Hilary Green is a Melbourne-based artist who illustrates, animates, makes ceramics and zines, teaches children and (in her own words) cooks up too many ideas all at once! Her practice spans many disciplines and her sources of inspiration are equally diverse, ranging from Gumby to Osamu Tezuka. Regardless of what she is making at any given moment, Hilary's work has a distinctive playfulness which caught our eye and appealed to our inner child.
We recently chatted to Hilary about her imaginative method of storytelling and her upcoming projects, including an animation workshop at Guild...
Can you tell us a little about your self and your practice?
My name is Hilary Green and I live and work creatively from home in Coburg. In short, I am a teacher, an illustrator, ceramicist and animator. My practice is spread across a few mediums, I think because I get distracted easily but also because each one inspires me in a different way. I currently have been making playful ceramic pieces which I carve illustrations into and am selling them through my website. I have also started making larger pieces for exhibitions. My animation practice has molded into ceramics as I love animating creatures to promote the pieces I make and bring them to life as I see them. I also work in a school where I am able to teach animation and zine making to children and am constantly inspired by their stories. My own illustrations and zines and are featured on my website. My work mostly focuses on connecting with characters I imagined as a child but also revealing their flaws and disillusionment with reality.
When and how did you first get started in drawing and animation?
I got started drawing as soon as I could hold a pencil and ever since I saw Gumby on television I loved animation. After studying Fine Arts I believe I really started using animation when working with children. Animation was the ultimate storytelling tool. With illustration, I designed a few t-shirts and sold them online while I was travelling in 2009 and also made up my mind to one day illustrate a picture book.
Can you describe those early days?
Quite confused. I had finished my degree in fine art photography and started teaching children and loved it but felt very isolated creatively. Social media wasn’t as big then and it took a while before I made sense of how to use it to connect with other creatives and build my portfolio online. I remember after a long break from drawing, putting work on instagram for the first time actually took a bit of courage but I thought then - and still think now - oh well it’s all me, so let the world see it and see where it leads.
What has the journey been like since those early days?
I have to say, since using social media and connecting with other creative people online, at markets and galleries, I have more than anything gained confidence in myself and the creative community in Melbourne especially. Opportunities arise and change my course but I feel it has been so valuable to see changes in my practice online which helps me reflect. My focus now is to hone in on what I feel passionate about by telling stories through all mediums and inspiring a childlike imagination wherever I can. There’s something disjointed in the world of adults and children. We are all people and I want to explore that in my work more.
Can you give us some insight into your creative process and where you draw inspiration from?
I have learnt that sometimes inspiration comes in the form of mistakes. When I started painting on ceramics I found that the form of the mug made me think of different creatures. I saw ears in handles and sharp teeth around where your fingers would be. In planning, I carry with me everywhere a little notebook to storyboard animations and future zines which helps before tranferring that to ink. Lately I am inspired by old childhood books ‘Catwitch’, Shaun Tan’s books, Dororo by Osamu Tezuka and Alessandro Sanna’s illustrations. Mainly I am inspired by my own childhood and all the wonderful children I have met.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Depending on the day I try to balance my different projects. I find I like to start the day with a big breakfast by the fire in the kitchen and a coffee in the sun with my housemate Amy. I then straight away go to the studio to check my ceramics, either preparing clay, carving or glazing. I then may need to post an order or drop off ceramics at Northcote Pottery for firing. Regularly checking my emails, updating social media and my website are also in there. When I can, I try to edit photos or scans of illustrations from the night before. In the late afternoon I might to go for a walk, cuddle my cat or go to the market and do a big cook up. I find the only time I can draw or animate is after dark so I sometimes have a hot bath and relax before I go back to creating.
What are you...
Budda, a graphic novel by Osamu Tezuka
Can you tell us the first thing that pops into your mind when we mention the word …
What’s one thing you can’t live without at the moment?
The fireplace in my kitchen. It’s the heart of the house.
Any advice or words of wisdom for other makers out there?
Play, I think when we play, make mistakes and keep creating, we are defining the edges of a magical thing that exists outside of our plans. But also be aware of what you like and follow and perfect that more. Connect with as many makers as you can to support and be supported.
We are really excited about your upcoming workshop at Guild, can you tell us a bit about this?
I’m so excited to be sharing my love of animation. This workshop will give a solid introduction to planning an animation, making clay and paper models, getting used to animating on a device and a behind the scenes look at how I animate with a more professional set-up. I love giving people ideas so it would be a great workshop if you want to aim at animating your own product or even if you want to try a different medium for a change. Animating is so fulfilling and I hope my love of it rubs off on you.
Any other projects or news you want to share
I have my first SOLO show coming up at Brunswick Street Gallery ‘Childlike’ opening on the 21st of July.
I am also excitedly working on a playful women’s fashion label called ‘SHY HERO’ which I design with two other magical women. This will be released in a few months and features my illustrations on some of the fabric. Keep your eyes out lovely ladies!
Follow Hilary on Instagram