Interview by: Sinead Bailey Kelly
We were over the moon that Jill & Gill a creative power house female duo, turning out some amazing original print works and collaborations in Dublin could take a minute out to have a chat with us before their first solo exhibition together this week. We are delighted to feature them as part of our “March of the Motts” theme this month, were we are focusing on encouraging female role models within our communities.
How did you ladies meet? And when did you decide to collaborate together?
We’ve been working and collaborating together for just under a year now, we met back in 2015 when Jill wanted to explore her work in a screen printed medium for her 2nd solo show. Gill screen prints for artists, designers, and brands all the time but when we first printed Jill’s ‘cow’ illustration we both knew there was something more here for both of us. Then in March/April of 2016, we got to work together on a commission for Tall Boy Designs which also turned out to be our first limited edition Jill & Gill print, Bosco. Things have just rolled from there and we haven’t looked back since thankfully were too busy too.
Are there any running themes within your bodies of work, or do you just allow yourselves full creative freedom to produce whatever tickles your fancy?
I guess when we first started out with the Tall Boy commission of Bosco (our first ever Jill&Gill print) we were also printing the Trolls at the same time and Jill had just finished a drawing of a unicorn, so we decided to run a couple of different editions of that image also – so without even thinking about it, it looked like we had a bright, playful and nostalgic theme already in place. The Repeal print was the first turning point for us, where our work took a more personal and serious turn. We wanted to use our skills to give back, help out in some way and hopefully a print that would get people talking.
When it came to the Iris collection, it was an idea that we both had – Jill always wanted to draw her and Gill had endless ideas of colour and print – so one day last June, over eating a bunsen burger, the Iris idea was formed and here we are 9 months on and we are a fews days away from the opening night of our first solo exhibition (our 1yr birthday too!). The Iris print was just going to be another Jill & Gill print, but when we started telling our peers about what our next project was, people were getting very excited and for the first time we felt a little bit of pressure with this one. So that’s why it’s taken us this long to get the collection together – its not just another Jill & Gill print now, but a collection of prints – a true example of what Jill & Gill can create together as a collaborative duo and we’re very excited to show everyone.
What inspires you both? and how does this affect your creative process?
Our eyes are open all the time! We love designer collaborations like Kenzo, Jeremy Scott or closer to home Irish Designers The ProjectTwins.
Fashion has started to become a huge part of our influences, our Iris print is just the start!
Tell us a little bit about your show next week? what are you featuring? how long are you exhibiting for?
Its our first exhibition and just so happens to be our one year as JillandGill. We will be designing and creating 25 unique screen printed artworks. The prints, a portrait of Iris Apfel, will embody her colourful style and sophistication, with a playfully sense of humour to match. Each limited edition print will be printed on 300gsm cotton paper, with each layer of the image screen-printed in a multitude of finishes and hand embellishments, informed by her eclectic permutations of designer clothing and exotic accessories.
The prints will be available to purchase at the exhibition and online at www.jillandgill.com.
We will also be having an Event on the Saturday, 1st April – its a free event but ticketed, of which can be got through our EventBrite or Facebook.
Jill&Gill will be having a small talk on who they are, how they met and how they’re first year as Jill & Gill has gone so far. We are also excited to show a special process video of their our work created by Kilig Productions.
Exhibition Dates: 29th of March 2017 – 2nd of April 2017
Exhibition Launch: Wed, 29thth of March at 7pm
Screening of IRIS: Saturday, 1st April at 2pm
What are you future plans for Jill & Gill?
We want to keep creating pieces that push us both as artist individually (as in our skill sets) and together as a collaborative due – we really enjoyed the process of the Iris collection, it was a lot of long hours and hard work but it was so rewarding when we stepped back and viewed all 25 pieces as a whole. We actually surprised ourselves with how much we were able to push each piece to make it unique in its own right yet Iris still remaining as the main focus point. We both have pushed ourselves so much with this collection that we don’t really know how to top it! But the patterns we’ve created from Iris and the colours we used on each print have already given us a few ideas. We’re very much into fashion so having some Iris inspired clothing is definitely on our list.
How do you feel women are represented in the arts community in Ireland?
Female designers, artists, and creatives are a driving force in Ireland, when you take a step back and look at the arts community you don’t need to go far to see just that or see the long list of women supporting it. Theres a great sense of community among the Irish design and art community. Some of the top Irish design shops are run by women, international jewellery, and fashion designers, thriving women making waves internationally to young illustrators here in Dublin achieving publishing deals. The support is there but it takes a lot of self-motivation and determination.
Who are you crushing on right now in the art scene?
Keeping things Irish and all about the girls! We are big fans of Jewellery designer Jenny Huston and her brand ‘Edge Only’, we both own some fab pieces from her collection. Then theres Bag & Bones, we really want a Jill & Gill neon sign, we love Gigi and Cavanagh Foyle brand, they’ve been jumping along and why not, with clients like Kate Moss…amazing! Then there’s illustrator Denise Nestor, that girl has some amount of talent and her attention to detail and the way she works her compositions on the page are just beautiful and inspiring.
Huge thank you to the girls for taking the time out to speak to H&G, we are really looking forward to seeing the show and to seeing what these two get up to next. You can have a look at more of their work and creative process over on their instagram https://www.instagram.com/jillandgill/