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Lisa Marie is back again today with her monthly column, NKOTB, profiling young Australian creatives. Today she introduces us to the colourful world of Minna Gilligan, an emerging Melbourne artist whose star is on the rise. She’s only 23, but Minna is represented by Daine Singer Gallery, her work is included in the NGV’s current blockbuster show Melbourne Now, and she has recently been accepted for a two year studio residency at Gertrude Contemporary, which starts later this year.  It’s basically inevitable that she will be super famous one day. You heard it here first people! – Lucy.

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Minna Gilligan making some sketchbook magic in her Collingwood studio. Photo – Eve Wilson.

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The appropriately colourful Collingwood studio of Minna Gilligan. Photo – Eve Wilson.

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Minna finessing a collage-based work using found image she collects from second books, magazines and photos. Photo – Eve Wilson.
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‘Amelia’, 2012, acrylic and collage on paper by Minna Gilligan.
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Impeccably dressed Minna Gilligan in her Collingwood studio. Photo – Eve Wilson.

You may or may not know that The Design Files relies 100% on the existence of Post-Its. We invest in the original Post-It brand, not the knock off ones where the adhesive isn’t long lasting, and the end of the paper curls up like a ‘80s perm. It is on these very Post-Its that we map out our entire content schedule, and where I first wrote down the name ‘Minna Gilligan’ many months ago. Every day since that little note has been haunting me, refusing to fall off the wall, and finally today the day has come to share Minna’s work on TDF!

Minna’s work originally caught my attention when I was reading US wunderkind Tavi Gevinson’s online magazine for teenage girls Rookie. Minna had randomly responded to a contributor call out about this new magazine, and was quickly enlisted on the Rookie team as an illustrator. Since then I’ve followed her work and amazing wardrobe purchases via her blog and Instagram, and have always been impressed by how much this 23-year-old is able to fit into the average week. She works part-time at Art Guide Australia, illustrates for Rookie, makes music with local band Pamela, and spends every other spare moment in her studio making art. ‘I’m in my studio A LOT, either painting, obsessively cutting out pictures from old books, drawing, or watching shows about hoarders on my iPad to remind myself not to become one,’ she says, referring to the constantly expanding collection of second hand magazines, books, records and ephemera upon which much of Minna’s work is based.

Graduating from VCA in 2012 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honours) in painting, Minna’s practice takes on various mediums including drawing, painting and collage, often resulting in a hybrid amalgamation of the three. Minna’s abstract colourful works are influenced by the 1960’s and ‘70s. ‘Obviously it wasn’t a time I experienced or lived through, but I’m experiencing and creating my work through other people’s memories via found photographs, old flower power badges, and super daggy uncle music that I not-so-secretly love,’ explains Minna.

Minna definitively knew she wanted to be an artist when she was 15, and had an epiphany of sorts while on a family holiday in New York. ‘When I came back from the holiday, I saw things differently, with excitement, drive, colour, and possessed a newly identified yearning for one thing – to be creative, and ultimately to be an artist.’ She has been steadfast in her approach to make this dream a reality since, and is already commercially represented by Daine Singer Gallery. She has exhibited in various solo and group shows, including Melbourne Now (which is coming to a close soon Melburnians, get there soon if you haven’t already!).

Recently awarded a studio residency at Gertrude Contemporary, and poised to start this December, Minna says ‘I am literally busting for it to begin, I get my own massive studio there for two years and I absolutely cannot wait!’ For now though, she is looking forward to making more work ahead of her September solo show at Daine Singer, and in the very immediate shorter term says ‘I’m excited to hopefully win an eBay auction on a silver Miu Miu leather jacket. Maybe I would have won the auction and will be wearing the jacket by the time this is published. I will keep you posted.’

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‘Sweet Home’, 2011, texta, acrylic and collage on paper by Minna Gilligan.
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Studio details. Photo – Eve Wilson.