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    Category Archives: Interviews with Creative Women

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    Australian Women in Art: Outsider Artist Jasmine Mansbridge

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    by Annette Wagner

    Jasmine Mansbridge is an ongoing contributor and supporter of CWC, and an artist with an upcoming show at Koskela in Sydney this year. In the often intimidating art world, Jasmine would be considered an “outsider artist,” a term used for people who are untrained, without a formal art school education. However, as you’ll read from Jasmine’s contribution below, her training has been gained through mentors and life. And, like many other “outsider artists,” she is generating a swirl of supporters and attention through sheer drive, visibility, and consistent, passionate determination.

    With no formal fine art education, you are very much an “outsider artist,” as the industry likes to say. How has your journey as an artist transpired? Tell us about finding confidence and courage in your style, and why painting has become your passion.

    My overall naivety about the art business reveals itself to me more and more as time goes on. It was around this time last year that I was referred to by a gallery as an outsider artist. This was the first time I became aware of the term. I think if years ago—when I started painting—I had known what I know now about the complexity of the art world, I would have been too overwhelmed to feel I could ever experience success as an artist.

    My desire to be an artist has been built by the practical application of creativity. I became pregnant at age seventeen, and at the time I was living in Katherine in the Northern Territory. There was no internet, no phone, and often no transport. I lived away from my parents while all my friends had typical teenage lifestyles. I was determined to be the best mother I could, so I began painting as a way to channel my frustration and loneliness into something positive. I would be home painting while everyone else I knew was out. My painting sustained me and gave me a way to express myself.

    In those early years, I was encouraged by older, established creative people within the Katherine community. This is one reason I love to share with people, because I am proof that creativity can bring so many good things to one’s life.

    My growth as an artist has been largely organic. I am big on taking opportunities presented to me. I have so much to learn, but I have always figured I will only learn by doing. I think that the hard thing about being on outside, is getting on the inside!

    How did you arrive at your medium? Has painting always been your creative outlet? Expand on finding painting and the specifics of the medium (such as acrylic on board).

    When I first started painting, it was with those tiny tubes of acrylic you could buy from a newsagent, and watercolour paper. I still have some of those early works.

    I was encouraged to paint by my in-laws at the time. They run an Aboriginal art gallery in Katherine and began giving me linen off-cuts and basic paint colours. This is where my obsession with quality art materials began, because it makes all the difference to a piece.

    It wasn’t until I started to sell work and buy it myself that I realised how much it all cost. If you know someone who likes to paint, why not buy her some good stuff? It makes such a difference. I have always painted with acrylics because I’ve always worked within the home environment. They dry very quickly and don’t have the smell that oils do. They also work well with my style and allow me a lot of control. I love to paint on linen as it is such a beautiful product, but I also work on board, and on paper for smaller works. In saying that, this year I plan to experiment with oils to see what they do visually to my style.

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    With a growing number of solo exhibitions, a book, public murals, and a pending exhibition at Koskela later this year, how do you divide your time while still being present to your family of five? 

    It is answering this question that led me to write my book, There Is a Paintbrush in My CoffeeIn the book, I talk about all the ways I have learnt to work over the years.

    You have to be very passionate about something to give it the energy that I give my painting and my family. But the nature of painting—the solitude, the contemplative aspect of it—is quite complimentary to the overall busyness of my life. My family brings its own blessings in that they love me and need me whether I do good work or no work. It is a great balance to the ego having children. I am often reminded of the saying, “Before enlightenment, chop firewood and cart water. After enlightenment, chop firewood and cart water.”

    It is school holidays at the moment, so my house is like a bomb site. I have to set very low expectations of what I will get done so I can be happy. I am glad I have the excuse of being a artist so I can ignore the mess and let the kids be “creative.” During school term I use a bit of daycare, do “kid swaps”; I have a couple teenage babysitters, and sometimes I pay my own teenagers as well. It is always a juggle because children’s routines and needs are always changing. Simply put, I am a control freak who has had to learn to let a lot slide. There is a line from the cartoon Madagascar that stays in my head: “Just smile and wave, boys, smile and wave…. often all you can do.”

