Em Deusien


Illustrator and Designer

Favourite song to play on repeat? Baby by Clean Bandit (Ft Marina + The diamond) I am OBSESSED.

So firstly, how'd you get started as an a designer and illustrator?

I’ve always loved drawing and creating.  As a kid, my brother would make up Pokemon and I would draw what they’d look like. I also went through a pretty intense Neopet phase, creating them and their look was like crack to me. This is also how I was introduced to digital art. Funnily enough Aldi was selling graphic tablets around that time and my parents couldn’t deal with watching me struggle with the mouse on MS Paint anymore. They graciously bought me one and digital kind of took over since then. 

I drew a heap as a teenager, I was a regular on DeviantArt and joined a few Oekaki boards, but somewhere along the line life got in the way and drawing fell on the back burner until a couple of years ago. 

Is there one discipline that you prefer over the other? Why?

When it comes to design vs Illustration I definitely lean toward illustration. I’m 9-5 as a visual designer and moonlight as an illustrator. If I had it my way I’d definitely make illustration my full time gig. I love design and creating visual solutions for tough problems but it doesn’t excite me the same way as creating a piece of art does. I’m lucky enough that my 9-5 allows me the opportunity to pop illo (apparently thats what it’s called in the biz) in now and again. 

You've also worked with quite a few different mediums like painting, pen/ink and digital... which one's your favourite to work with?

I tend to lean toward digital art, it’s been my safety zone since I was wee lass. Digital is a super convenient and versatile format for me and it’s not often I leave the house without my iPad and pencil. This year I’m stretching myself and working more traditionally, particularly with acrylics. I’ve done a couple of live painting gigs this year and it’s an absolute blast. I want to strengthen those skills so I can keep getting that sort of work and actually feel adept at it. Experimenting with different mediums will always make you grow as an artist anyway, and this is my big goal for the year.

And what about your favourite project or work so far? 

One of my favourite works from the past year was a piece called The Tower. Conceptually it was probably one of the strongest pieces I’ve created so far and I think that’s what tends to set good works apart. People love a narrative and I think that piece does that well. “The Tower” was inspired by a rumour that Trump had built a Trump Hotel in Pyongyang in North Korea. The interesting thing about this rumour, while it turned out to be a hoax, it was really convincing and difficult to debunk. The piece is also inspired by the Tarot card The Tower, which is symbolic of complete destruction and rebirth. Kind of what I’m hoping this whole Trump Saga equates to. 

On your website, you describe your personal work as channeling "4th dimension ancient alien vibes". What inspired this kind of aesthetic?

I’ve always been drawn to the occult and aliens and basically anything that’s other worldly. I just find it so gripping and interesting. If I was in some sort of space horror film I’d totally be the first to die because I’d be the one saying “Don’t worry, I’ll go check it out.” 

I think by guising things as “4th dimension” and “alien” it’s a  way to make commentary about the state of our own reality and society by making it appear foreign, when actually that’s actually what’s going on. On my homepage I have a gif of a scary 4th dimension figure being broadcast telling us to obey. It looks alien and not of this world, but c’mon, if that ain’t what’s up. 

You also use quite a lot of blues and pinks across all your work - is there any reason in particular?

There are two very unexciting reasons:

  1. I’m actually really bad when it comes to colour theory and choosing a nice palette so this was a way to simplify things. 
  2. That palette first emerged when I was in my first art show and I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on paints. Using those two colours means I got away with buying only 4 different paints. Hah. 

But I liked the tone it set and it had this cool 80’s vibe about it and I was into it. I’ve recently been creating more diverse work but those colours I’ll always come back to. 

What does the future hold for you? Any cool projects coming up that you're excited about?

I have a group art show coming up on  April 13 , called KRVNM (pronounced cranium.) It’s a one night only show with a whole heap of talented artists all interpreting skulls in their own styles. So I’m gearing up and ideating for that. I’m also hitting up Comicgong (Wollongong’s answer to Comic Con) as a stall holder in May so I’ve gotta get some merch ready for that. Between those things I’m just going to be pumping out some originals and hopefully some more zines! 

And final question - do you have anything you want to share with the world? Could be random shower thoughts, something deep or just a quick ramble.

Quick ramble please! 

I feel like the world is at a tipping point at the moment and it can go one of two ways depending on who fights the hardest. But I’m optimistic and feel that the world is going to change in a dramatic way very soon and for the better. I think Millennials and Gen Z are really over the way the system and society has and is being propagated, I really feel hopeful that us and the next generation is going to re-introduce an importance on human connection, empathy and hope. At least, fingers crossed!