Jennifer Mehigan – aka Of The Holy Blood – is a busy woman. The Singapore-based designer, artist and creator of Cavity zine combines fine art sensibility with internet-age experimentation, and there are hours of visual bingeing to be done on her network of websites; she’s some sort of a blogging guru.
Where did your moniker come from?
It was originally used as an alias for a collaboration in 2010 as an homage to the anonymous painter from Bruges called Master of the Holy Blood but it ended up sticking because I preferred a more gender neutral name and also don’t like my how my real name looks!
What inspires your work?
Right now I’m mostly inspired by the distinction between what is considered natural and what is artificial, be it colour, forms, science and technology versus mythology or the unknown. I’ve been reading about attempts at creating man-made versions of natural luminance – nacre, opals, bioluminescence and why it’s so important for us to try and imitate nature although we can’t make an identical copy. There’s a gap between what we know and what nature knows and it’s really significant to me, especially the modern mythologies that exist to fill those gaps like art, religion, whatever.
Do you consider yourself more as a designer or an artist?
I’m more comfortable with the term designer because I feel like it’s treated more as a skill whereas artist feels like a title that you have to earn from your peers. I use both because I really can’t decide and my influences are pretty equal from both sides. When I’m thinking of how to lay out a painting or a drawing, I look through my collections of book design images, posters, and vice versa. There’s no distinction for me, and the same goes for a lot of people. You’re kind of expected to be everything anyway now, and I can’t see how a person can be one without the other.
You have a pretty strong online presence. Is the internet an influence on your work?
The internet is a huge influence on my work. I love books and magazines and definitely have a hoarding problem, but sometimes it feels like I’ve gotten far more value out of Tumblr than anything I own. It’s a hugely powerful tool providing you don’t limit yourself with it, I think. There are a lot of people who follow only one particular type of blog or look for stuff they already know they like which is a strange limitation to impose on yourself. There’s also the prominence of digital art and painting with your phones or tablets and all that which has really opened up an entirely new colour spectrum for me to work with that I would never have even considered this time two years ago.
Could you tell us about your endeavour Cavity Zine?
Cavity is a zine I started up earlier this year featuring the work of some friends and a lot of artists whose work I enjoy very much. The budget was super limited for Volumes 1 and 2 so I’ve have been sticking to black and white images and trying to work on bringing vibrancy to it through paper stock, layering effects and a holographic cover, but I’ve decided to spend more time and money on Volume 3 to really make it a publication that people are proud to be a part of.
Where would you love to be in a few years’ time?
Words: Mark Izatt