    This year will see a massive shift with the oldest two (20 and 17) away at university, two in school, and only one (my crazy two-year-old) at home. So I am planning on taking on a bit more this year commitment-wise. Exciting times ahead. My husband has a job that sees him working long hours, especially at this time of year; we are both ambitious in our own way. But me working from home means I am also running the home. It is a challenge, but I have come to accept that it always will be. To be working creatively is a great gift, something I am aware of and grateful for daily.

    My greatest asset, I think, is to be able to mentally “turn on a dime” and paint productively in short spaces of time. If I have an hour I use that hour. You have to develop and nurture that skill. My biggest tip would be to get a space to work where you can leave your work—even if it is just a corner in your bedroom (where I worked for many years), or a drawer in a cupboard. Doing this means you are able to maximise your work time and not waste it setting up or packing up.

    Being creative is such a wonderful way to relax, to order your thoughts, to challenge yourself, and to express yourself. It is a way to add value to your life.

    Your work continues to progress. Who are your influences and inspiration and how important have mentors been to you?

    I was a child who grew up without a television and I spent many hours drawing. My grandmother was an artist and she worked in a studio painting portraits, amongst other things. I was always disappointed at how my pictures looked compared to hers, so early on I tried to find my own way of visually representing things. I remember being awestruck the first time I saw mosaics, and I have been obsessed with pattern and repetitive design for as long as I can remember. These elements have always been present in my work in some way.

    While still in Katherine (which I left when I was twenty-six), I spent time with established Indigenous artists. Their use of pattern, and their patience and devotion to their work, resonated deeply with me. I learnt a lot about the life of an artist, and how important it is that it be tailored around the work. My life is like that. My life and my painting are not separate but the same. I have always felt greatly moved in nature and had a connection to the physical world, and this—as well as storytelling—are all aspects of my work.

    This philosophy has seen me ride the highs and lows of the “career” side of my life well. At the end of the day, I would make work with or without an audience. While commercial success and sales are important because they enable my work—and me—to grow, I often remind myself that to do meaningful, connected work, I have to be meaningful and connected to my work. Otherwise it will become empty, repetitive, and meaningless.

    In the last few years, social media has allowed me to connect with a wider audience and has given me some wonderful friends and mentors. I am grateful for this and I definitely do not feel the isolation I once felt as an artist living in a regional area. There are also more creative people living and working in my local area (Hamilton, Victoria). I think we are in exciting times for regional centres as new hubs for creative growth, perhaps due to cheap living costs and the internet making the world a much smaller place.

    You mentioned M.C Escher; he is certainly an artist who I have long admired. I also love the suburban paintings of Jeffrey Smart, the Australian artist. They say something about the artistic quality of the man-made world. Of artists working presently, I think Ghostpatrol (David Booth) does interesting and clever pieces, as does Miranda Skoczek. I have a friend here in Hamilton, Grotti Lotti, who is making beautiful work as well. I love a lot of art, but it is the paintings I remember that impact me. That is my measure of good work: the images that stay with me long after I have seen them.

    Patti Smith has influenced my thinking a lot in the last few years. Her thoughts on the culture of celebrity have got me thinking about this within the art world, and her simple advice to just “do your best work” resonates with me time and time again.

    You have a big exhibition at Koskela in Sydney later this year. How did you secure your gallery exhibitions? What are your top tips for other artists trying to establish themselves and secure gallery exhibitions? 

    I am really looking forward to showing at Koskela. I remember going to a Rachel Castle workshop there in 2012, thinking how much I would like to exhibit there. Like most things I do, the time between the seed of the idea and it actually happening is usually a long time.

