As a small snowboard company making boards by hand, DIY craftsmanship is a part of our roots. So it’s no coincidence that we feel this way about the artwork we designed for our inaugural topsheets.
Okay, not quite true. We can’t take the credit for the beautiful designs throughout the Pallas line. That credit goes to Gemma Davis, a talented 20-year-old artist and illustrator from Brisbane, Australia. In her second year at Griffith University’s Queensland College of Art, Gemma is refining her illustration and line drawing techniques, which always start out with a pencil and paper.
The art student is hardly a novice at what she does, though. Drawing and painting since a small child, she’s developed a colorful and symbolic style that takes years for any artist to master. Coincidentally, her illustrations carry a common motif – a balance of majestic nature and strong women – that’s in sync with Pallas Snowboards’ own philosophy. Needless to say: we are thrilled to have discovered this young artist and collaborate with her on a custom design that embodies our shared values.
While her artwork does a lot of the talking, we had a conversation with Gemma about her inspirations and philosophies, and she was more than excited to divulge what gets her creative juices flowing.
What’s your earliest memory of being creative/drawing?
I have this memory of drawing a Thai temple in preschool. One of the ladies that worked there had gone to Thailand for a holiday and I was ecstatic when she showed me photos of her travels. I vividly remember I had worked out that I could depict the temple roof by stacking circles on top of each other, until they made a big scooping triangle.
When did illustration become a career path rather than a hobby?
I have always drawn and was always encouraged to do so, but I really developed a passion for it in 2010 when I got extremely obsessed with the band Gorillaz. I fell in love with the collaboration between music and art and still list the creators, Jamie Hewlett and Damon Albarn, as my idols. From this I found that there were platforms online where I could share my obsession with other equally obsessed people. Something clicked in my brain. I found other artists who used the internet as one big online gallery, and I followed their trails to discover sites like Behance. I think I really discovered art as a career when I found how much interest there was for my work and I received my first commission. I realized, ‘Hang on, this is actually possible.’
What excites you most about being an artist?
I think it’s the power of art. Not in a scary, narcissistic way (ha!). I mean, the power of the visual. I never quite realized just how powerful the visual is until I started my degree this year. We are an ocular-centric society, and so much of our society is driven by the influence of images. I’m excited about the potential of art. I think too often it is degraded as a career, when really, what would we be without our art and culture?
What’s the significance of the animals, women and flowers throughout your pieces
My art is about the power of women. I’m all about feminism and equality. I think I want to show people how there is no set mold for women or men. There is a balance of masculine and feminine energy in everyone. We all have our yin and yang. That’s what I like about this collaboration with Pallas Snowboards. I am so proud to have been a part of making something for women, especially when its something kickass like a snowboard!
I also like to explore our connection with the rest of the world, outside our anthropocentric perception. That’s where the animals come in. I think we have lost our connection with this world, and I’m trying in my own way, to find it again. I think everyone gets something different out of art though, and I like the idea that everyone finds their own interpretation of what I’m trying to say too.
What are your latest inspirations and/or muses?
Tony Fry is probably the biggest inspiration for me right now. I think his design philosophy has completely opened my eyes, and changed the way I perceive the world. It’s bound to have a great impact on my art making, so I’m interested to see how that manifests.
Other inspirations I find in music. I really like Half Moon Run and Grimes at the moment. Other artists such as furrylittlepeach and Charmaine Olivia are huge inspirations for me. They explore similar themes in their work, and I see their success as a hope for my own future. It drives me to work hard, because I have an example that says it can be done.
Do you have any creative must-haves or tools?
My MacBook, without doubt. It sounds a little sad, but where my MacBook is, is home. Once you go Mac, you never go back. I carry my life on this thing, and a multitude of artworks in progress. The other must-have is my little mechanical pencil, without whom I would be lost!
Are you experimenting on any new techniques or ideas?
I’m getting back to some purely digital painting work, but I think over my four-month break from uni I will have a go at some new mediums and experiment a bit. I would really like to build up my confidence with sketching, too. My aim is to keep a sketchbook and attempt to draw something everyday, but we will see how that goes.
If you could only draw with one color, what would it be?
It may sound boring, but black. Don’t tsk your tongue at me. I know it’s technically a shade, but black is all I need! There is so much depth in it, and so much to be said with it.
What’s your favorite non-art distraction?
Ooh, that’s a tricky one. Almost everything could be considered art-related, but perhaps I’m being too technical. My current addiction is anime. I’m terribly fascinated by it. I get very upset by the way Western civilization sees animation as reserved for children, when it’s such a powerful and impressive medium. I think that’s why I love anime so much. That and reading… it’s a fantastic form of escapism. I have been known to watch whole series in one go and devour them to the point that I almost forget who I am.
The animal you most spiritually resonate with?
Deer or elk. I have been told that the deer is my current totem animal, and I have no trouble believing it. I’m in love with them. I think deer is helping me to grow. It’s been a tough two years, leaving school, leaving my family and my hometown for the city, and all the new adult things that come with living out of home. I feel like deer helps me to keep my inner child, and to face this new world with love rather than hate. I don’t often tell people things like this though, as often they get a bit uncomfortable at the mention of totems and the like, but between us, I think we can learn a lot from animals.