The soft, feminine world of Gemma Mahoney
A Melbourne-based artist/designer who also works on feminist zine, Accidental Discharge.
Words by Maile Shante.
Local Australian artist Gemma Mahoney is currently studying at RMIT in Melbourne where she resides and by night creates the visual beauty of Accidental Discharge.
How long have you been creating art for?
As a young child my step mum always got us creating. We did paper mache, flower pressing and made things from clay. So creating and doing art was apart of my childhood, but I wasn't properly immersed in it until I was 15. I found such ease and warmth in creating, it helped balance out all my emotions. To this day, if I find I am emotionally struggling I will create work that caters to that emotion.
What was it that pulled you to art, do you have a memory of first falling in love with creating or has it just always been there?
It has always been there, but there was one key moment that made me really fall in love with art. It was when I discovered line. It came to me so naturally and I just felt so relaxed and at ease. Fine liner to paper became a bit of an obsession for me, I started to draw really intricate work that took hours to complete. I guess you could say I found my ‘thing’ so it made creating so much more enjoyable. Even now you will always find a little touch on line in my work.
Where did your love for design come from?
It all started when I researched what I wanted to do after high school. I saw graphic design folios at RMIT and I just new. It was a strange emotion of excitement and obsession. Since then, my love for design keeps on growing. I find myself so easily inspired and motivated by the simplist of things. I now feel far more obsessed with design than art. My creating now seems to be about having a purpose, rather than solely just being created for myself.
Your work is soft and feminine, what does femininity mean to you?
Femininity to me is about one's connection to one's self. My artworks are a reflection of who I am and in some ways represents the elements of myself. So in that sense, my work combines elements I find myself drawn to. I like to create work with detail and layers, explored through space, colour and line.
As for my design work, I hope to have less characteristic of femininity because in some ways it can feel restricting. As a designer you want to be able to offer variety and not necessarily have a very defined style. So I try and look at design as more of a challenge and push what I can do, where my art is primarily my natural process.
You are the artistic director and partner of Accidental Discharge, how has this experience shaped you as designer?
It has changed everything. My focus and energy all naturally goes into Accidental Discharge. I have found it to distract me away from my own explorations, which is actually a beautiful thing. AD has been a journey and we have slowly progressed to a soon final and clear direction. One thing I have learnt, is to take all of what you do very serious. No matter how big or small the project is, put in the time.
What music are you drawn to whilst working?
I often never know what I feel like listening to so I put shuffle on and flick through. I like sing-alongs.
Favourite snack food whilst working?
Apples and tea. I actually just had an apple and I am about to put the jug on.
Follow Gemma Mahoney: WEBSITE