A full colour palette

Illustrator feels a lot more connected to her artistic side in Gisborne.

Illustrator feels a lot more connected to her artistic side in Gisborne.

Freelance illustrator - Anieszka Banks
Anieszka Banks
Sangria
Mojito
Hand pulled noodles

Moving to Gisborne has opened up a paint box of inspiration for British-born illustrator Anieszka Banks, but not in the way you might think.

“I’ve actually been finding that I’ve been making different art to the art I used to make because it feels like more things are possible here,” says Banks, who moved to the area to be with her partner towards the end of last year.

“The landscape is so different — we’re lucky enough to live on a property with so much land; you can hear the native birds all day, you walk to the back of the property and you can see the ocean, and you’re there in 10 minutes. There’s this constant source of calm.”

The 26-year-old, who works primarily in acrylic and watercolour, says Gisborne has inspired her work more through the change in lifestyle, as opposed to specific things.

“It’s more a sense of time and pace and peace, and contentment. The work I’m producing feels less hurried and more thought through here,” she says.

“But definitely just being surrounded by this many shades of green . . . everywhere you look is like a full colour palette.”

For Banks, who studied illustration at the University of Brighton in the UK, moving to Gisborne has coincided with her decision to become a full-time freelance illustrator.

“Living in a city like Auckland where the cost of living is so extreme, makes it really difficult to survive as a freelance artist,” she says.

“It puts a lot of pressure on you as an artist to create work that makes a lot of income, and that can negate your ability to make good work, if you’re only creating it to make money — because you’re creating art out of panic, as opposed to love and creativity.”

Much of the work Banks has been creating in Gisborne has been for projects she started in Auckland.

“I’ve got a weekly column with (Auckland newspaper) Paper Boy and I’m finishing off the rebrand for the Three Beans Coffee Roasters.”

The former involves providing illustrations for a weekly column on how Aucklanders spend their weekends.

The latter has seen Banks produce a collection of illustrations to go on the coffee cups, bags and boxes of Three Beans products.

Inspired by the origins of the coffee beans, Banks chose a vibrant, botanical design which weaves up the coffee cups on one side, contrasted by a bright, block colour on the opposing side.

The designs also feature in the Three Beans’ coffee shop at Auckland’s City Works Depot.

These have been Banks’ biggest projects to date. Other projects she is starting include designing a product label for a new company that uses plant material you would normally throw away, to make pesto, and a project with an English wedding registry company called Patchwork.

'To shed light upon . . . .'

You might have noticed none of the projects talked about involve book illustration.

“A lot of people think illustration is just children’s book illustration and that’s for sure a part of it but only one part,” says Banks.

“I once read that the best definition of an illustrator is ‘to shed light upon’, helping people get their heads around something they might not be able to comprehend in words.

“I really like the idea of telling a story with my work.”

One of the stories Banks is passionate about telling, is how and why we should protect the environment.

“All my projects throughout college were all about reusing, recycling and cutting down on things we don’t need,” she says.

“I thought if the messaging around all those issues was a bit more beautiful, people might be more inclined to listen.”

“There’s this really great quote, ‘the aim of the revolutionary artist is to make revolution irresistible’ — it’s that idea that if you can make something beautiful and inspiring enough, people can’t resist getting into it.”

During her time in Auckland, where she relocated from England five years ago, Banks volunteered with organisations such as Greenpeace and Oil Free Auckland.

“I helped the groups with marketing so we would have more of a presence in marches,” she says.

Since moving to Okitu, Banks has been inspired to use her work for more ocean-based environmental campaigns.

“I would like to do a project with a charity working on ocean conservation, something around more sustainable practices in ocean gear,” says the illustrator, who is learning to surf.

“I know Patagonia has just released a range of neoprene-free wetsuits. It would be awesome to do a collaboration with them, where I illustrate the wetsuit or something.”

She also likes the idea of producing an illustrated booklet on environmental sustainability for Enviroschools.

For now however, Banks is focused on getting more involved in Gisborne’s artist community, with plans to join the Gisborne Artists’ Society and start supplying her hand-painted gift paper to local stores.

