We are excited to introduce you to Jessica Dean and Marc Eiden from Blacksparrow who have created the wonderful children’s book Gertrude (in store at the Colour Box Studio Pop Up Book Shop  until 31 August). The wonderful story book is about Gertrude the sparrow who sets off on a perilous journey in search of the things that matter most: family, friends and a place where you truly belong. The authors will be at Colour Box Studio for a Gertrude Book Reading & Afternoon Tea free event on Saturday 17 August from 2pm (please rsvp) – little kids AND Big Kids welcome!!

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.
We are Jess and Marc, creators of Gertrude. We live in West Footscray and like dreaming up new ideas to unleash on the world. We’ve produced animations, film clips, short films and Gertrude.

Marc and I have been creating together for many years, but we also create separately. We started working together on a short film Marc was directing and it went from there.

Describe your creative practice
Writing is my main passion, but I’ve worked across different mediums, mostly animation and film. Marc started as a visual artist and moved into film, music and multimedia.

Once I’m hooked into an idea and working towards an outcome I can be pretty relentless, Marc works in a similar way, so we make a good team.

Gertrude Book Reading at Colour Box Studio

How did you come to it?
I’ve always loved reading and writing and all things creative, its just part of who I am. I think everyone is creative actually – it’s just whether you choose to exercise that part of your brain and allow yourself to have a go.  Its such a shame being creative is often seen as frivolous or childish or indulgent. Being creative, having ideas and realizing them is the best thing going. Marc has been creating since he was a kid. It’s just a part of who he is and what he does.

Tell us about your past projects. What has been your most treasured creation?
I’ve loved all the projects I’ve worked on for different reasons, just to have the opportunity to be creative is a privilege. Gertrude is high on my list, but so is an art piece I made a few years ago, called One Day.  Like Gertrude, it’s a piece that came very close to matching what I’d imagined in my head.

Where did you grow up and has it influenced what you create?
I grew up in a small village in the UK and the forests and fields of my childhood will always be with me. It was a wonderful place to explore and be imaginative. My family immigrated to Australia when I was 10 to suburban Sydney, and that very different environment has had a profound effect on me and on my writing.  Immigrating gave me the gift of experiencing being an outsider, which can both powerful and alienating –one of the positives is you become a great observer of human behavior, which is a handy quality to have as a writer, it also teaches you compassion and understanding for others who aren’t necessarily ‘from around here’.

Marc grew up in Campbelltown and then moved with his family to the UK for a few years before returning to Melbourne, so like me, he moved around a lot, went to lots of different schools and understands completely the wonders and challenges of a transient childhood.

What is your current project?
Jess: I have a couple of things on the boil at the moment, an idea for an animation script and two other stories. I’m also finishing off artwork for electro buccaneers, Nonagon.

Marc: I’m currently producing tracks for a musician who goes under the name ‘The artfishal limb’. He’s been making music for a while but no one has really heard any of his new stuff for over 10 years now – in fact no one really knows who he is. It’s a weird mix of hiphop, afro jazz, middle eastern and punk rock – very raucous. I get sent tracks by snail mail and help with production and mixing. You can check his latest track here: https://soundcloud.com/artifishallimb

Who or what was your inspiration?
The inspiration for Gertrude has lots of origins, but we are generally inspired by people, curiosity, generosity, honesty, art in all its forms that makes us think and feel.

Gertrude Book by Blacksparrow.

Here’s a list of folk that have blown our minds and opened our eyes. We recommend you seek them out.

Bill Hicks (Comedian)
Errol Morris (Filmmaker)
Richard Dawkins (Scientist)
Bjork (Musician)
Mariana Abramović (Perfomance artist)
Dennis Potter (Screenwriter)
David Walsh (MONA)
Art Spiegelman

Where do you feel most creative? 
Jess: Anyplace. For me it’s more about time. Time to get into the right headspace to be creative and let the ideas come.

Marc: Midnight when the phones stop ringing and everyone is asleep.

What can visitors to expect to see from you in the Colour Box Studio Pop Up Shop?
They can see our book Gertrude and some of our Gertude prints.

The authors will be at Colour Box Studio for a Gertrude Book Reading & Afternoon Tea free event on Saturday 17 August from 2pm (please rsvp) – little kids AND Big Kids welcome!!

Gertrude Book Reading & Afternoon Tea A4
Gertrude Book Reading & Afternoon Tea. Poster design by Kate Drew.