Adriana Picker, Artist and Illustrator

When you are lucky enough to meet Adriana, you'll realise that the mega watt smile is the real deal and if you aren't careful her bubbly energy will rub off on you! An accomplished artist and illustrator who has just taken the jump from Sydney to New York - we checked in with Adriana and asked her all the usual questions. 

What do you do?

I am an illustrator and artist who specialises in Botanical illustration. I do commercial illustration for brands, editorial illustration and I also have a fine art practice were I exhibit occasionally. I love to include murals in these. It really makes for an immersive exhibition experience.

Do you have a maxim that you live and work by?

I saw this quote from a hero of mine Katherine Hepburn (One of the first badass women to wear pants before it was fashionable for women to do so!!) recently and I don’t think I could personally articulate the sentiment any better “It’s not enough to be talented. There is a lot of talent out there, but it’s owned by lazy, stupid or essentially boring people. You can’t just be talented: you have to be terribly smart and energetic and ruthless. You also have to become necessary to people by working hard and well and bringing your bones and your skin to the project.” Maybe the bit about lazy, boring and stupid people is a little harsh, sometimes it takes a HUGE amount of energy to do battle with yourself, but goddamn if Katherine ain’t right. Even a little step, is a step in the right direction. The creative fields are still businesses and every day is a grind. (Woah that certainly is the NYC influence on me in that sentence right there!!)

What are the three milestones that have led you to where you stand?

a. Having a family that highly valued creativity and didn’t care so much for financial gain

b. Failing to get into NIDA at 17 (Really wanted to NOT be just an artist but a set and costume designer for film)

c. Then working as a Costume Illustrator in films early on in my career trying to chase my dream of being a Designer (I realised my main strength was illustration and that it was truly my passion)

What projects do you have in the pipeline?

I am currently working on my first exhibition in NYC, having moved here six months ago. So wildly excited about it! 

What is your dream project?

I have such a huge list of projects I would love to work on! At the moment I would love to collaborate with a Wallpaper brand and a ceramics company!! (Hit me up if you are such and am reading this!!) But at the top of my list has and always will be to design a scarf for Hermes! I would then retire on the somewhat merge fee, bequeath the scarves to my children and swan around as a fabulously dressed human wearing an Hermes scarf EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

What’s something surprising about you, that we might not know?

I cut up bacon with scissors yesterday. Was super effective and efficient. Obsessed. Never cutting bacon another way again. My shitty knives are just not sharp enough for the task. Also I was a Rieki master at seven. Thanks hippy parents. Has been a very useful skill in my life.

Image by  Virginia Venn
Image by Nikki To 

Image by Nikki To 

What do you want to be asked about that no one ever asks you?

My favourite things to cook. LOVE cooking. My favourite thing to do for the week is my Saturday ritual of shopping for my vegetables at the incredible Union Square green markets. Autumn is my favourite season for produce and last week I came home with Jerusalem artichokes, Raddicho, Tuscan kale, Persimmons, Mizuna, the best Brussel sprouts I’ve ever tasted and Romanesco. Such good produce here in NYC!! And thanks for asking, my favourite thing to cook is Gnocchi. 

Who would you most like to answer these questions next?  

Silvana Azzi Heras please!

How can we find our more about your work? and instagram @adrianapicker

Image by Nikki To 

Image by Nikki To 

What places are important to you?

I think the Australian bush is my natural habit. There is nothing as liberating as being alone in the enormity of it. Obviously nature is my biggest inspiration creatively and time init is so important to me. There is this one particular walk I love to do alone when I am up visiting my family in the Hunter Valley. It runs along a particularly beautiful ridge in the Watagon Nation park. Just these enormous, soaring gums, the wind, fresh air, the occasional lyre bird and your thoughts. Utter heaven.

What is the best advice you’ve been given, or wish you had been told sooner?

This is a conclusion I have only just come to recently personally and it was been very freeing. There will ALWAYS be anxiety and stress and disappointment and mental pain. ALWAYS. It will not go away after that one great client that then makes everything ok, that one perfect artwork, that one incredible exhibition, if you move countries or as you get older, wiser and more established. You will always find something or someone to worry about. Accept and acknowledge it. Let it sit with you, don’t ever ignore anxiety. It is there to teach you something. Just do the work regardless. It is the work that will propel you forward. 

What is one facet of your field that you want to see change?

Something that I have been coming up against a bit lately is the lack of understand from clients commissioning Illustrations of the licensing process. Ie. generally if you commission work from an Illustrator the illustrator retains intellectual property and the client licenses the illustration for use for a certain period of time and a certain geographical territory. I’ve had to deal with clients recently that feel because they are paying whatever fee they own the illustration out-right. That can be frustrating to explain but I suppose the onus falls upon the illustrator to educate new clients as best as possible.

Do you have a supportive female network in your field? Was it always this way?

I feel incredibly privileged to have the support of some truly incredible Australian female creatives. The first person to help propel my career forward and a woman who has become a hybrid of my mentor/friend/big sister was Silvana Azzi Heras who I met when I was her 21 year old intern on the film Australia. She is an incredibly talented designer who has been so generous in teaching me her skills, opened her networks to me and constantly offers support. This sentiment is certainly apparent in many other relationships I have with female creatives. When you constantly work alone is is so important to have a tribe of people who understand your experiences and you can bounce ideas off or just seek the occasional pep talk. Since moving to NYC I have joined the Wing. An all female co-working space and club. Such exciting and interesting times for the advancement of females professional. You can certainly feel the buzz and solidarity here in NYC.

Can you share a creative experience that you have found defining?

When I was about 14 I read the poetry of Sylvia Plath, and it’s a bit of a cliche, but it was a such a revelatory moment for my young mind. I identified so strongly with the intense emotions depicted in her work and the strong visual language she employed.  Thank you teenage hormones, but it was as if I had found the first person/author who truly understood my singular human experience. I’ve calmed down on the drama since then, thank goodness, but I am still in awe of the beauty of her work. Discovering the work of Bill Henson was also a huge moment for me.

What are you listening to, reading, watching of late, that is inspiring or entertaining you?

I have been listening to a lot of piano music of late and have Max Richter (Particularly Written on the Sky), Erik Satie (Premiere Gymnopedie), Joep Beving (Midwayer) and Bach (The Goldberg Variations) on repeat.