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Art with purpose...

We recently had the opportunity to sit down with the wildly talented Melbourne based illustrative artist and graphic designer, Melina McGough. Using her own home decor print collection, McGough creates unique and custom-made artworks that are internationally recognised. If you haven't seen McGough's BLACK & WHITE pieces and celebrity portraits yet - they're seriously worth checking out. Her bold style is highly detailed and even a bit quirky - and it's impossible not to see the dedication and hard work that drives her ambitious nature.

We had a chat with McGough about her latest project in support of the #blacklivesmatter movement, Love & Unity, which raises much needed funds for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation.

"I wanted to create something simplistic, that speaks volumes. It resembles what I believe the world really needs right now - love and unity."

[TLSE] "Tell us a bit about you and your personal story; how did you get into art and illustration?"

[Melina] "I grew up in Melbourne and I’ve always loved drawing and making art. I only started taking it more seriously a few years ago when people asked for commissions and for me to create designs for them. Art was my ‘side hustle’ for a while but it got to a point where I wanted to do it full time. I used to draw at night and on weekends and eventually, I took the risk and went full time into my business – I’m so glad I did. Art truly gives me a thrill and a sense of purpose."

Tell us about the design of the Love & Unity print.

I wanted to create something simplistic, that speaks volumes. It resembles what I believe the world really needs right now - love and unity.

Art is a powerful medium. It’s personal and by putting your own emotion into something tangible, it’s likely to resonate with others and convey a meaning unlike anything else. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words!

For two months I’m donating all profits from the print sales directly to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, then a percentage of sales ongoing. All prints are premium archival fine art prints (Bauhaus 310gsm, 100% Cotton). They are all created, printed and framed here in Melbourne.

The project supports and raises much needed funds for The Indigenous Literacy Foundation; what drove or inspired you to start it? I had a deep desire to make a positive change after feeling so confronted with the injustices of our current world. I’m aware of Indigenous history, but I wasn’t aware of the literacy gap in Indigenous communities. So I thought, what can I do? That’s when I had the idea to create prints and provide a way for my followers and community to support.

I love Australia I think there’s nothing more important than equal opportunities for everyone. Communication, being able to tell your own story, visually and verbally is key to what I do, so supporting The Indigenous Literacy Foundation was an easy decision for me.

Can you tell us a bit about the Foundation itself?

The Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) is a non-profit charity organisation founded in 2014 by former teacher Suzy Wilson, the owner of Riverbend Books in Bulimba, Brisbane. They now work in over 400 remote communities, supplying thousands of books and literacy resources to address the current crisis in remote Indigenous communities.

Their purpose is to make a difference to Indigenous lives. They also run programs and workshops to inspire and empower parents and community leaders to tell and publish their own stories. These stories have meaning and context for the people who produce them and it inspires a desire to read. It’s fun and engaging, children are also encouraged to write and illustrate their own books in their own language.

ILF aims to close the literacy gap with a focus on instilling a love for reading from an early age. They acknowledge that the maintenance of language and culture in these communities provides an incredible legacy for generations to come.

Raising awareness and showing support for the #blacklivesmatter movement is incredibly powerful and important, what do you hope to inspire in your audience and followers?

My hope is to inspire others to have empathy, show solidarity and to do what they can to support and honour this important and powerful movement.

To check out more of McGough's art and learn more about her process, click here.


WORDS | Brittany Ross

IMAGERY | Melina McGough


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