This month’s art is by Sydney-based illustrator, printmaker, and designer, Jessica Benhar. She loves libraries and finding inspiration from old books. Her work is infused with touches from the past and present. She hopes her illustration serves a reminder that "even when we strip ourselves bare, are honest and vulnerable, we can still feel and act whole. Staying true to ourselves at our core makes life simple."


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 workday 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?

Integrity is the idea that even when we strip ourselves bare, are honest and vulnerable, we can still feel and act whole. Staying true to ourselves at our core makes life simple.

At the moment, what is your favorite …

Color: Always black

Food: Homemade sourdough bread


New Light by John Ma


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


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