Meet a freak : Jessica Birch

Jessica Birch [creative superhuman] is the uber-talented illustrator behind our upcoming January to March monochrome cover artwork and quite possibly one of our most inspiring "this is why we do this" connections we have made since we started the biz.

Jess's Mum Sue reached out to us last Christmas and after a beautiful conversation from one Mum to another, we just knew that we had to have Jess featured on one of our covers. And aren't you freaking glad we did?! Because those blooms are absolute #deskgoals.

We asked Jess a few questions to get to know what makes her tick and why she loves living a creative lifestyle. And you're going to love her just as much as we do by the end of this read, we guarantee it.


1. Who and where are you?

Hey there! My name is Jessica and I’m a freelance graphic designer and illustrator living in inner-city Melbourne. You can get in touch with me via email at jbirch.design@gmail.com

2. In one paragraph tell us a bit about yourself.
I love going to my hometown in Northern NSW and walking through the rainforest, and even though I’ve been doing the same walk since I was three yrs old, it never gets old for me. It's a peaceful nostalgia that I relish, as I do putting my feet in the sand and listening to the waves crash on the beach. I take photos of everything! Always clicking away finding colour and contrast and moments that please me...A visual diary I can look back on. I think like most people I’m full of hope, cynicism, humour, seriousness, compassion, indifference, spontaneity and restraint. I’m shy but fierce. I love watching true crime, but cover my eyes during violent movies...what can I say.

3. What makes being a creative so special?
I think that little spark of joy that happens when a creative idea suddenly pops into your head is pretty special. It's exciting, gives you a little rush...A joy or anticipation, like when you have a little secret and can't wait to tell someone.

4. What makes it really shit sometimes?
The biggest pitfall of being creative for me is having a myriad of ideas, wanting to put them out into the world, and not being able. I have a hidden disability so I struggle to be able to get many of my personal projects finished, it frustrates and disappoints me. Not being able to fully express myself in that sphere is really shit.

5. Who is your biggest #girlboss crush at the moment and why?
I’m absolutely crushing on this young woman called Sinead Bovell. She is a masters graduate, who has spent time working as a model, but recently founded an organization for young entrepreneurs that prepares them for a world with advanced technologies; holding discussions, and giving them tips and insights on how they might navigate their careers. She’s also involved in some workplace rights activism in the modelling industry. Although I’m not a business/tech-focused person I find the things she talks about interesting in understanding what is happening in the world and how rapidly things are changing. Most importantly the way in which she conducts herself and has been able to integrate her disparate passions into a successful and thought-provoking career is very inspiring.
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6. What is the single best piece of advice someone has given you about your creative ventures?
Draw a rough draft! A crucial step that I always like to skip and it always ends in tears.

Also never to compare your beginner work to a master work. We all need to start somewhere...Who's done that? I’m so guilty of that.

7. What is your “superhero” power? What do you do that nobody else can?
I have an organic brain injury that was diagnosed very late in my life. It is completely hidden, but it means that I’m uniquely neuro-diverse. I’m good at some things but struggle with others that women my age wouldn’t think twice about. When you have difficulties that are hidden, there is an expectation that you will navigate this world the same way a person without a disability would, I have had to work very hard to maintain a foothold in a typical world with an A-typical brain...I think that's a superpower of sorts.

8. What do you need to do more of?
Draw. I need to draw much, much more...

9. Ideal chill out day?
Oh a day at the beach, Hands down!  Blue skies, clear water, hot sun, some cold grapes and a smoothie, with nothing to do and nowhere to be. Heaven.

10. What is your favourite piece of work/achievement to date?
I have a few milestones that I’m quite proud of, but my Control Freak diary cover is high on my list at the moment. I really like that idea of functional art, so to see my finished work on something that people can actually use, that helps them in their everyday lives...that makes me happy.
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💕 💕 💕 💕 💕
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Thanks so much Jess for sharing your story with us - and of course your artwork! 2020 is looking mighty fine for all those #controlfreaks out there on #teammonochrome.

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