Extraterrestrial, cheeky and if not a little ill-mannered. Meet our 21st Random Act of Art bag, and these little ghosts penned by Gem Coote. Known for her weird, wacky and often laugh out loud’able illustrations, not to mention slinging bowls of ramen over at Rising Sun Workshop where we first met her. Grab a brew (a bowl of ramen even) and get to know her below.

 

FIRST UP, WHAT’S YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH COFFEE?

I drink a lot of it! It’s probably the most constant thing in my life, I need it like I need oxygen.

I drink a lot of it! It’s probably the most constant thing in my life, I need it like I need oxygen.

DO YOU HAVE ANY CONNECTION TO SINGLE O? AND IF SO, WHAT IS IT?

I’ve gotten to know the Single O fam over the last six years working for Rising Sun Workshop. They serve Single O coffee and the owners, Nick and Dan have had a strong connection to Single O throughout their hospitality careers. These guys have been very supportive of my “other” job and have even thrown me a bit of work. I’m very grateful.

YOU’RE IN AN ELEVATOR & YOU NEED TO DESCRIBE YOUR ILLUSTRATION STYLE BEFORE WE REACH YOUR FLOOR… AND GO!

Cute, sometimes weird, sometimes scrappy brain farts inspired by graphic novels, cartoons, memes or whatever I’m obsessing over or doing at the time.

IF YOU COULD MEET & ILLUSTRATE ONE PERSON WHO WOULD IT BE?

David Bowie… or Noel Fielding?! Anyone eccentric and weird with an expressive face will do!

HOW’D YOU GET INTO DRAWING & IS IT YOUR MAIN GIG?

I’ve been drawing since I was able to hold a pencil in my hands! My dad was an artist and graphic designer and was always super encouraging of my weird / creative side. I’m still slugging it in the cafe scene as well as illustrating but the illustration work is always growing. I don’t particularly mind doing both though! It’s kind of nice to mix it up, get away from my drawing desk and out chatting to people.

WAS YOUR PROCESS FOR CREATING THIS BAG ANY DIFFERENT THAN USUAL? IF SO HOW?

It was definitely great to have a theme like ‘Nudge Coffee Forward’. That doesn’t always happen, it’s good to have a clear concept work with and be able to bounce of other people.

THE THEME OF THE BAG IS ‘NUDGE COFFEE FORWARD’ – WHAT’S ONE OTHER THING IN THE WORLD YOU THINK NEEDS A LITTLE NUDGE?

Climate change action! Maybe with even more than a little nudge… We’ve definitely become creatures of habit and it feels like a huge challenge to get people out of their comfort zones, myself included, but if something isn’t done soon it’s going to get a lot more uncomfortable. It’s great some people are doing their bit individually but I think intervention is needed now on a much larger scale.

YOUR DESIGN HAS A SENSE OF HUMOUR TO IT, WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE SECTION & WHY?

The last character I drew (the lil’ dude flippin’ the bird) was a suggestion from you guys and it took me no time at all to whip up. There’s something expressive and cheeky about it that I love.

IF YOU WEREN’T DRAWING, WHAT CAREER DO YOU RECKON YOU’D HAVE?

That’s a tough one! I’ve always been drawn to creative things and naturally always stuck with Illustration. Maybe a chef or an art teacher.

HOW DO YOU STAY INSPIRED?

It’s pretty random actually… Sometimes it’s a colour palette. Sometimes a thought pops into my head and I have to draw it out. Sometimes I flip through books on my bookshelf, they range from graphic novels by legends like Daniel Clowes and Charles Burn to anatomy books to interior design books. Most of the time I just have to sit down and start, whether I’m inspired or not and usually that gets the creative juices flowing!
During the last lockdown it was particularly hard to feel any inspiration so I challenged myself and a group of friends to do a word-prompt challenge. Each day we had a word we would have to turn into an illustration. I always tried to think of the weirdest interpretation possible. It definitely made lockdown a little easier and pushed me to draw more, sometimes for hours at a time.

WHO SHOULD WE WORK WITH NEXT?

OMG. There are so many great local female artists I look up to and could suggest!
The ones that come straight to my mind are Kim Siew, Millie Hall and Pilar Basa. All with very different styles but all with that quirky sense of humour that I attempt to create in my own illustration. They are also some of the best people you will ever meet!

CAN YOU WRITE US AN ACROSTIC POEM USING THE LETTERS OF NUDGE?

Never
Underestimate
Dreamy
Grandma
Energy

I don’t know what this means or why it came from my brain… but that’s basically my process and the way I think in a nutshell.

CHECK OUT MORE OF GEM’S WORK
@gem_coote & gemcoote.com

Grab a kilo of any of our blends and nab yourself a Gem Coote bag!