“There are so many interesting and inspiring artists in Gisborne that I feel a lot more connected to my artistic side here, more than I have ever felt in the last five years,” she says.

Moving to Gisborne has opened up a paint box of inspiration for British-born illustrator Anieszka Banks, but not in the way you might think.

“I’ve actually been finding that I’ve been making different art to the art I used to make because it feels like more things are possible here,” says Banks, who moved to the area to be with her partner towards the end of last year.

“The landscape is so different — we’re lucky enough to live on a property with so much land; you can hear the native birds all day, you walk to the back of the property and you can see the ocean, and you’re there in 10 minutes. There’s this constant source of calm.”

The 26-year-old, who works primarily in acrylic and watercolour, says Gisborne has inspired her work more through the change in lifestyle, as opposed to specific things.

“It’s more a sense of time and pace and peace, and contentment. The work I’m producing feels less hurried and more thought through here,” she says.

“But definitely just being surrounded by this many shades of green . . . everywhere you look is like a full colour palette.”

For Banks, who studied illustration at the University of Brighton in the UK, moving to Gisborne has coincided with her decision to become a full-time freelance illustrator.

“Living in a city like Auckland where the cost of living is so extreme, makes it really difficult to survive as a freelance artist,” she says.

“It puts a lot of pressure on you as an artist to create work that makes a lot of income, and that can negate your ability to make good work, if you’re only creating it to make money — because you’re creating art out of panic, as opposed to love and creativity.”

Much of the work Banks has been creating in Gisborne has been for projects she started in Auckland.

“I’ve got a weekly column with (Auckland newspaper) Paper Boy and I’m finishing off the rebrand for the Three Beans Coffee Roasters.”

The former involves providing illustrations for a weekly column on how Aucklanders spend their weekends.

The latter has seen Banks produce a collection of illustrations to go on the coffee cups, bags and boxes of Three Beans products.

Inspired by the origins of the coffee beans, Banks chose a vibrant, botanical design which weaves up the coffee cups on one side, contrasted by a bright, block colour on the opposing side.

The designs also feature in the Three Beans’ coffee shop at Auckland’s City Works Depot.

These have been Banks’ biggest projects to date. Other projects she is starting include designing a product label for a new company that uses plant material you would normally throw away, to make pesto, and a project with an English wedding registry company called Patchwork.

'To shed light upon . . . .'

You might have noticed none of the projects talked about involve book illustration.

“A lot of people think illustration is just children’s book illustration and that’s for sure a part of it but only one part,” says Banks.

“I once read that the best definition of an illustrator is ‘to shed light upon’, helping people get their heads around something they might not be able to comprehend in words.

“I really like the idea of telling a story with my work.”

One of the stories Banks is passionate about telling, is how and why we should protect the environment.

“All my projects throughout college were all about reusing, recycling and cutting down on things we don’t need,” she says.

“I thought if the messaging around all those issues was a bit more beautiful, people might be more inclined to listen.”

“There’s this really great quote, ‘the aim of the revolutionary artist is to make revolution irresistible’ — it’s that idea that if you can make something beautiful and inspiring enough, people can’t resist getting into it.”

During her time in Auckland, where she relocated from England five years ago, Banks volunteered with organisations such as Greenpeace and Oil Free Auckland.

“I helped the groups with marketing so we would have more of a presence in marches,” she says.

Since moving to Okitu, Banks has been inspired to use her work for more ocean-based environmental campaigns.

“I would like to do a project with a charity working on ocean conservation, something around more sustainable practices in ocean gear,” says the illustrator, who is learning to surf.

“I know Patagonia has just released a range of neoprene-free wetsuits. It would be awesome to do a collaboration with them, where I illustrate the wetsuit or something.”

She also likes the idea of producing an illustrated booklet on environmental sustainability for Enviroschools.

For now however, Banks is focused on getting more involved in Gisborne’s artist community, with plans to join the Gisborne Artists’ Society and start supplying her hand-painted gift paper to local stores.

“There are so many interesting and inspiring artists in Gisborne that I feel a lot more connected to my artistic side here, more than I have ever felt in the last five years,” she says.

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