Monique Richards has been working as a Paper Rain guest artist for many years, and her touch is found throughout our collections. From several humorous and best-selling t-shirt designs bringing attention to mental health to a huge variety of styles on our art boards, Monique has extended her touch to many facets of Paper Rain.
We love her style, her enthusiasm and her drive to use her art to spread incredible messages - most recently spreading the stay safe, stay healthy and be kind message with the help of 'Stay at Home Sid' and 'Lockdown Loretta' (check them out on her Facebook Page!) through the ups and downs of the pandemic.
We asked her a few questions to gain an insight into what makes her tick as an artist and as an awesome human being. Read on to find out what she had to say!
Tell us a bit about yourself!
I'm an artist living in NZ’s capital Wellington. I come from one of those families full of artistic people. My dad is an art teacher and my uncle is a mural artist in Perth. I did my first painting when I was two years old, apparently of a blue plane. I never really stopped. Aside from painting I’m into writing, dancing, feminism, languages, travel (once upon a time) video and graphic design projects.
How would you describe your work?
I find it really hard to stick to just one thing. I love design and illustration for their diversity, and to see something I’ve created become an important part of someone’s business. The work I'm most proud of is my portraiture. I love to paint faces and figures. I combine realism with a more expressive style and elements of abstraction. It's often a slow process. I'm proud of the fact that my work is connected to people and I like painting objects as well. This year I started a project painting my friends around the world and sharing their stories of what they’ve been through during the Covid-19 pandemic. Connection with friends was crucial for me during this time. I faced a lot of self doubt with this project and stopped a few times but have been encouraged by friends to keep going.
What drives you to make art?
I think it has become a ritual in my life I can't live without. It’s just me. If I go too long without painting or drawing I feel very unhappy. I'm trying to find ways to make my art increasingly meaningful, political and bold.
Tell us a crazy dream:
Living in New York for a few months and exhibiting my art there. Or meeting and painting Ruth Bader Ginsburg (I’m going to paint her regardless but meeting her would be something else.)
What do you like about working with The Paper Rain Project?
Knowing that these guys are lovely people with integrity, who care about artists. I admire them so much because they had an original, unconventional idea and were brave enough to pursue it. They care about the way they do things not just what they do. They've given me the opportunity to take on art and design projects I never would have been able to otherwise and it's been a joy. The quality of everything they produce is as high as it gets; their boards are so lovely to paint on. They also have great taste in coffee, chocolate and popcorn!
Favourite ‘art’ experience?
Painting a mural on a street in one of my favourite districts in Barcelona. A five week art residency with an amazing crew beside a mountain near that city. Working on murals with my dad and uncle. Visiting Salvador Dalí’s house. Meeting and painting musicians John Butler and Paul Kelly when I lived in Australia was pretty amazing. Seeing Jackson Pollock's work up close at MOMA. Sorry I really can't choose one!
What do you love about where you live or your studio space?
Right now I either paint in a corner of my room where I’ve set up an easel or in our living room (thank you to my wonderfully tolerant and also super creative housemates.) Our living room has an amazing view out over Evans Bay. We all get distracted by the boats and planes that come and go.
If you love Monique as much as we do, keep your eyes out! We do regularly have new art boards appear from Monique as one of our longest running and regular guest artists. One of our T-Shirt favourites is also her "Sloth" Tee supporting mental health. You can check our her most recent work available right HERE.