A graduate of Camberwell College of Arts’ Illustration BA course, Billie Muraben has put the last three years of pencil, litho, riso and soft-ground etched graft to some excellent ends with a series of narrative projects. We were particularly taken with her comic Neoteny and its careful curation of words coupled with carefully composed, tonally renderend frames. It’s a great example of how a comic can run simultaneous narratives, expanding the potential for the interpretation of the text and adding a particular weight to the imagery.
Her work (which can be seen on show this week) is heavy on the American, something about being inducted into life by The Wonder Years and “adolescent attempts to identify with The Catcher in the Rye”. Surprisingly, illustration wasn’t her first calling – “I have to acknowledge the stream of alternatives that have come before – mostly rooted in high school film stereotypes, excluding astronaut/pro foosball player/airport receptionist/backing dancer.” She can also count her interests off on one hand, “black coffee, grey scale, orange roofs and golden arches” which maybe explains the colour palate.
If your portfolio was on fire, and you could only save one project, which would you choose, and why?
I’m going to cheat and choose something that isn’t actually in my portfolio. My junior school All About Me book was unearthed recently and, accompanying an account of a day swimming at the nasty beach-front leisure centre, my 8 year old self has drawn a group of kids apparently hanging themselves off of a diving board… I can only imagine it was an early misjudgment of perspective and not a cry for help.
If you could collaborate with another artist/designer to make a piece of work, who would you work with and what would you make?
Seymour Chwast – establishing ‘The Seymour Chwast Emporium’ where everything down to the taps and parquet flooring are designed in-house.
What was your finest moment at art school?
Convincing my tutor that at the end of the final day hanging the internal show, the remaining few who hadn’t passed out (from the combined force of paint fumes and our only sustenance having been a packet of Bombay mix) deserved a prize of almost two meters of pizza (and some complimentary garlic bread).
We believe it was the Jonas brothers who once said “we’re the kids of the future.” How, if at all, do you relate to that?
Anybody who claims to not relate to the poetry of the Jonas brothers is fooling themselves, I mean – ‘Bright lights, boy, look around you. Your imagination is working overtime. The world that you’ve dreamt of has now arrived’ – they’ve pretty much summed up the whole graduate experience in a couple of breaths.
… And you can’t really argue with anyone who uses a repetition of ‘na na na na na’ with such tenacity.
Can you give us ONE prediction about you and your work for the next year?
Attempting to draw the perfect muscle car and overcoming my fear of the colour spectrum.
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- Chris (Simpsons Artist)'s surreal but accurate illustrations of creative jobs
- Benedict Redgrove’s beautifully hypnotic film about how a tennis ball is created
- Ian Davis’ picturesque paintings of bureaucratic dystopia
- Photographer Adrienne Salinger’s series of teenage bedrooms from the 90s
- Is it ever OK to work for free?