Designer/illustrator Angela Lynskey recently made the move over to Aus. We grabbed a few moments with her to find out more about what prompted this change in direction, and how she’s enjoying her new life:
Hi Angela, can you give our DA readers a bit of an insight into who you are, what you do, and how you initially got started in the industry.
I came to Graphic Design as a ‘mature aged student’ probably actually only about age 28… so, not that mature! I originally went to Auckland University and did a Bachelor of Commerce degree with some languages thrown in, then went to London and immersed myself in the world of art and design which I had always been interested in. While there I did a lot of photography and life drawing. I applied from London to AUT to their foundation course and continued on to do the three year Graphic Design Diploma. I specialised in illustration. I’ve worked in Graphic Design since my first job at New Zealand magazines (The Listener, Woman’s Weekly) working with one other person, Mike McHugh, who went on to start Mindfood and Delicious Magazine, amongst others. This wasn’t design intensive at all but quite an experience! I have had a lot of roles in design and art, working for studios in New Zealand. Where I now live in Australia I have my own studio separate to our house and it’s not much smaller than my whole flat in Auckland! My partner screen prints and designs his own t shirts in another space separate to the house.
So, you’ve recently made the move over to Australia. Can you tell us a bit about what prompted this move, and where you’re currently based.
I had been in a long distance relationship with a fellow kiwi who lives here in the Northern Rivers, New South Wales. He saw a part-time Graphic Design position advertised, I had a Skype interview and got the position. I had been wanting a change of lifestyle and something that enabled me to finally pursue my illustration. I go to Life Drawing in Byron Bay as much as I can (everything is at least an hour’s drive from where we live in the hinterland). I took the plunge and rented my place out in Auckland. We live rurally in a sub tropical rainforest. We are ten minutes from the alternative lifestyle town of Nimbin and 40 minutes from Lismore, where I work at the Lismore City Council. Everything is quite a long drive from here, by New Zealand standards, but the locals think nothing of it. Byron Bay, Brunswick Heads, Coolangatta and other great coastal towns are not much more than an hour away. The broader area of the Northern Rivers is known for its sub tropical climate, bush walks, great beaches, markets, cafes and a thriving creative scene.
Tell us more about this rain forest ‘community’ that you are now a part of.
We live in a community of over 30 shareholders who all have an equal share of the land. The community is run like a business. There are company meetings each month and money put into a body corporate fund for road improvements etc. This ‘hippies’ moved into area nearby from about 1974 when the ‘Aquarius Festival’ happened in Nimbin. Our community land is set in a sub tropical rainforest. We are in the dry season at the moment which will run till about October into a hot rainy season, though this year it’s exceptionally hot and dry and some are saying it may not rain properly till Christmas! The upside is that there are blue skies almost everyday and hardly any wind. The wildlife is amazing here and sometimes a little alarming! I have encountered snakes crossing the road, and we have had some in the house, but so far not the dangerous ones! Now that the weather is warming up the animals are all coming out.
How are you finding things in Aus? How does the design world there compare and contrast to ours?
As this is quite a different area (I call it ‘urban rural’) from Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, where I’ve mainly spent time in the past, it’s hard to compare to New Zealand. The heat is something to get used to in summer! It’s already a challenge working at my computer without air conditioning at home and summer has just begun… Apart from this I love the relaxed vibe and, as friends have observed, in Byron there are bikinis everywhere in summer and no clothing or lack of seems inappropriate in the broader area! I find most people here in the cafes, shops and restaurants to be extremely friendly. That is partly the rural thing but Brisbane seems similar. I encourage people to visit Northern New South Wales, it’s amazing.
What are some of the most inspiring things you’re discovering, design-wise, in Australia?
Because of the environment I’m in being so rural I can’t compare to the cities. Brisbane is our nearest city and has GOMA which I visit a lot. As someone said to me everyone in Byron Bay is a Graphic Designer or Artist… It is easy to connect with those following creative pursuits. I’m finding a lot of new inspiration just living in this environment. All around me are amazing birds, animals and plant life. Really wanting to mix this in with my other interests like food… This will all ultimately end up in my illustration and especially my tea towel designs. The area is renowned for organic food, coffee and some of its restaurants, The Farm at Byron Bay, Harvest, Federal…
What project, personal or professional, are you most proud of and why?
I have been doing illustrations for tea towels and sold them in New Zealand and some in Australia for past 7 or 8 years… on a very part time basis, and I’m gradually getting ready to step up things and sell them here. I have 2 new designs almost ready to sell (pictured). Before coming here I loved working in the Performing Arts in Auckland and am hoping to get involved in Graphic Design for some of the local Performing Arts centres.
What does the rest of the year hold for you? What have you got lined up?
Have started doing freelance Graphic Design from home in addition to my part-time job. I’m in the process of following up contacts locally and on the Gold Coast and Brisbane which is relatively close by Australian standards.