    I don’t have time or resources to pursue a broad range of ideas, so I generally pursue only a couple important ones. I actually flew to Sydney this time last year to meet with the art director and show her some work in the flesh. This was after some time spent sending emails back and forth and developing connections there. Anything worth doing costs something, and finding places to show your work is no different. For a long time now, all the money I make goes back into the work, so I am able to make bigger and better things happen. Then, of course, you have to do the work. Every door opens another, so to speak. I want to keep making the work better to prove myself worthy of the next project, and so on. I say this all the while aware that I am not yet where I would like to be career-wise, and knowing that I have to take my own advice and be patient and consistent.

    My advice to younger creatives is to get out and say “hi” to your heroes. You won't connect with everyone, but you don’t need to. Be yourself, but the best version of it. If you want to work with someone, reach out and tell him or her. The world is so small now; with social media, you can chat to almost anyone.

    My favourite thought of late, which keeps me going when I am clueless, is this: No one has been me before. It’s very simple—scary, almost, but true. No one has been me. I can only make choices about what I want to do. I cannot follow, emulate, or duplicate another person’s career or life. I can’t live off someone else’s advice or example. It is a powerful truth.

    You have only failed when you have quit, so keep working. Creativity is a long game. As I said above, it is inextricably linked with your life. Do your best work and get it out in the world.

    Lastly, how important are your support networks? And what is some of the best advice you received when you were establishing yourself?

    The Creative Women’s Circle came into my life at an important time, when I was feeling like I needed to link into something bigger than myself. Because I live regionally, work from home, and work in my home as a mother, I can feel isolated. Through CWC, I was able to meet people I would not normally meet. Blogging for the CWC helped me clarify my thoughts on many things, and cement my feelings about being a professional creative. I recommend membership to everyone I meet, as it is an invaluable resource and support system.

    To see more of Jasmine’s work, visit her at jasminemansbridge.com. She can also be reached at jasminemansbridge@yahoo.com.au.

    Annette Wagner is a designer, marketer, creative consultant, artist, and writer. She is also on the board of the Creative Women’s Circle. Obsessively passionate about the arts and the creative process, she is determined to not talk art-speak and instead focus on supporting and sharing concepts and insights most creative types crave to know.

    Tags: artist, Interview, painting, regional, Regular Columns
    Posted by: Julie Mazur Tribe
    Categories: Interviews with Creative Women, Regional, Regular Columns | Comments Off on Australian Women in Art: Outsider Artist Jasmine Mansbridge
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    Industry Insights: Miranda Moreira, artist and maker at Bride&Wolfe

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    By Annette Wagner

    Many of you know the beautiful objects Miranda Moreira creates for her business Bride&Wolfe, however, many don’t know its fairytale beginnings. From studying fine art with high distinctions and getting a gallery contract, to completing an apprenticeship with Greg Malouf, to becoming the private residential chef for Gerard Depardieu in Paris for 6 years. I certainly didn’t know and it makes me love Miranda’s work more.

    I asked Miranda to share her story from amazing beginnings, how she manages her wholesaler relationships, the benefits of markets and diversifying, her recent invitation to the Paris Design Show and the importance of trusting your instincts.

    From art school, to living and working in Paris, how did you arrive at exploring and establishing your own successful product range and business?

    The Bride&Wolfe journey is a little bit of a fairytale. I studied fine art and finished well with high distinctions, but after years of schooling I’d run out of puff, and had a strong case of wanderlust. Keen to find a way of exploring the world with a creative career that wasn’t so precarious, I reinvented myself as a chef, finishing my apprenticeship with Greg Malouf in 1999 and immediately taking off for Europe.

    I was working as a chef in London when I met and became friends with Carole Bouquet and her partner, the actor Gerard Depardieu. Within weeks I was in Paris, living in Gerard’s house as private chef for the next six years.

    It was such a unique experience of French culture. I lived alongside their amazing art collection- original Rodin sculptures in the living room, Picabia paintings on the walls, Matisse etchings in the bathroom, it was mind-blowing. I learnt French quickly and my working life involved making dinners and conversation with film directors, actors and writers.

    This high cultural influence was a great contrast to my own personal experience of Paris; wandering for miles across the city with my camera in hand, finding treasure in flea markets and artisanal shops, making new friends, just soaking everything in. It was brilliant.

