We were invited into the kaleidoscopic world of Pilgrim Hodgson of Draw! Pilgrim. Who’s work, to quote Chief Blue Meanie from Yellow Submarine, is a tickle of joy on the blue belly of the universe. Her arms are embellished with illustrations from this film, and her work is reminiscent of Heinz Edelman, Peter Max and John Alcorn. We wanted to find out more about the multicoloured marvel from Melbourne, so caught up with her to talk interior design, sausage dogs and psychedelia.
1. What do you want people to feel or think of when they look at your work?
I want people to feel uplifted either at the initial impact of my work or because it stirs a sense of nostalgia in them.
2. The 60s and 70s clearly influence your work. What is it about the past that captures your imagination?
I love the sense of exploration of the era. From the visual language of the time it’s so obvious there were huge cultural shifts happening, and although they appropriated some older styles like art nouveau it was made new by bold colours and edgy contexts. I’m also fascinated that counterculture icons like psychedelic mushroom patterns and wild Flower Power prints filtered down to feature on kitchenware, bath towels and so on like a reversal of pop art.
3. Your designs are on Society 6, and have been applied to lots of different mediums; from bags and bedding to phone covers and rugs – what’s your best-selling piece?
I’ve been on Society6 for a relatively short time so I’ve followed what’s been selling with great interest, and surprisingly – despite me selling prints on etsy for years – its still art prints that do the best! The fact that I can offer a variety of sizes on S6 makes all the difference though, I think. And overall my Hell Yeah design has been the most popular across all products.
4. What do you think it takes to make a good artist?
The ability to just keep going. A good artist keeps coming back and making their work despite what their brain tells them. It sounds simple, but I think all artists struggle with their self confidence, and just keeping on making your stuff is the hardest part. That and getting PAID!
5. Your arms are adorned with psychedelic tattoos, do you plan to get any others?
I would love to get a couple more! Its a combination of waiting for specific tattoo artists to travel to Melbourne and also having money to pay them. I don’t want to be covered, but the two tattoos I have make me so happy I think I could go for a couple more. My first tattoo was from my favourite childhood picture book Wings on Wednesday, and my most recent one on my right forearm is a combination of favourite things: some bluebirds from Yellow Submarine, a starry-eyed hippie girl, and some flowers all masterfully designed and inked by Teniele Sadd at Tattoo Magic.
6. What has been your favourite project or client to work with so far?
My favourite project so far has been my debut children’s book The 12 Days of Christmas. It’s an absolute thrill to have worked on my own book. It will be released late 2017 through Little Hare (Australia & UK) and Little Bee (USA) and hopefully won’t be my last!
7. If you didn’t do what you do, what would you do?
It’s SO different – but I’d love to be a forensic anthropologist. I love history and I’m fascinated by what can be learned from seemingly anonymous bones. I can’t deny my creative side so perhaps I’d sculpt forensic reconstructions!
8. Your house is very colourful. What’s your favourite room in your home, and why?
I love my bedroom. I’m very strict about not working in bed so when I go in there it really is a peaceful sanctuary.
9. What kind of artwork do you have in your own home?
As you’d expect its pretty colourful – I have a couple of framed silk screen prints by Sanna Annuka, and quite a few prints from the 60s from various artists. One that is most precious to me is a zodiac wheel print done by my mother at art school.
10. If you could only choose one colour to represent yourself, what would it be?
Just one?! I love a good emerald green; it’s both calming and eye-catching. Even though it’s been on-trend recently it still feels often overlooked to me. More green, I say!
11. Tell us something about yourself that might surprise people.
Despite all the bright colours and fun designs I create, on the inside I’m still a teenage goth girl obsessed with spooky stories and all kinds of dark and morbid stuff.
12. Describe your working routine – studio, kitchen table, caffeinated beverage of choice, music, silence?
Don’t tell any chiropractors but I work cross legged in an armchair in my lounge room. I do have a nice little studio space but it’s turned into more of a making/sewing space than an office space. I find that when I’m illustrating on the computer I can split my concentration and want to be able to chat with my husband and have some human company whereas when I’m sewing I need to concentrate. My beverage of choice is an iced tea or coffee. The soundtrack to my work is whatever is going on around me, or if I’m alone I’ll play music or a podcast. Not a huge fan of silence but occasionally it’s nice.
13.What role does Cinnamon Churro dog play in Draw! Pilgrim?
Hahaha he is my HR manager. He makes sure I don’t get too stressed, makes sure I’m well rested and eating regularly (so he can steal a bite or two).
14. If you could invite any three people from history to dinner, who would you invite?
I’m never prepared for this question – but I think I’d have a good time with David Bowie, John Waters and Amy Sedaris. I’d settle for dinner with John Waters, Amy Sedaris and a ouija board though.
15. What’s the last thing that made you say ‘wow’?
The new episodes of Twin Peaks! There was definitely more than one ‘wow’ uttered.