Interview with our Expression Cover Illustrator Minna Gilligan


Our Cover Illustrator for Issue 32 is Minna Gilligan, an artist based in Melbourne, Australia. Gilligan works primarily with painting, drawing and collage. Her works are playgrounds of colour, inspired by the vibrancy of 1960s and 1970s popular culture.


Find out how Minna created the newest cover on expression and learn a little about her in our interview below.


Can you talk to us a bit about how you made the cover and the different elements you chose to reflect the theme of expression, music and poetry?


I usually begin my collage works with a painterly background to set the tone of the scene I’m creating. I wanted to use vibrant, sweeping colour to play on the theme ‘expression’. I knew the placement of the collage elements would be a bit lyrical, playing off each other – again referencing the theme of music and poetry!


You often work with paint and collage, have you always used this combination?


I’m always combining different elements of my practice, drawing with collage, painting with collage, etc. For me, when using collage I like to make the work my own by including ‘the artist’s hand’ with either painting or drawing, to make the world representative of me and my practice a little more rather than just having the paper cut outs on their own.


Your work is full of joy but also mystery, can you tell us a bit about what inspires you?


I’m inspired by all sorts of things, at the moment I’m really enjoying flipping through old New Idea and Women’s Weekly magazines from the 70s and 80s. It’s a little bit like time travel. I love thrift shopping and the thrill of the hunt.


We first noticed your work in Rookie, the American teen magazine which is sadly no longer around. Do you like creating art for publications in general or do you prefer stand alone work?


I like maintaining both my fine art practice and my commercial illustration practice alongside each other. I love working towards a brief as I can be creative but there are boundaries. When I’m just making work for myself, I can be as free as I would like – often this is harder than the former!


Obviously Scoop is aimed at a younger age bracket, what do you do differently, if anything, when making work for younger audiences?


When making work for a younger audience, I like to choose younger looking protagonists in my work – so that the mood of the work speaks to the majority of those viewers.


Do you think the books you read and looked at as a child have inspired your work?


Absolutely. We read a lot as children. We read a lot of Shirley Barber fairy books together with my Mum. The illustrations are incredible!


And finally, can you tell us your favourite song and your favourite poem of all time?


I can never say a favourite anything of all time because I love too many things. I would say my favourite song would be a Madonna or Joni Mitchell song. Favourite poem, I love e.e cummings’ ‘i carry your heart with me(i carry it in’ or something by Leonard Cohen.


Take a look inside our Expression: Music and Poetry or purchase your very own copy.