Encompassing the Digital
Gemma Hewson takes a layered lens to luxury through blending minimalist design aesthetics and high fashion photography to meet in a digital collage medium.
Rising creative, Gemma Hewson, has become known for her alluring photomontages that seem tailor maid for the modern generation through unique layering and blending of beauty and fashion. Luxury goods seamlessly obscure the alluring faces featured in her work. Additionally, bright blooms burst forth and across the faces featured in Gemma’s artworks. Through a layered collage style, her works explore the contrast between the simple beauty of the natural world, and the complexity of humanity, femininity and diversity.
Blending her love for art, editorial and high fashion, the artist creates work with the intent to evoke emotion, curiosity and joy. However, her works ability to reimage beauty evokes more than her intent suggests and rather evokes questions about the face we show to the world versus the inside. The want to present a perfect image of ourselves is the desire, the allure. But, what is really on the inside becomes a question triggered by the controlled chaos of nature and fashion labels that are collaged over the portraits of her works. Gemmas’ works have the ability to present different meanings and intentions. Ultimately, what that is, is up to the viewer. Her works are something new, something open to interpretation, and something that encompasses the digital. They are artworks of contemporary innovation.
Having studied visual communication design, and worked in both the creative and fashion industries, Gemma relies heavily on her own experiences and impressions to influence her work. We spoke to Gemma about her artistic career, where she plucks inspiration from and where the worlds of nature and portraiture converge in her art. See interview below.
1. How did your artistic career come to evolve?
I think everyone is creative in their own way, but I have definitely always had a creatively curious mind. I had a wild imagination as a child. My mum is a very creative person, so she was very encouraging. My favourite subjects at school were always tactile, like cooking, sewing and woodwork. Strangely enough, I didn’t study art at high school. I always thought that the fact I couldn’t draw meant that I couldn’t do art. It’s funny to think about that now!
During my Bachelor of Visual Communication, I approached most tasks in a conceptually-focused way; I felt there was an artistic solution for everything. I found this especially true in the realm of Mixed Media: If you can make something informative or function-heavy look interesting, and the information easy to digest without being convoluted or presumptuous, then the viewing experience benefits from this empathy.
2. What are your major sources of inspiration?
Inspiration can come from anywhere. Instagram is a particularly amazing little tool; We are now so easily connected to millions of creatives worldwide. It’s the most incredible thing.
One of my favourite artists is Ernest Artillo. He is highly conceptual and brings different forms of art to different mediums; He is a sculptor, performance artist, fashion designer, painter, collage artist… and the list goes on. But what I love is that he’s simply an artist expressing himself in many different ways, unconfined by any one medium.
Some other favourites are Louise Mertens (newly discovered), Nick Thomm (gradient lord), Photographer Axel Morin and Zoe Grossman, and blogs like jjjjound and Haw-lin.
3. VIS-UEL incorporates aspects of layering, collage and photography. What drew you towards using this mixed media approach as your primary outlet?
In high school I was heavily into physical collaging, using cut-outs from magazines. But it was at university that I discovered digital collaging. I think I was more drawn to digital because there were so many new techniques to learn and far less constriction. One project in particular focused on world issues; I chose global warming, layering human and geographical imagery to explore our effect on the environment. This is where my love of mixing nature with portraits began – a formula still present in most of my current work.
4. If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring artist of today, what would it be?
I feel like I am still one of them, so not sure if I can give worldly advice. But the best advice I have ever been given is to just be your truest self and don’t worry about the noise around you. If you get caught up in what other people are doing (which is easy to do) you lose sight of what you are doing and what you create. Don’t try and be like anyone else, because there is only one you, and that is what makes each of us able to create individually unique art.
5. What is in store for you in 2019?
I have some exciting projects coming up this year. On top of personal work, my good friend Kylie (from Wild Minded) and I are organising an art exhibition in London for a charity that supports refugee women. I also have a number of collaborations that will evolve over the year, which I hope will lead to a solo exhibition. I am currently working on some collages for House of Holland using imagery from their resort 19 collection, which I absolutely adore.
On top of those exciting projects, I will be trying to see as much of the world as I can. My boyfriend and I are considering moving to Berlin in August; It is a hub of emerging and established artistic talent, which I am hoping ignites some new ideas and collaborations a little outside of the box. I’m extremely excited for the unknown!