Interview by: Lisa Gorman

Minna wears: Family Gathering Skirt + Amy Knit Top + Holiday Sandal

Minna Gilligan is a Melbourne-based artist. Her works are abstract playgrounds of vibrant colour, primarily rendered in painting and drawing, and often including elements of collage.

Minna graduated from Victorian College of Arts in 2012, and from there has exhibited nationally and internationally. The National Gallery of Australia even holds a number of her works in their collection. She also has a rather prolific social media presence, and, on top of all that, Minna has published three books. Basically, nothing short of amazing.

In celebration of our recent release of the second Mirka + gorman collaboration, we took a trip out to Heide Museum of Modern Art with Minna Gilligan and photographed her perusing the Mirka Mora: Pas de Deux – Drawings and Dolls exhibition which opened on Saturday - whilst wearing styles from our new collaboration. Gorman is proud to be the Principal Partner of the exhibition.

Lisa Gorman also sat down and chatted to our long time friend to find out what inspires her and how Mirka's work has influenced her own creative practice.

Minna wears: Family Gathering Dress + Family Gathering Skirt + Amy Knit Top + Holiday Sandal

What inspired you to become a visual artist?

I was definitely inspired by my family, who are some of the most perceptive, imaginative and visionary people I know. To be an artist just made sense, and I followed the Gilligan family lore of creative and personal expression above all else. Extensive visual stimuli and colour has been a part of my life forever, my Mum being a florist, my Dad a designer, and my Grandfather and Aunt artists themselves. Maybe I didn’t have a choice!

How has Mirka's work been an influence on your own creative practice?

Mirka’s work feels so warm and alive to me – her world embraces you and invites you to enter. I think being an artist is about creating your own world, about having an aesthetic that is so undeniably you, and about your works being extensions of your own presence. Mirka did this and thus her presence lives on – there is something so remarkable about this and I hope I can do this one day. I love how Mirka’s work draws you in with rich colour and innocent-eyed cherubs, but can also emanate slightly sinister elements, too. That dichotomy is one I strive for in my work, a kind of ‘Wizard of Oz’ technicolour uneasiness – undertones of something you can’t quite put your finger on.

What is your fave shade of lipstick?

Red lipstick is my thing, as it is lots of other people’s thing too of course! At the moment I’m wearing a Too Faced liquid matte red, which I’m liking! I go through phases in regards to brand, but I always pick a matte red. Even if it’s a lazy no makeup day I will still wear red lipstick – it’s been a solid 10 year thing, I’ve come too far now to stop!

In an interview with ABC in 2014, Mirka was asked how she knew when a painting was done. She responded, "When it's happy. When I'm happy." How do you know when your own artwork is complete?

Mirka is far more succinct in her response than I could ever be. It truly is a case of the painting being ‘happy’. A sense of contentedness washes over you upon completion, there is no longer niggling requests emanating from the work about what it may need next. It sounds ridiculous but you have to communicate with your paintings in that you have to listen to them. It’s learned as you hone your craft!

What themes and subjects influence your work?

I liken my work to a Tumblr feed, where influences from the past and the present intertwine and combine to form these bizarre and often psychedelic, hybrid realms. Nostalgia is something I think about a lot, in how it distorts the past, how it allows us to romanticise times and places that weren’t altogether sunshine-y in reality. I think about how women occupy and have occupied spaces in the world and what that means for us now in digital spaces. I like selfies, Youtube, clothes, Madonna, and intersectional feminism – not in that order.

Instagram: @minnagilligan