    I was still pursuing my art, making paintings, sculptures and collages, working from an old printmaking atelier in the 11th arrondissiment. I knew I’d eventually move home to Melbourne and couldn’t see myself as a chef forever, as much as I enjoyed it.

    This is when the concept for Bride&Wolfe really started forming in my mind- living in Paris, making art, and imagining a working life back in Australia creating beautiful and personal objects for people’s homes.

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    As a maker, you are constantly exploring materials and construction. With a busy production schedule maintaining orders, do you purposefully allow time to create new products?

    Early mornings and late evenings are set aside for writing and sketching up ideas; this is how new products are born.

    I don’t know if routine is the right word as every day is so different, but to keep happy and productive my priorities are:

    Music time- it’s a constant at home and at work.

    Art time- whether it’s visiting local galleries or burying myself in an art book, art is part of the fabric of my life.

    Exercise time- I have a ridiculous dance-based workout routine that has increased my levels of ‘happy’ and made my working days more productive.

    Alone time- A little alone time everyday is important. It’s how I recharge and refocus when the (wonderful!) demands of work and family can get too much.

    How did you establish your relationships with your wholesalers/stockists

    I love my stockists, and for the most part I really enjoy wholesaling.

    I’d say do your research and follow the 80-20 rule. Like all industries there are some challenging personalities in retail, and some stockists are very high maintenance. This is okay, but if they are not making good steady big orders then you need to decide if the time spend dealing with them is worth it!

    Despite an established network of wholesalers/stockists, including being part of the David Bowie International touring exhibition, why are markets still important to you and what makes participating in a market successful for you?

    There are some fantastic design markets in Oz, but they can be a lot of hard work. While my main focus has always been the online shop, markets are a fantastic way to connect with my customers. I love the feedback. My customers are super cool people and often involved in creative industries; with each new product the customer base grows and evolves. Recently I’ve noticed men really getting into Bride&Wolfe, which is brilliant.

    What percentage of your sales come from your own ?

    The online shop makes up the majority of my sales- wholesaling is wonderful but sometimes not very cost effective. Most of my international stockists have found me via design blogs and magazines.

    Diversifying is really important, but also keeping it contained and balanced- I instinctively grow the brand at a rate I’m comfortable with.

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    Your 'Mesh Shelves' product range (above) recently represented Australia at the 2016 Paris Design Week.  How did this opportunity transpire and do you actively market Bride&Wolfe to be internationally recognised?

    I was approached by a French curator who had seen my products on an international design blog, and he thought The Mesh Range range would work well in Paris, and he was right. It was a fabulous show, and the whole week in Paris was a dream.

    Up until I started Bride&Wolfe I had no idea what PR or marketing meant- but really I see all communication as a form of marketing. Whether it’s an Instagram video ‘story’, having a laugh with an upcoming stylist or being involved in a Paris design show; at it’s essence it’s all about communicating, it’s about creating and sharing information, and growing brand awareness.

    Lastly, how important are your support networks and what is some of the best advice you've received when you were establishing yourself?

    My friends are my support networks. Spending time with my girlfriends is super important - aside from the general hilarity that unfolds when we’re together, they inspire me, level me and guide me.

    Look at businesses you admire and analyse what it is about them that works. Lots of research, book reading and asking the right advice, have a manageable growth plan and trust your instincts.

    Annette Wagner is a designer, marketer, creative consultant, artist, and writer. She is also on the board of the Creative Women’s Circle. Obsessively passionate about the arts and the creative process, she is determined to not talk art-speak and instead focus on supporting and sharing concepts and insights most creative types crave to know.

    Tags: miranda moriera, paris, stockists, wholesale
    Posted by: Emma Clark
    Categories: Interviews with Creative Women | Comments Off on Industry Insights: Miranda Moreira, artist and maker at Bride&Wolfe
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    Australian Women in Art: Lily Mae Martin

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    by Annette Wagner

    If you know me, you know that I’m passionate about art. All kinds of art. I love being floored by work that conveys an emotive response or inspires me to think beyond my world of possibilities.

