GEORGE ROSE

WORDS: EDDIE ZAMMIT / PHOTOGRAPHY: NICOLE REED

Rose spends most of her time up ladders painting murals, hand-lettering signs (and inappropriate words), installing sculptures, or pasting up giant illustrations. She feels most at home with a paintbrush in hand but also likes the feel of a pen, spray can or Wacom tablet. Rose’s ‘career’ path was determined when, at 18 years old, she shut her eyes and pointed at University offers to decide which course to accept for the next few years. It just so happened that she blindly pointed to graphic design. Several years later, Rose decided to throw caution to the wind and abandon her formal graphic design training, opting instead to pursue a multidisciplinary art practice. It must be noted, however, graphic design provided her the skills to understand composition, conceptual thought, scale and typography. 

Rose says, “Making the leap to freelance was more seamless than I expected. I picked up some jobs painting murals and whilst it was challenging, I really enjoyed the process.” She has spent the last several years pretending to be a gypsy – rarely in one city for longer than a few months – completing art commissions for clients in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. She also finds herself working with several festivals throughout the year and making up other vague excuses to be covered in paint most of the time.

In 2015, Rose really hit her creative stride, especially as her murals were gradually getting bigger and bigger. Rose explains, “There is nothing like feeling content and happy with the work you produce.” More recently she found herself in Mexico with graffiti artist Phibs, painting a 5-storey complex out in the poorer suburbs of Guadalajara. Rose admits, “Any travel is pretty amazing, but I can’t really describe how both humbling and exhilarating it is to paint in a new country, especially with someone whose art you’ve respected for so many years.”

Alongside the highs, there are creative lows to deal with. Rose is no exception, no matter how positive she remains. “The most heartbreaking experience is when you’ve worked on a project and your endeavours never see the light of day. I’ve had a couple of jobs where the work just hasn’t been used or the project might have been cancelled at the last minute. It’s particularly devastating when it’s a project that I am really excited about. It’s best not to dwell on it when this happens, which is easier said than done, but you just have to believe there will be more exciting projects in your future. Also, I might add, you have to go out there and make the more exciting things happen – personal projects are the bomb-diggity,” Rose says.

With many artists, the most difficult creative decision is uncovering the purpose of the work being created. Some artists dismiss the idea, but others are more interested in exploring their reasons. Rose explains, “I tend to cultivate an individual meaning for each new project I work on, which makes defining an overarching ‘purpose’ for my work a difficult task. I can say that I like using what I do as a form of problem solving and as mode of communication. This means that I need to figure out what I want each work to say and how I will relay this message in a creative form. I guess this in turn implies that the purpose of what I do is to facilitate communication through a combination of colour, line, shape and form. I’d like people to connect with what I do, or at least have some sort of an emotional response to viewing it.”

Catch the full story in the latest 'Fresh Blood' edition of No Cure magazine available in newsagents Australia wide and in our online store.