We interviewed artist Jemma Jose, about her 100-day art project, which is a series of illustrations that celebrate everyday little things through her whimsical characters.
1. What is Gorillathon?
The Gorilla-Girl-a-Thon is pure fun. It’s a whole lotta gorillas having a good time and doing their own thing in unlikely places around Chennai. It’s meant to bring a smile on your face and maybe even a chuckle seeing such a great, hulking beast reading a book or befriending a crow in a bizarre setting.
2. How did the idea come about?
The whole series was my stab at a #100dayproject on Instagram. It meant creating a 100 unique drawings on a regular basis and I knew I wanted to work on something that was quick to do and a lot of fun. I had earlier made 4 illustrations of monkeys and gorillas hiding in places around my neighbourhood but I never took it further. So, I decided to revisit that idea and really go wild with it this time around.
3. Tell us about a few interesting moments you had during the project.
I never plan my gorilla drawings. I compile a list of photos and number them randomly. Only when I start making the illustration do I know what photo I am working with. This makes it a fun challenge. Some days the ideas come easily, on other days, I need to spend some time and make multiple options before proceeding with the final design. These days are frustrating, but I stick with it and it ends up being an artwork I am very proud of.
Also, I used to be quite inconsistent when it came to putting my work on platforms like Instagram and Facebook. And thanks to this series, I ended up drawing almost daily which is what I wanted. When my posts became regular, the community started engaging more with me and that was wonderful!
4. Do you have any plans on expanding this further?
I have already commenced stage two of this series which is asking for photo submissions from my Instagram followers. I draw my gorillas on these photos and each participant will be sent a print of the illustration. I wanted to give something back to my Instagram family who have been so supportive with this series. I teamed up with Inkmonk, an online printing service based in Chennai who are generously looking after the printing and sending of art prints.
This series will go on till I reach 100 gorillas, after that I will retire it as I have other, more exciting projects planned.
5. What does the joy of little things mean to you?
My inspiration comes from the little things. I find myself actively looking for it wherever I go. The glances between two people walking on the road, an old mailbox hung on a tree, I see such things and immediately these stories spring in my head. This gives me an opportunity to tell stories to others.
This project is a beautiful reminder of the little things in our own lives, that we can see just as we pay a little more attention. There are stories, memories and humor all around us.
Jemma Jose and is currently a freelance illustrator and 2D animator based in Chennai. She studied animation at Symbiosis Institute of Design, Pune and later at NID, Ahmedabad. You can follow her on Instagram Here.