This week, as part of our People of Paperblanks series, we had the pleasure of speaking with Janeczka Prinsloo, a bubble goth illustrator from Australia who goes by the name Nekka.
Nekka is a wildly creative and quirky artist who specialises in creating cute and wonderful characters, along with the stories that surround them. And at only 26 years old, her illustrations are the feature of many accessories such as bags and clothing.
To find out more about Nekka, her sources of inspiration and her two adorable parrots whom she loves, check out the full interview below.
A little bit about Janeczka…
Name: Janeczka Prinsloo (Nickname: Nekka)
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Places of Travel: Australia-wide
Passions: Animals (specifically parrots and octopi), gaming, collecting plushies, studying languages and alternative rock/goth music
Education/Training: Self-taught but also studied graphic design specialising in illustration for her final year
Occupation: Freelance illustrator, artist and graphic designer
Favourite Quote: “She was not quite what you would call refined. She was not quite what you would call unrefined. She was the kind of person that keeps a parrot.” ― Mark Twain
You describe your artwork using the term “Bubble Goth.” Can you elaborate on what this means?
Bubblegoth is something that is light, cute and wonderful, but can also be creepy and somewhat dark at the same time. It’s originally known as a music genre and I’m attempting to give it a visual form and establish it as an art style. It incorporates lighter colours such as pastels and white, along with hints of black. The ultimate aim is to make the beautiful, creepy and the creepy, beautiful – something that takes light and dark and puts them together.
Describe your typical day of work as an artist.
A typical workday for me as an artist includes getting most of the business side of things done in the morning. This includes promotions, packaging, social media, blogging, etc. Then, I like to put on some music and get some painting done without having to worry about getting sidetracked.
The characters you draw are very unique. Are they just drawings or do you furnish them with a story and personality?
Most of my characters all have elaborate stories behind them. They’re usually characters I’ve played around with in my imagination for some time, before putting them to paper – which I feel sort of lets them develop their own personality. I have a few main stories I’m currently working on too, such as “The Bunny Whisperer,” “The Romantic & the Mermaid” and “Peppa Feathers.” I’m hoping to publish all of these in the future.
From where do you get your inspiration for your artwork?
Mostly my imagination and dreams. Some of my characters are derived from my pets, hence the frequent emergence of parrots and rabbits in my art. Lots of my art is also inspired by music. I always draw while listening to music and while the lyrics themselves aren’t directly recreated in my artwork, I am often inspired by the emotions in some songs.
Apart from your ability to create incredible artwork, what other hidden talents do you have?
I love learning languages and have taught myself quite a few! I think if I wasn’t an artist, I would probably have studied languages. I also work as a graphic designer and love designing and coding websites.
What is your favourite piece of art you have created and why?
My favourite artwork is by far “Lollipop Ellie.” I love animals, and Lollipop Ellie is so endearingly cute! He’s got a special place in my He(art)!
Your artwork is available on an array of accessories, from bags to clothing and even home décor. How did you go about achieving this?
Part of my regular day job includes finding new ways to bring my creations to life in usable ways. I often look for local businesses that can achieve this for me. Those are always the best partnerships. Some of the items in my store are collaborations with my mom, who has a knack for anything practical and handmade! That is why we started our store together, called Dapple Dandy.
We must address your two parrots, Kiki and Zazu. They even have their own website – Please tell us more about them.
I’ve had Kiki since I was 13 years old and got Zazu more recently. They’re my babies and feature in a lot of my artwork! I have a story about Kiki called “Peppa Feathers” that I hope to publish soon. They go everywhere with me! Kiki has her own little travel bag too, and she loves shopping! When you’re in your studio most of the day making art, having two noisy parrots that hang around the room and get up to all kinds of mischief really helps to break the silence!
What does the future entail for you?
I’m hoping to fully establish my online store and expand it with lots of creative ideas. One of my main ambitions is publishing my own storybooks. I’m currently trying to dedicate more time to my artwork and I hope to get this completed in the near future.
What career advice do you have for any aspiring visual artists?
For those aspiring to develop their artistic skills, the main thing is to draw, draw and draw some more! Eat, breathe, and drink art! If you’re already happy with your own artwork, and you’re wanting to establish yourself as an artist, the best thing to do is to put yourself out there. Post regularly and exhibit at local art shows. It’s also important to make sure you know what your voice is and to focus on developing your own distinct style and putting forward artwork that people will know you for.