Each month, we are privileged to work with artists from all over the world. Their unique styles and points of view make for an especially diverse sense of inspiration in the art that arrives in our monthly Holstee Membership. From Los Angeles, California to Barcelona, Spain and everywhere in between, each piece of art is a true collector's piece.

This month’s Passion Art art is by Jessica Benhar, a Sydney-based illustrator, printmaker, and designer. She love libraries and finding inspiration from old books. Her work is infused with touches from the past and present.

Jessica Benhar


For a little more about what inspired this artwork, process, and their life, here's a short Q&A:

Where is home for you?

I was born in Wellington, New Zealand and am currently based in Sydney, Australia. Proud to be both a Kiwi and an Aussie.

What is your definition of a successful life?

To be able to appreciate the simple pleasures in life. Working hard but also having quiet periods of doing nothing. Having the time to listen to good podcasts and books. Straying outside your comfort zone on a semi-regular basis. Spending time with people who inspire you. Owning only what you need. Using your talent and skills to figure out how to give back to the world.

Describe your perfect day.

I like to start my day with a good morning routine, which is always a work in progress. A walk in the morning, some YouTube yoga and a slow breakfast. Remembering to take breaks throughout the work day and stretch. Listening to a podcast or two. Going climbing or training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in the evening. Before bed I like to think of three things that made me happy during the day, even if it's something small like a good coffee or a kind comment.  

How did you get into design?

In high school I remember picking out two brochures, one for an arts degree and one for a design degree. I tried to visualize in detail what it would look like to work in both fields and it felt right visualizing myself working in design.

Where do you find inspiration?

I collect a lot of inspiration at the library, I'll look through anything that has pictures, but I like natural history illustration, heraldry, children's books, woodcuts and engravings from 14th century stuff through to now. I'll look through and photocopy or photograph things I like for future reference. I have a few folders at home packed to the brim with photocopies of awesome things I've found at the library.

Sometimes when I'm walking through the street and I see something that looks cool, whether it's an architectural feature of a building or some poster taped up in the bathroom of a restaurant, I'll take a photo in case it's useful down the track. Instagram has also been really useful for providing endless inspiration, from tattoo artists to photography.

Which designers or thinkers influence/inspire you?

My favorite designers are often also artists, whose work tends to blur the line between both fields and has a timeless quality to it. Some of them include Eileen Mayo, Edward Bawden, Agnes Miller Parker, Escher and Louise Fili.

What was the inspiration behind this design?

I thought that the phoenix, a mythical creature that dies in flames and then rises again from the ashes, seemed like the perfect imagery to symbolise resilience. For visual inspiration, I looked at a lot of birds in coats of arms. Animals in heraldry often have powerful poses, which I thought would suit the theme of resilience.

At the moment, what is your favorite …

Color: Always black

Food: Homemade sourdough bread

Song: New Light by John Mayer

Quote: "Our life is frittered away by detail. ...Simplify, simplify." - Henry David Thoreau


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This article is part of our series on the theme of Resilience.

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Our Themes

Distilled from our Manifesto, positive psychology, the science of mindfulness, and ancient philosophic studies we have identified twelve themes core to living both fully and mindfully. We mapped these twelve themes to each of the twelve months in a year. Together with our community we explore one each month.