Amelia Giller is a USC grad with an MFA in Animation and Digital Art. She’s still based in Los Angeles and one of the fashion and entertainment industry’s go-to illustrators. Starting with collaborative projects, commissioned by the likes of Teen Vogue and more, she’s quickly grown into a wholesaler of t-shirts, pins, and candles that showcase the whimsical women ever present in her illustrations, gifs, and animated videos. We’re big fans of Amelia’s and have been since she first started shopping at our La Brea store. You can now shop a selection of her coveted pieces - ones we've previously seen her wearing and couldn't wait to get our hands on! - in our Venice, Hayes Valley, Brooklyn Women’s, and, of course, La Brea stores.
Tell us how you got started.
I’ve always been illustrating and animating in some form. A few years ago, I jumped into the enamel pin craze with the help of my amazing friend, and fellow illustrator, Mary Dauterman. I decided to make designs of naked women, mostly because I hadn’t seen too many nude lady pins floating around. I started selling my pins online and they did really well. Soon after, I branched out to other goodies like tees, totes, and candles.
Around the same time, I started to get editorial work from clients like Teen Vogue. It’s been really exciting to do commissioned work for brands that stand for what I believe in.
What's the first project you got paid for?
I actually got paid for art in high school! It was an oil pastel of a chair. Weird.
What was the first project you were proud of?
You know, I have always had such anxiety about my work that I don’t feel proud until years later. But, looking back, it was a set of animated bumpers that I directed for the Austin Film Festival. One of the venues for the festival is the Paramount Theater in Austin and, at the time, they didn’t have any digital projectors so the festival converted my animations onto film! It was the first time I got to see my work displayed that way, in such a large venue.
What made you decide to put your illustrations on t-shirts, create pins, and mold candles?
Bringing my illustrations to life, in other forms, was a no-brainer. I’m always a nerd about trends and style, and I mostly make what I would want to wear or have in my home. The candles came about because I was searching for a way to make my art tangible, but without being dependent on a kiln or third party studio. A friend, Kyle Mowat, posted some photos of candles he was making online and I got so excited! He explained how he created his pieces, and pretty soon my kitchen floor was covered in latex and beeswax.
What inspires you?
I’m currently obsessed with the photographer Carlota Guerrero. She creates landscapes with the human form, and it’s very much in line with what I like to do in my drawings. Her work frequently features nude women but never in a purely sexual way. I am all about reclaiming the female nude through the female lens.
I also find so much inspiration in just being a woman. Here I am, typing this interview, sitting in high-rise jeans at my desk. Ouch! There is so much humor in what we do and wear, even the low-key things, to feel cute. I love to incorporate those funny rituals into my art.
Is your work connected to a common theme or personal interest?
My work is completely tied to the female experience - even the work I do for clients. I am constantly trying to understand what it means to be a woman and that curiosity manifests in my art.
How do you hope people feel when and after interacting with/owning one of your pieces?
Oooooh I love hearing how people feel when they see or own my art. In grad school, I made a film about a naked pig woman (called “PIG”) and I had so many women come up to me and tell me that they related to it. That was the first moment I realized that I could make things that make other people feel good.
I hope that my work brings happiness to people’s lives, whether they see it online or they own a tee. It makes me feel good to make other people feel good.
Why is creating important to you?
On good days, I can get into a flow with my drawing that I liken to meditation. Just the act of coloring in a drawing, whether it be with ink or digitally, is so satisfying. If I have the time, I love to avoid the “paint bucket” tool in Photoshop and hand fill my pieces.
Of course, there are other days when creating is a means to an end. Sometimes that end is satisfying the client, and sometimes it is making art to put out into the world. But, in the long run, creating illustrations and animations is what makes me truly happy so that’s why it’s important to me.
Is there an artistic endeavor you've wanted to achieve but have yet to? If so, what is it?
There are a bunch! The two that come to mind at this moment are a mural and brass forms of my illustrations. The mural is something I’ve wanted to do for a while, even if it’s in a pop-up space or isn’t necessarily permanent. It would be incredibly exciting to see people interacting with my illustrations on such a large scale.
I love the enamel pin community, but I actually don’t wear many pins myself (besides my own). I want to make pins and other accessories in brass/other higher-end metals that can be worn with the chicest outfits or a good jean jacket.
What can we expect to see from you soon?
I have a lot of projects in the works that will be announced soon! I am never completely sure what the future holds for me. I know it will involve making, directing, and creating. When I think about the future, I always have this image of riding the winds that are blowing in my direction.
Photos by Andrew Lee