Studio Portrait of Maddy Young by Hannah Hanro Roche

Maddy Young

Maddy Young is an illustrator based in Melbourne who is known for her drawings of moths and roses.

One side of herself is loose and carefree, the side drawn to flowers and wildlife, but her other side is disciplined, focusing on her shop and her journey into tattooing.

“Tender” design available here & “Butterfly” design available here.

Moon illustration by maddy young
Poison Rose Illustration by Maddy Young

– What are your favourite things to draw? And Why?

I think i go through phases of obsession with subject matter – at the moment i am coming out of a phase of moths and roses, and really enjoying things with lots of big black drips falling off. I try not to be too restrictive, but if I’m being honest I think I am drawn to the same things again and again. Things like particular flowers and wildlife, elements of suburban architecture and tokens of loss and regret. I think above all else I’m interested in fragments, and parts of the whole.

Objects Illustration by Maddy Young

– What is your process when starting a design?

I always try and start with an initial stage of brain storming and sketching, to properly clarify my idea before I am able start. If I don’t have a clear idea before beginning, I find myself getting overwhelmed and the process takes a lot longer. Usually I will try and create three options for myself, and I often seek the opinion of a handful of close creative friends for the final outcome. Sometimes this process is simplified, and sometimes it becomes more complex, but routine helps with my creative process a lot.

– You make your style look like it comes so easy to you, yet we’ve learnt from wanting to work with you that you’re very particular with your final outcome. Are you like this with everything you do?

I think I’m of two hearts when it comes to this side of myself – one side is very particular and one is more loose and carefree. I think growing up I was quite lazy and forgetful, so I made a conscious effort to try and reconcile these sides of myself when I became an adult. The disciplined side of myself definitely doesn’t come as naturally as I wish it would, but I find satisfaction in knowing exactly how I want things to be, and knowing I am doing all that I can to produce this result. I think this definitely comes through in other aspects of my life, like the way I dress and the way I curate my home.

– You have creative friends who are also influential on social media, like Tallulah Fontaine. Does having creative friends help pursue new opportunities?

Tallulah is someone who is very dear to my heart, and although we met through our art I think our friendship extends beyond a sense of being peers to a kind of sisterhood that I value above all else. I think with creative friends there is definitely a sense of helping each other when you can, but I would hope this is about constructing a sense of community more than anything else. I feel very lucky to have made the creative friends i have, and that sense of banding together when you are able is so special, and in my experience is built more upon genuine friendships than anything else.

– Who would be your ultimate dream team?

Tallulah Fontaine, Georgia Hill and Rihanna. I don’t now what sort of fantasy project we are all working together in this dream scenario, but hopefully there would be matching outfits involved at some point.

Cherry Illustration by Maddy Young

– What are the difficulties of having your own online store ( Any tips, for anyone influenced by you, on how to start their own store?

Maintaining an online store can be fairly time consuming and stressful; often people have unrealistic expectations of what an artist run store is, and the limitations of a one person operation. I try to be clear and concise in my store policies so my customers are aware of how I am best able to manage my store; sometimes you still have to explain that you are just one person, and not some huge corporation with a team of people. For me having a clear process in place helps a lot, and I try to dedicate a set amount of hours each week. I would also recommend taking as high quality photos as you are able – even if that still means an iphone photo, make sure you find the best light possible and scan your work at a high resolution when you can. In my experience people respond to clear documentation and direct information.

– You’re now a tattoo apprentice (which makes complete sense), how is it going so far?

Learning to tattoo is simultaneously the most terrorfying and rewarding thing I have ever done – like trying to learn to draw all over again. I’ve found you need to be ready for anything and everything to go wrong, and be able to push through a lot of self doubt along the way. It’s very time consuming but fulfilling; lots of late nights drawing, early mornings to keep appointments, and is quite physical work. At the same time it’s also a total dream ; to have such a high level of trust with people, and mark their skin forever is an indescribable honour.

Okay Butterfly Illustration by Maddy Young

– Do you have an interesting story about any of your tattoos?

I try and document moments of importance on my skin when it feels right to do so; things like moving cities, my sense of home and my mothers recent passing; things that are parts that make up my whole. I’m lucky to have friends who who are generous with their time and skills; it is such an act of trust, one that i am blessed to be able to share with people I care for in safe and intimate environments. I also have a handful of crappy home jobs I got when I was younger, in my friends kitchen during parties and hungover mornings; small tokens of recklessness from friends long lost that I will probably get covered one day.

– Do you have a particular question for any of the other featured artists?

For Tallulah <3 : what is your favourite bette milder movie and why?
I’ve always been into Better Midler more as a performer than an actress but Beaches is probably my favourite because it was the first movie of hers I saw. I rented it when I was maybe 8 years old and kept watching it over and over until eventually they gave me the rental copy.

Tallulah’s question to you:
Maddy: What’s your favourite lipstick colour?
Deep burgundy red, or bright tangerine orange – red for winter, orange for summer

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