Cornerstone Coffeehouse’s Artist of the Month for June 2021.
Georgia is an artist and illustrator who was born and raised in the Mechanicsburg area. She graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2015 and has lived abroad in Sydney, Australia and Seoul, South Korea. After two years abroad teaching English in Korea and a stint as a social media marketer in Lancaster, she has returned to her ancestral home to be a barista for the duration of the pandemic.
Though she has a degree in marketing and a minor in English literature, she has wanted to be an artist from a very young age. Her formal art education only extends through high school, but she continued drawing and painting since then, honing her craft in her free time. While her favorite media are watercolor and ink pen, she also uses acrylic, gouache, and dabbles in printmaking.
For Georgia, art is not only a form of meditation but also a way to “record” things for later. In the process of making art, it’s possible to zone out and not really think about much of anything, which is difficult in today’s noisy world. A natural collector, she likes to collect sketches in her sketchbook that may or may not be turned into larger works later. Most importantly, most of her work is done in a sketchbook, not intended for the world to see. The works are small and portable because the inspiration isn’t always neatly at home, and you have to be mobile and adaptable to record inspiration where it strikes. Her mission is to collect and record all of the beautiful things she sees, like a pokedex for aesthetic.
Here is a recent Q&A with Georgia –
Tell us briefly about your background & how you got started in your medium.
I’m a former English teacher & social media marketer and now a barista, but the constant thread of my life has been my passion for drawing and painting. I’ve been drawing and painting since the time I could hold a pen, when my Nana taught me how to watercolor paint. My current work is informed by a global perspective.
How does your medium inform your viewpoint? Or what do you like most about your medium?
I developed this style because it is so portable. Watercolors, pen, and a sketchbook can fit easily into your backpack when you’re biking around to the beach, but less so if you need a full easel and acrylic paint set. In addition, I love how unpredictable it is: you never know how the paints will react and the patterns they will make until you put brush to paper.
Who or what have been your artistic inspirations?
I’m a consumer of all types of art, from art museums to graffiti and tattoos to illustrators on instagram. My biggest inspirations are digital illustrations by JJ Knight, woodblock prints of Katsushika Hokusai, fine art illustrations by James Jean, character designs by Disney animator Glen Keane, and Art Nouveau legend Alphonse Mucha.
Do you have a favorite piece in your portfolio?
My favorite pieces are the series of Cathedral of Learning illustrations that I did back in college. The series is called “36 Views of the Cathedral of Learning,” based on the series that Hokusai did of various views of Mount Fuji in Edo-era Japan. In the same way, I illustrated all of the different views of the University of Pittsburgh’s most iconic building in different seasons and media. I have included 6 of the series in this exhibition.
What would be your advice to artists just starting out in your medium?
While a solid sketch and understanding of technical elements go a long way, I would say that having fun is just as if not more important! Stop at the first second you might think that it is done; often a painting can be ruined by a “too much” gene.