As you probably know, Frontier has a set of questions for creative people we meet and often there are times I’ll come across someone’s work and think “Jeez, I want to see their answers to our Quickfire round!”
Polly Zee is a New Zealand Illustrator I like her stuff because its full of quirky, cute little creatures. She’s just Illustrated her first book Hippopotamus with Peter Durney (I frickin’ love Hippo’s…and you can get the book here), has a bearded Lizard named Sid, makes sick plush toys and talks to us about creative connections, drumming teachers oh yeah and her work. She also hits a home run in our Coke or Pepsi question I reckon! (I’ll do an advertising story next week just on the smiles of people in Coke Ads – Teeth much?)
At parties, when people ask you what you do, what’s your answer? I draw, paint, sew and work on films among a myriad of other exciting things.
Tell us a secret about your creative process? I use tracing quite a bit, from my sketches to my good piece of paper, cause I can never draw the exact same thing twice, well, I might be able to but it’s way more effort than it’s worth. Same with when I have to draw things like bicycles and I need to get them perfect, I’ll take photos and use them as guides. Bikes are the worst to draw. And the next book, the one I’m working on now, just happens to be about a girl riding a bike with her bike riding meerkat friend…
If you could give your kid-self a piece of creative advice, what would it be? Spend more time on your work! Stop being lazy, and don’t throw those drawings away! I love children’s drawings and wish I had more of my own to look at.
Coke or Pepsi? (For any reason!) Coke cause of taste mostly, but who knows, I’m probably subconsciously influenced by how happy it makes all those pretty people on the ads…
Networking. That old chestnut….Do you do it? What are your thoughts? Probably not as actively as I should. I have quite a few artist friends though which is cool. Hopefully I’ll one day be able to exhibit with some of them. I always like to meet new people in the same realm as me, but generally it’s just for the sake of meeting new people, not consciously networking. In the art world though I think it’s pretty important to network in some way, you’re not likely to get very far unless you do.
What is the name of one person that inspires you and why? Far out, there are so many… I think one of the main ones is Alex Pardee, he’s an American illustrator/artist, he has damn good drawing skills and an imagination that rivals that of a 4 year old, only a lot darker. He comes up with stories behind most of his work and his characters and they’re the most elaborate, well thought out stories ever, something no one else could think of. He’s pretty big now but started off very very small-time. It just shows me that if I actually put my life into it, I could end up making a decent living off it without having to compromise what I want to do.
What is something you would like to achieve with your work in the next 5 years? To exhibit on a bigger scale, over seas, Melbourne maybe, and America eventually would be awesome, the illustration scene is biggest around the West Coast, but getting there might take a while longer. Things like that always seem a bit impossible being here in little old New Zealand, but I have a friend who moved to London about a year ago (PodgyPanda) and started working for Kidrobot and now has a confirmed solo show in the states in 2014! So it’s pretty cool to see that happen and know that actually it is possible, you just have to pour everything you’ve got into getting there.
For more of Polly’s work check out her website here.