    Lily Mae Martin’s work does just that. When viewing her incredible, highly technical drawings, I become both lost in the detail and enamoured by their complex totality. For this last “Australian Women in Art” post of 2016, Lily Mae was kind enough to answer a few burning questions, uncovering that, for her, it’s all about drawing, drawing, and drawing.

    What in your personal life influenced you to pursue a creative career?

    A timely question as this has been on my mind of late. I think there were a few things that led me here. I’ve always drawn, always written, always been interested in the dexterous arts. I think drawing outdid the rest because it allows me to be expressive but also hide a lot within it. There are a lot of things I try to work through with my art, and drawing is very safe for me. It keeps the hands and mind busy.

    It’s also very accessible. I’ve been making my way through this world largely on my own since I was just sixteen, so I never had much opportunity in the way of money or support. I work with pen and paper, and although now it’s fancy hot-pressed paper and Micron fine-liner pens, I was also happy with the backs of forms and cheap ballpoint pens.

    Your work is incredibly fine, detailed drawings. How did you arrive at this medium? Have you, or do you, explore other media for your creativity?

    Drawing is (mostly) immediate. I just want to sit down and make work. I have other passions, such as printmaking and oil painting, but these require a lot more build-up and planning and space and time, and I don’t have that space and time. I'll get to those things one day, but for now, drawing is what works for me. I’ve been working for so long creating my style and setting little challenges for myself within this medium. And there is still so much to explore!

    Harkening back to my admiration of printmaking, and especially etching—that’s what I try to replicate within my drawings. Building up shape and tone with tiny little lines is so very captivating for me. Of course, I see this as an ever evolving thing. Once I feel I have mastered drawing and detail, I’ll probably undo it all and get abstract and expressionist. My thinking is, if you know all the rules, you can break them. Being skillful and disciplined has always been very important to me.

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    Seated Nude, by Lily Mae Martin, 2016. Ink on paper, 75 x 105 cm.

    Were you ever discouraged or have you had setbacks that derailed your creative passions? What are five favorite things that keep you focused, optimistic, and motivated?

    Yes, very much so. Five things that keep me focused, in no particular order of preference, are:

    1. I love drawing.
    2. I feel good when I’m drawing.
    3. I want to master drawing.
    4. Drawing makes me happy.
    5. Drawing.

     

    How do you manage your time and creative output with children and all that entails? Do you think having children has contributed to your work?

    Not very well, but I keep trying! I have to prioritise it. If I don’t, I am not a very nice person—and then I start baking too much and it all gets very upsetting! But honestly, I don’t have a social life and I don’t make it out to events much. I just can’t do it all. It took me a few years to accept this, but once I did, I became a much happier and more productive person.

    There is a lot of pressure to do and be everything for everyone, especially as a woman. But stuff that, I say. I love, love, spending time with my kid and my husband, and I love drawing. Beyond that, there isn’t much time for anything or anyone else at the moment. It may change one day, but childhood only happens once for my little one, and I intend on enjoying it and making it as magical as I can. The world can wait.

    Having my child has contributed to my work in that she’s reminded me of the wonder and joy in the world. She stands in my studio and says things like, “Mummy, no one can draw like you,” and it’s the best. She was drawing before she could walk. I wouldn’t wish the art life on her, but I definitely think that the joy and problem-solving that come with creating are powerful things for humans to have in their lives, regardless of whether it becomes a career or hobby.

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    Lily Mae Martin in her studio. Photo by Gene Hammond-Lewis.

    Do you think there is a gender imbalance in Australia’s current contemporary art system? Have you ever felt discriminated against as a female artist? If so, what was the scenario?

    For sure. There’s a gender imbalance across all aspects of life, so of course there is in art as well. I feel it keenly. I think the most obvious thing is that male artists get all the air-time, the wall space, the praise. It just does my head in when men—and women—do not check their unconscious bias. Sometimes I want to jump up and down and yell, “WHERE ARE THE WOMEN? WHAT ABOUT THE WOMEN?”

