we have to work for the real answer.
Why did you decide that you wanted to depict the issues of plastic in your piece ‘The Great Plastic Wave?’ Has sustainability been an issue that has always concerned you?
I learnt about the shocking levels of plastic in our oceans when I came across an article about a whale that had died from ingesting so much plastic. It shocked me because I really hadn't known the true scale of the problem. I wanted to make an image that depicted this truth and contribute to the narrative in the only way I knew how, which was to draw something and hope that it might inspire, teach or move others in the same way the article had done with me. There are many issues regarding today's society that I'm inspired to explore further with my illustrations and sustainability and our environment is certainly one of them.
On your Instagram you have spoken about using Eco-friendly packaging; how would you encourage other businesses to do the same?
I think it's very easy to go with the status quo and do what everyone else is doing, especially when it comes to selecting packaging materials and products, but there are so many alternatives out there. I was surprised to find some clear display bags made from 100% potato starch to use when packing my prints instead of using plastic. It's a very exciting time. I feel the future for businesses is an eco-friendly and sustainable one, for if we are to have any future at all, we will need a healthy planet. And doing what we can by sourcing eco-friendly alternatives and cutting down on waste, is one simple way we can help ensure that future.
Make sure to check out her art on her Website: www.nicmacillustration.com
Ellie and the Zabo Team x