Prove your humanity

Grok Magazine sits down with Izzy Stevo, a postgraduate student who is pursuing a diploma in Information and Library Sciences, to learn more about her artistic endeavours, both within and outside of Curtin University.

We ask Izzy when she first gained an interest in illustrating.

“I’ve always liked drawing; my parents often remind me that I used to draw on the walls as a kid. But they were never normal drawings, just these massive rings – probably because I liked the feeling of stretching my arms out or something like that,” she chuckles. 

“I didn’t realise how much I really loved drawing until I was around eleven or twelve. I would create illustrations and animations through the Flipnote Studio app on my Nintendo DSi, and share my little creations on Flipnote Hatena.”

Izzy states she was always met with support when it came down to her artistic abilities. 

“Everyone has genuinely been supportive of my interest in art. But there has always been a bit of ‘make sure you’re still doing something that will get you money’, even though earning money [through art] has never been my priority. I don’t want people to think that unless my art is profitable, that it’s completely useless.” 

Image Credit: Cheyenne Valero

Moving on, we ask Izzy if she dabbles in any other forms of art besides illustrating.

“For my undergraduate major, I studied Creative Writing since I love fiction and creating characters. Writing stories is an opportunity for me to utilise my art, especially through characters,” she says.

“I’ve also recently gotten into DIY fashion, so I’ve been experimenting with designing and sewing my art onto clothes. I absolutely love patchwork, and it’s really fun to wear my own art.”

We question Izzy on how her experience as a member and the previous Secretary of Curtin Illustration Club has benefitted her and her artwork.

“Curtin Illustration Club is super cool… the great thing about the club is that it’s very tied to the whole illustration community in Perth, so it gives members a lot of opportunities to network,” she describes.

“The club has also allowed me to improve my drawing skills through weekly meet-ups, and my confidence with showing others my work too.”

We ask Izzy how she feels about the competitiveness within the art industry. 

“I’ve found that art can be especially competitive through social media, particularly Instagram. COVID-19 honestly didn’t help, so with nothing better to do, a lot of artists were sucked into the rabbit hole of perceiving likes and followers as currency, and feeling obligated to post something new daily to please their audience. Those artists, including myself, were not illustrating for themselves at all,” she admits.

“I distanced myself from the toxicity by deactivating my main art account for a few months. Even now, I don’t have Instagram installed on my phone, so I need to log in through browser to access it. It’s seriously helped me out a lot, and I’ve learned that likes and followers don’t equal importance.” 

Image Credit: Cheyenne Valero

Last year, Izzy illustrated the cover of Curtin Writers Club’s sixth issue of Coze, and has previously contributed to Curtin Illustration Club’s sixth and seventh issues of Myth. Because of this, we inquire if she’s received any similar opportunities through Curtin.

“Honestly, illustrating for Coze and Myth are the only opportunities I’ve had at Curtin so far,” she confesses. 

“But specialising in illustration has helped a lot in terms of branching out, and not boxing myself into one art style.”

Izzy then explains how she’s obtained more artistic opportunities outside of Curtin.

“I’ve illustrated for my church plenty of times in the past, sold work at the Perth Comic Arts Festival (PCAF) last year, and was recently approached by Perth band, Soup, to design the cover of their latest single ‘Dream’,” she beams. 

“Studying at Curtin has still expanded my opportunities a lot though, since I wouldn’t have heard about PCAF if it wasn’t for Curtin Illustration Club.”

Wanting to learn more about her experience at PCAF, we ask Izzy what it was like having her own stall at a convention.

“PCAF is all about enhancing and enjoying local comic artists, and seeing what they all have to offer. It was really nice to make some money doing something that I enjoy, so I’m really looking forward to this year’s event,” she expresses.

“I’ve applied, but PCAF hasn’t announced the results for who’s tabling yet. But even if I don’t get a stall again, I’m still going to be attending.”

Image Credit: Cheyenne Valero

We ask Izzy what she plans to do after she finishes her degree. 

“I’d like to work in a public library, as I love creativity and education. Libraries attract different types of people, so I’d love to help them learn new things, and also learn from them too,” she says. 

Finally, we question Izzy if she has any advice for aspiring artists who plan to study at Curtin.

“Join the Curtin Illustration Club and meet other illustrators,” she advises. 

“It’ll be a bit hard at first, since most artists are used to being the awkward art kid at school. But even so, it’s worth having a community and engaging with like-minded people.”

If you’re interested in seeing Izzy Stevo’s artwork, feel free to follow her on Instagram. And if you’d like to listen to Soup’s latest single ‘Dream’, you can now stream it on Spotify