    Do you feel that Australian female artists have fewer resources and lack crucial financial support to go into making and producing art? 

    Most likely. I mean, my experience is that the few residencies I would have considered won’t allow children to go. The reason generally given is that they want the artist to have alone time to create something. That’s all fine and great if said artist has a wife, or family support. But considering that I am the wife with no family support, it isn’t very helpful.

    One time I did apply for a grant—and even paid someone to help me put it all together—but the weekend before we were going to submit it, the grant was cut and no longer existed. So, really, are there any resources for anyone?

    Where do you find inspiration? Do you have advice for other creatives on how to be inspired?

    I find inspiration everywhere. I find it on long, long walks, and while traveling, reading, and learning about history and science. I like to watch animals and birds, and the way kids negotiate their conflicts. People-watching at the supermarket or the gym, or on long train rides and in cafes, also inspires me. Looking at art is inspiring, but I tend to draw from other things in life to bring into my work.

    I think to get inspired you need to find the joy, and you need to want to explore and enjoy the process. If you don’t enjoy it, why do it? Fame and glory are the wrong reasons to commit your mind and time to anything.

    Lastly, what is the best advice you have ever been given?

    When I announced that I wouldn’t be drawing again, my grandmother—may she rest in peace—said, “Well, that’s just silly. You have a talent; don’t waste it.”

    She also berated me for getting stuck on what was trendy, and praised my skill, though she noted that some of what I make is “repugnant.” She was a true gem of a woman.

    Lily is represented by Scott Livesey Galleries in Melbourne.

    Annette Wagner is a designer, marketer, creative consultant, artist, and writer. She is also on the board of the Creative Women’s Circle. Obsessively passionate about the arts and the creative process, she is determined to not talk art-speak and instead focus on supporting and sharing concepts and insights most creative types crave to know.

     

    Tags: artist, drawing, Interview
    Posted by: Julie Mazur Tribe
    Categories: Advice and Tips, Interviews with Creative Women, Regular Columns | Comments Off on Australian Women in Art: Lily Mae Martin
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    Industry insights: Game on

    by Annette Wagner

    PAX Australia is the ultimate celebration of all things gaming, technology, and culture. This premiere video game convention was held over three days at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, closing yesterday. So what has this to do with CWC?

    When I think gaming, I don’t often think of women, but there are increasing numbers of women who work in this industry. According to Giselle Rosman, it’s an industry that is growing quickly as technology continues to change our lives.

    Giselle kick-started her games career in 2007, and has worked tirelessly across many aspects of the gaming industry. She currently runs the Melbourne chapter of the International Game Developers Association and is an advocate for women in gaming.

    How did you end up working in the game industry as a business administrator at Hipster Whale and executive producer of Global Game Jam? 

    I had been working as a games educator from 2007 to 2009, a job I’d heard about from a friend when I was itching to get back to work after having had two wonderful children. It wasn't a great time for the Australian industry, with lots of studio closures and very few graduate opportunities for students. Along with some friends, we rebooted the International Game Developers Association Melbourne Chapter (IGDAM) in November 2009. We still meet monthly and have more than 100 game developers attending each time.

    Through IGDAM I started running the Melbourne Global Game Jam in 2011, and got more involved on a global scale each year in a voluntary capacity. I was asked to join the executive committee and then had a stint on the board before taking on the executive producer contract in 2015.

    I also got to know Matt and Andy of Hipster Whale “before they were famous.” When Crossy Road took off, I offered my business administration skills when they needed them.

    What sort of training did you complete, and what program knowledge did you need, to start working as a business administrator and executive producer?

    My roles in games are a bit “left field,” as is my formal training. I completed an advanced diploma of business administration back in the day, and have fallen into event management roles though my career and hobbies.

    As a business administrator and executive producer, what does your job involve? 

