Interview: FRESH CROP – ARTIST TO WATCH [Illustrator – Michelle Mackinven]

Interview:kate andrews
Finish these sentences:
In 5 years I will be…
Hopefully making my mark on the creative industry. I want to be known. So in 5 years time I want to have molded who I am as an artist and graphic designer. I want to be exhibiting my work in galleries, as I haven’t done so yet. I also hope to be exploring different avenues such as storybook illustration, working on fashion shoots, or anything else exciting that comes along.

Life is awesome when…
I am creatively satisfied and know all my work commitments are complete so I can then hit the beach with my friends and enjoy a cocktail.

I would like to die…
Knowing that I committed myself to living a passionate and fulfilling life full of adventures and laughs as well as accomplishments.

I like Lana Del Rey because once you listen to her music you can’t listen to anything else. She’s addictive.

My style is…
Feminine, vintage and retro. My work has echoes of fashion illustration though I’m not a fashion illustrator. I like exploring different techniques and materials with people as my subject. I love drawing eyes mostly, there’s just so much you can do with them.

Fresh Crop – Artist to Watch
Illustrator – Michelle Mackinven

When the shit hits the fan…
I grab an umbrella! Then I find a systematic way to clean up the mess.

Instinct or logic?
As a graphic designer I would say logic. Its important that you consider what you are designing as the design serves a purpose. However, for illustration I say instinct. I like to lose myself in a drawing. I find that when I over think an illustration it never comes out as planned.

Who has made the biggest impact on you creatively?
Illustrator Ken Taylor. I did my practical placement for TAFE with him in 2009 and he taught me how to use a Wacom digital drawing palette. At the end of the placement he bought me my very own one to take home! He opened my eyes to digital illustration and I don’t know where I’d be if he hadn’t.

Fresh Crop – Artist to Watch
Illustrator – Michelle Mackinven

If you were an animal what would you be?
A dolphin, they seem to have a lot of fun and I love the ocean.

Favourite person from history is?
Coco Chanel. I admire her because she wasn’t afraid to create designs that challenged the pre-conceived notions of what was feminine and stylish at that time. She liberated women from the bondage of the corset and encouraged a casual but elegant range of clothes. I think she’s amazing because she had an awareness of what women wanted and didn’t care what society thought.

What’s your poison?
Caprioska. I couldn’t get enough of them when I went to Europe!

What would you crawl over hot coals for?
My family. They’re a cooky bunch of people but I love them. I’m going to become a first time aunty any day now and I just can’t wait to see our already large family grow.

How did you find illustration and graphics?
Since I was around 10 years old I have carried around a scrapbook to draw in. I liked to teach myself how to draw by looking at other artist’s work and trying to figure out the techniques they had used to create it. I knew from the start of high school that I wanted to be in the creative industry, my first preference was to be an artist, but I knew I would have more success as a graphic designer. Now I’m finding I am getting as much work as an illustrator as I am as a graphic designer, so I’m getting the best of both worlds.

What is your greatest fear as an artist?
I mostly fear that no one will like what I have made or that people will lose interest in my work. At the end of the day though, I create art for myself. It is a passion before it is work.

Fresh Crop – Artist to Watch
Illustrator – Michelle Mackinven

How do you keep inspired?
I am constantly soaking up what is around me through the internet, books, magazines, music and art galleries. I love the rush I get when I see an artwork I love and wish I had created it. It inspires me to create new and diverse pieces of my own.

Do you feel your gender has made a difference to your art or level of success? How?
Yes. I love fashion and I suppose, being female, I draw most of my inspiration from women’s fashion and fashion illustration. I don’t however believe my gender has had an impact on my success.

If money was no object what would you do?
I would purchase and repurpose an old building, converting the top level into an amazing apartment, a painting studio on the level below, then on the ground level I would have my own graphic design studio at the back and a gallery space selling upcoming artist’s paintings, crafts and fashion at the front. A girl can dream, right?

What advice would you offer aspiring illustrators/designers?
Don’t ever try to fit a mould, just create what comes naturally to you.

What is your passion?
Illustration. There is no better reward then creating work that people love and want to own.

Fresh Crop – Artist to Watch
Illustrator – Michelle Mackinven

Fresh Crop – Artist to Watch
Illustrator – Michelle Mackinven

One thought on “Interview: FRESH CROP – ARTIST TO WATCH [Illustrator – Michelle Mackinven]

  1. Michelle,

    I really enjoyed reading this and I think your art work is quite stunning. I love the little special touches you put in your work like the cute bunny and flowers in Adele, the sparrow in Cherie, the patches of colour and pattern on the sleeve in Florence.

    I have confirmed ‘Follow’ so I can keep up with your beautiful work and your progress. I wish you continued success.


    Susan M
    Mrs Moore

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