What inspired you to establish truth.be.told?
I've loved drawing as long as I can remember. Truth.be.told started after I finished university and I felt really uninspired. I started drawing again for fun (rather than to design a building) and found that it really was what I loved doing. At the end of 2007 I started doing cards, illustrations and custom wedding invitations for friends and the rest is history so to speak.The name "truth.be.told" was inspired by the old movies and musicals of the 40's & 50's. There was always a heartfelt declaration being made following the statement, truth be told.I thought it would fit nicely with the idea that people would use my stationery as a way to share their own truths.
What expertise do you bring to truth.be.told?
I'm a 25 year old Melbourne based designer who graduated in 2007 with a Bachelor of Architecture (Honors) from Deakin Uni. Since then I have been working my double life - I am afraid I am turning into Clark Kent more everyday - I work as a graphic designer at an architectural office in Melbourne by day and in my 'other life' I create pretty, whimiscal illustrations and other flights of fancy all under the umbrella of my little business that could: truth.be.told.
When do you find the time to create your treasures?
It's hard, I'm not going to lie but I really love what I do and it is actually a pleasure to come home after work and make my own designs. Knowing that people are going to enjoy the things I make and that it is something handmade and unique is a great motivator too.
How would you describe the type of products you create?
I would describe my products as whimsical stationery. The intention I had from the beginning was to create beautiful cards that were also a mini piece of art. Each illustration is unique because of the collage technique I use. The gift cards are also one of a kind because of the handmade and sewn elements. I'm really inspired by images and films from the 40's & 50's, especially fashion illustration and photographs from this time. My favourite are sketches from Givenchy and Dior. The detail in creating these outfits have always fascinated me. I grew up watching old films like "Funny Face" & "High Society" and whenever I am stuck for inspiration I always turn to those. I'm really trying to bring a piece of that to my illustrations and stationery pieces. There is always more than meets the eye with my products.
Where do you work from?
I work from my little home studio in my backyard, which is an amazing little space. I love spending time out in the studio, which as well as sewing and drawing spaces also has my secret treasure in the form of my dark room. I really could spend days out there, as long as I have a warm cup of tea and some lovely music, it is bliss. I actually do a lot of my sketching & illustration on the tram on the way to and from work which is always interesting.
I like that letters and cards are so personal and thoughtful, and that they are kept for years. It is even more special when you receive something that is a little different or handmade. The whole act of taking the time out and physically writing is just a thoughtful process and I also thought it was a nice way for people to give something lovely and with the added bonus of some affordable art in the form of a giftcard.
Your work is dotted with textured patterns and prints. Where do these come from?
I really like the idea of 'dressing' the illustration, as a lot my work is almost fashion illustration in a sense. I collect vintage prints, magazines, postage stamps and advertising to use. At the moment I'm really interested in using typography to create the texture and pattern in pieces. I have bee using old typewriters and also stamps to generate patterns by hand. I also like to make my own patterns using watercolours and inks which I then use as a palette to digitally render the designs.
Jess recently launched her website and is now working on developing her online shop. Online retailers include Madeit and Leeloo. You can meet Jess in person and buy some of her treasures at her stall at the Rose St Artists Markets in Fitzroy, VIC every Sunday this coming October 2009.