We chatted to 3D illustrator and model maker Georgie Monica to talk about and paper, Greek mythology, and how to survive a zombie apocalypse.
1. How would you describe your work to someone who hasn’t seen it before?
My work is a mixture of modern and traditional themes and styles, often featuring women and/or animals. I would like to think they are pictures that offer a snapshot of a wider story and that the 3D nature of them lends itself to that. And they’re all made out of paper of course!
2. What is it about paper as a medium to work with that appeals to you?
Paper is sort of the original medium and so it’s fun to try to use it in different ways. I have used clay in the past and still very occasionally to sculpt certain elements of a model if I think it will add something valuable to the piece, and you can pretty much do anything with it. Conversely, paper is exciting to build with because it has limitations and will ultimately do what it wants. I have to work with whatever shape the paper wants to be in and sometimes that will alter the final image. I enjoy figuring out the logistics of manipulating the paper to achieve certain effects. I feel like almost every single time I make something I discover a new technique!
3. Who or what were your early influences and how has your life/upbringing influenced your work?
I grew up in a very rural place (no shops or buses!) and I think that definitely affected the sort of things I was interested in. I like to include animals in my work as they’ve always been a big part of my life and I was always obsessed with small and detailed things – Polly Pocket and Sylvanian Families were my favourites!
I’ve always loved good stories however they’re told; books, films, songs, TV, poetry, pictures, and they’ve always influenced my work. I especially love mythology from all different places and periods, I had tapes of Greek myths that I used to listen to when I was very young and knew them by heart!
My tastes have always varied a lot however, I love calm and pretty things but I’ve also always had a fascination with the weird and scary. I love horror stories and learning about true crime. When I was very young I wanted to be a forensic scientist! I think that definitely plays into some of my images.
4. What was it like studying for your degree in Falmouth?
I’m going to miss Falmouth! I’ve learned so much on the illustration course and there were definitely ups and downs but I can see that my artwork and my understanding of the industry have come so far in just three years.
Falmouth is also just a lovely place to make things, you’re surrounded by arty people because of the university and although it’s a very small place I think it has its own special atmosphere. Plus it’s amazing to be able to go down to the sea whenever you want, I never anticipated I’d ever love the sound of seagulls!
5. When are you happiest?
When I’m sitting at my (preferably tidy and impeccably organized) desk, on a sunny day so the light is really warm, deep in my arty mind-zone working on artwork I’m excited about, listening to a great podcast or audiobook with my elephant mug next to me full of some sort of herbal tea.
6. What do you think it takes to make a good artist?
As cheesy as it sounds I think just passion. Lack of passion can be palpable within artwork and if someone doesn’t care much their work just won’t feel exciting to look at. To go even further and out-cheese my previous statement, art should be made with love. Style and subject don’t matter categorically because everyone has different tastes but a good artist makes what they love to make, even if it’s difficult, frustrating and sometimes goes wrong!
7. You wrote your dissertation on Zombies. What would your strategy be for surviving a zombie apocalypse?
I did! That’s a good question, surprisingly I haven’t actually thought about it much before!
I think a lot of the stuff in films would be a bad idea in practice – barricading yourself inside a zombie-infested mall, probably not the greatest guarantee of survival. I’d have a 4 step process:
1) Stock-up on supplies as fast as possible: food, weapons, tools. Also bring a device that connects to the internet (no guarantee that the internet will continue to work depending on how bad things get but while it does, it’s going to be super useful for keeping track of how many survivors there are and how the situation is developing). Also have a vehicle, and if possible some back-up fuel. Use what you already have – DON’T go to a supermarket.
2) Head to a rural area (remember some sort of internet connection has to be available). Bring anyone who is DEFINITELY not infected, there’s strength in numbers and this also means more vehicles, supplies and manpower.
3) (If you can find a small island, this step can be skipped, if zombies can’t swim that is.) Set up a fortress, potentially in an abandoned barn, there would likely be a lot of useful supplies and materials in there (make sure it really is abandoned – zombie farmers have got to be terrifying). Get to work building a nice barrier around your base, leaving enough space for foraging/building etc.
4) Wait. Like most diseases, scientists will begin working on a cure and hopefully they’ll find it! But until then you just have to sit tight and stay vigilant. And be quiet.
8. What is the most challenging aspect about working with paper? Be honest – how often do you get paper cuts?
Haha, I actually don’t get paper cuts much as the paper I use is pretty thick. I do use a scalpel though, and scalpel cuts can be nasty!
I think some of the most challenging aspects are also the most fun, as I said before, figuring out how to work with the paper can be really difficult but very rewarding. When you’ve just spent ages carefully cutting and sculpting a shape and then something tears, sometimes you have to walk away and take a breather!
9. Who/what is inspiring you right now?
Animation really inspires me and I’ve found I really love films (animated or not) where narratively not much happens. Slow or simple stories shown beautifully are always my favourites; Studio Ghibli for example does this amazingly. I also follow the work of a lot of amazing contemporary illustrators and seeing their projects and progression every day is a constant encouragement.
10. What areas of your work or personal development are you hoping to explore further?
I really want to work on my photography. I’m not a photographer but being 3D, my work requires being photographed for my portfolio etc. My photos do the job but I know I could do better. I’ve booked a class!
In general though I want to focus on finding the best way for me using model making in illustration, maybe combining flat and 3D work. That’s what I’m starting to experiment with now.