WinWin Magazine Edition Two WinWin Magazine Edition Two

Edition Two Cover Artist:
Minna Gilligan

Meet Minna, our incredible Edition Two Cover Artist!

When you type ‘minna gilligan’ into a Google image search, be prepared for a dizzying cacophony of colour and riot of pattern, in collages that are sometimes hypnotising, sometimes humorous, and sometimes a little bit biting! We asked Minna to help on Edition Two basically because we wanted an excuse to splash her juicy collages on our cover, and feature her super-sassy retro women!

Above: Shell Girls II, 2017 and We just kept dancing, 2017 by Minna Gilligan

Along with our cover girls, Minna created the ‘company I keep’ lettering, and provided a collection of fun cutout objects that you’ll see throughout the Edition. We hope you enjoy her work as much as we do!

WinWin: Minna, what do you do?

Minna: Formally, when people ask me what I do, I say that I’m an artist. However being an artist can mean different things to different people. I am an artist who also subsists on my part time jobs – one teaching drawing at university, and the other working at an art magazine.

Any spare time I get, I use for my art practice. Being an artist can mean wearing a lot of different hats in order to survive and thrive!

Above: Beam me up, 2018, courtesy the artist and Daine Singer.

WW: A big opportunity?

M: The first opportunity that really shaped my career was being accepted to study at the Victorian College of the Arts once I finished high school. I didn’t really think I’d get in, and I was absolutely stoked at my acceptance. This obviously completely shaped my career trajectory – the how and why I make art! 

Another opportunity, a little bit down the line, was being invited to create artwork for Tavi Gevinson’s Rookie Magazine in 2011. This opened up a whole new realm in my practice, and exposed my work to an entirely new community of people. It was a wonderful publication to be a part of, and it definitely sharpened my work to enable me to practice on more commercial levels (illustration and design) as well as on a fine art level (painting, drawing, collage and showing in galleries).

WW: What’s the process of putting together one of your amazing collages?

M: My collages usually take shape pretty organically. I begin by deciding on a background (this may be painted, drawn or a found image). Then I will work ‘up’ from that, trawling through my old books and ripping out any images that appeal to me. With these images, I then slowly hone and curate the final composition.

I am drawn to compositions with protagonists at the forefront, with energy and fluidity surrounding a usually human focal point.

I like selecting disparate imagery and then making the images speak and relate to each other.

Above: Untitled, 2018, Courtesy the artist and Daine Singer;
Bite the hand, 2019, Courtesy the artist and Daine Singer.

WW: Any tips on where we can find amazing source material?

M: I have been a regular at Savers (a thrift and second-hand store) for a large portion of my life. I’ve always been looking through the books there, fascinated that such incredible printed material is shut behind hardly ever opened covers.

Source material for collages can be found anywhere – junk mail, newspapers and magazines, printed from Google images – but my personal favourite is old books.

I have a pretty substantial collection that makes moving studios a nightmare, but it’s like my imagery library, except that the only form of organisation to it is in my brain…

WW: What do you do with a creative block?

M: I don’t really get blocked creatively very often. I think because I have so little time to actually be creative, and so many creative outlets. I like fashion, small scale drawing, large scale painting, sewing, fabric dying, collage, makeup, op-shopping, Instagram.

I get to be creative in lots of different ways throughout my day to day life.

At the moment with part-time work, I have very little time available to actually be in the studio, which I dislike. But when that’s the case I do find myself having to be creative in other ways like with my outfits for work or my makeup. In some ways it’s good that I can’t be in the studio all the time as when I finally do get in there, I have so many things backed up that I want to make and I can’t work fast enough! So maybe the key is to deprive yourself of studio time…? Haha!

WW: One piece of advice for teen-Minna?

M: This is a hard one because I still feel like I’m not 100% accomplished to give advice to my younger self (or anyone for that matter). Not in a self-deprecating way but we are always constantly growing and learning and changing our minds… If pressed, I would say something daggy like time goes really fast or you need to spend less time worrying. My younger self was sort of shy, worried about saying the wrong thing…

I just watched a movie called Eighth Grade. The main character in that was pretty much me as a teen.

What I wanted to tell her while I was watching the movie?
It’ll be okay.

WW: If it wasn’t a career in art and design, what would it be?

M: I’d be in fashion for sure. But I guess fashion is art and design based too. So maybe I’d do something with writing. Or maybe I’d work with my Mum in her florist shop but again, this is art and design-based… I’m trying to think of completely opposite trajectory here… maybe I’d be a spy…

Minna can you tell us about a recent lesson?

I learn lessons every single day of my life. The past two-ish years I have learnt the hardest ones so far in my life personally! In a nutshell my tried-and-true (!) lessons are:
~ Nothing is black and white ~
~ Being cool is not cool ~
~ Women artists who wears dresses and lipstick will have to stand up for themselves and justify their work 90%* more than any white male artist will ever have to ~

*Percentage calculated by my own experiences…!

WW: What are you really excited about in 2019?

M: I am just getting through the first half of the year where I had three jobs instead of two – I teach drawing for the first semester of each year. Once that’s over, I’m excited to be in the studio a bit more. I just had a line of giftware come out in collaboration with the Melbourne Museum and Third Drawer Down, which was a cool and fun thing to work on. As for the impending second half of the year, I think I just want to see what comes my way ☺

Hopefully enough to keep me busy!

Above: Hello Mary Lou, goodbye heart, 2018, courtesy the artist and Daine Singer; detail of work.