    For Hipster Whale I do general admin tasks, including accounts management, HR, and dealing with office management and email enquiries. I've also been involved in setting up and expediting merchandising plans, and working with film and television studios that are interested in having Crossy Road in their productions. It's been wonderful to see Crossy Road arcade machines pop up all over the world, and to know you had something to do with that.

    Global Game Jam is a people and time-zone management role. The buck stops with me for running a 48-hour game-making “hackathon” in January, which in 2016 was held in 93 countries over more than 630 sites. This involves a lot of project and people management, looking after sponsors, and managing social media and the website (globalgamejam.org), about 40 regional organisers, and more than 600 participants (jammers). We have a very busy Slack at peak times!

    Game designers often create video games as part of a team. They come up with the game’s concepts, characters, setting, story, and game play. Designers must work with artists and programmers to create the scripting language and artistic vision for a game. Do you have any tips for managing the creative collaboration process?

    I am only very peripherally involved in any creative processes with relation to game development, but I do work in a small team at Hipster Whale, and a big team with Global Game Jam, and it always comes down to two things: communication, and respect for your colleagues.

    Do you use any apps or project management and time saving processes to remain agile and manage such a multidisciplinary process?

    I live in Slack and Trello, mostly, with a hefty side-serve of Google Drive. I live by lists!

    Game development can be a highly complex, intensive process lasting two years or more, requiring teams of programmers, artists, project managers, writers, musicians, and many others.  What projects have you worked on and how long have they lasted?

    While I don't directly make games, I was involved in the development of Disney Crossy Road, a process that took twelve months. Given that the original Crossy Road was developed in twelve weeks by three people, it was quite a different process. Working with a publisher like Disney was a great experience, too. The opportunity to visit Pixar when I was in California last March for the Game Developers Conference (GDC) was a special treat.

    We also worked with another studio, 3 Sprockets, and Bandai Namco on the release of Pac-Man 256. The process for the original iOS and Android launch took around six months. It's since been ported to Playstation 4 and XBox One.

    Global Game Jam takes about nine months of preparation. The first five months are relatively low-key, then the next four are a whirlwind of managing and coordinating all of the elements and organisers involved in such a big and regionally diverse event.

    What percentage of the game industry is female? Is this changing? If so, how?

    I did some research about three years ago and found that just over ten percent of the Australian games industry identifies as female. Looking at the number of women studying games, there is certainly potential to improve this ratio. There are a lot of great people looking at how to address this imbalance and creating events and spaces for women and girls to get comfortable with game development. Programs like She Makes Games have the potential to inspire the next generation of women in games.

    Are some games predictable in their representation of women? Is this likely to change with women behind the scenes? 

    In short, yes, the representation of women in games is often lazy and relies on clichés and two-dimensional window dressing, with some notable exceptions. I do believe that by including more women in the creative development process, the representation of women can be improved. If you have more women writers, for example, it means their characters will be developed with a closer personal understanding of the nuances and range of what it means to be a woman or girl.

    Is there a focus on games made especially for women? 

    There are games made with women as their primary target market. The industry is recognising that women make up around fifty percent of the market (which is no great surprise, given that play is not a gendered thing). The other market segment that's often overlooked—despite accounting for a sizeable market segment—is more mature game players. The average age of video game players is 33 years. Not 15. Not 20. The industry is learning this. I think in the future more games will be made to meet the needs of a greater range of market segments, especially women and older game players.

    What are your predictions for the game industry? 

    The games industry is always changing rapidly in terms of processes and tools. Recently, the rise of VR [virtual reality] is notable, and that's not going anywhere any time soon. The use of both VR and more traditional game design techniques in areas like “serious games” will continue to increase. And the integration of game design methodology into non-traditional game spaces, such as advertising and marketing, will also increase.

    Annette Wagner is a designer, marketer, creative consultant, artist, and writer. She is also on the board of the Creative Women’s Circle. Obsessively passionate about the arts and the creative process, she is determined to not talk art-speak and instead focus on supporting and sharing concepts and insights most creative types crave to know.

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