Ep. 9: Gemma O'Brien

Australian letterer, illustrator and typographer Gemma O’Brien is a fascinating person - from the unique way she got her big break to her passion for the double meaning behind words and phrases, she won us over with more than just her charming accent. From blogs to instagram to exhibitions to global lectures, listen to her path and where she's headed next:

gemma-obrien-headshot.jpg
Gemma's studio

Gemma's studio

Her career in typography, lettering and illustration really took off when one of her school projects was featured on a prominent website about a provocative project in which she covered her body in beautiful and calligraphic lettering. But it's not the kind of publicity you would think... 

LCAD Gallery exhibition

LCAD Gallery exhibition

Hear Gemma talk about one of her favorite projects that was recently exhibited at Laguna College of Art + Design (LCAD) Gallery featuring words and phrases that we encounter everyday in the online world that have a totally different context in other settings. 

One of our favorite project of Gemma's, which has taken on a life of its own with its own Instagram hashtag, is the Spew Bag Challenge (#spewbagchallenge). A few years ago, she started this fun project for creative travelers with some time on their hands while up in the air. It organically grew to the point where she had an exhibition and even partnered with a major airline. Ah, the power of the interwebz! Here are a few of our favorite #spewbagchallenge submissions:

Gemma and her boyfriend Jason Crombie

Gemma and her boyfriend Jason Crombie

We also learn more about her home life, hanging out at home, where she enjoys spending time with her housemates, her writer boyfriend, Jason Crombie, running and cooking.

A quickly scribbled shopping list

A quickly scribbled shopping list

We even got Gemma to play a silly round of word association with us. Listen to the full episode above.

Follow Gemma online at gemmaobrien.com and on Instagram. Check out all of the spew bags here or on Instagram.

Thanks to our sponsors Tendr and Freshbooks for supporting this episode of Clever.

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Special thanks to Chris Modl of Yore Studio for editing this episode.
Music in this episode courtesy of El Ten Eleven—hear more on Bandcamp.
Shoutout to Jenny Rask for designing the Clever logo.