Emerging Brisbane illustrator and artist Pip Spiro is gaining a steady following in her home town. Her first exhibition at Black + Spiro last year was a sell-out, and she has since been working on commissions from Australia and overseas. After studying business and working in advertising, Pip took a leap of faith and decided to quit her job to focus on what she's always enjoyed the most - drawing. Since then she held her first show, and is working towards her next.
Which five words best describe you? Contradictory, aesthetic, detailed, impatient and vague.
What's the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Don’t let perfect get in the way of better. At times I can become crippled with indecision however I’m learning that sometimes you just have to take that first step – any step – as once you’ve made a start, you’ve no choice but to make it work.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? Growing up I was always torn - one foot in the arts and the other in more academic pursuits. I studied business management at university and worked in advertising agencies after my degree. However, I always knew that it wasn’t my ‘end game’ and longed for a more creative outlet. So in 2011 I took a leap of faith and quit my job with no forwarding plans – in hindsight very scary and quite silly! Luckily things have a way of panning out and four months later I had an exhibition of my work through Black and Spiro – which was fortunately a success. Selling out at the exhibition gave me the "permission" to really commit to my drawing and illustration; and since then my primary source of business is commission work for private customers across Australia and overseas.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Selling out my first exhibition was definitely a very fulfilling milestone and gave me the external validation to keep doing what I was doing; but being entirely self-taught and very green I still feel self-conscious labeling myself an artist. So I look forward to the day when I can put my hand on my heart and proudly declare myself an artist to the world.
What’s been your best decision? Quitting advertising - and going back to the roots of what has made me happy since I was a child, which is drawing.
Who inspires you? Beautiful things and older people inspire me. Real style, composure and wisdom only come with age and you will always learn something from a conversation with a person with years and life experience under their belt.
What are you passionate about? It sounds corny but I’m quite patriotic. We are so lucky to live in this amazing country and I think there’s no excuse not to embrace and look after it. Be energy conscious, support local industry and go to the beach – we have a responsibility to enjoy and preserve every square inch of it.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Charles Darwin. Evolution fascinates me.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? Too many to list. Simply though, I want to grow my skills so that every drawing and painting is better than the last. To do this with the sand touching my toes most days would be pretty great, too.
What are you reading? About three different biographies, all a bit nondescript separately but interesting together.
images courtesy of pip spiro