Stacy is a weekend presenter for national radio station, Triple J, as well as a freelance designer and illustrator. We took a jaunt around Collingwood in our friend's convertible, then headed to Stacy's favourite place for a chat - his home.
Saturn return: December 2014 - December 2017
a/s/l: 28/male/Brunswick East. I live in a lovely but cold weatherboard house with my good friend, Kathryn, and cat, Leroy.
What keeps you busy?
I work in radio, hosting a breakfast program on the weekend. During the week I draw pictures, work on illustrative and design projects, sometimes make music, and swim.
What's your favourite swimming stroke?
Survival backstroke, because it's very comfortable. Water fills your ears and shuts out the world. You just focus on whatever is directly above you. Usually lights.
How did you get into illustration?
After doing an arts degree several years ago and faffing about for a while, I felt like I didn't have any real tangible skills, so I decided to study graphic design. While I was studying, I was most interested in illustration and used any opportunity to shoehorn drawings into the briefs. After that I worked as a graphic designer in a junior role, but I decided to stop because I realised I could scrape by on income from the radio and with the extra time I could practise drawing my own pictures.
How would you describe your illustrative style right now?
I enjoy working with ink and brush. My style is simplified, cartoon-esque but with realistic proportions.
Do you have an obsession with inserting sneaky penises into your work?
I wouldn't say sneaky penises, they're quite obvious usually. Every day I try to sit down and generate something like ten ideas. I find that often it's the dirty little ideas that make me giggle, and then I'll turn that concept into a drawing. Someone pointed out that I draw a lot of penises, and then it became a joke and more penises started slipping their way in.
Where is your happy place?
I love my home. I love to sit all around it. Out the front in the morning with breakfast, then all over the inside. Ultimate pleasure is a good sit while you listen to a record, read or draw or watch TV or do a couple of them at the same time. I love doubling down on my time. I think that's why I like illustration so much - you can't listen to an audiobook while writing a song.
What are your ambitions for the future?
I would like to get to a point where I am selling my work for money, or drawing for magazines or writing comic strips. If my radio work ever falls on its face I would like to only make money through illustration, and not have to work at somewhere like Subway. Although at least I would still be an artist - just a sandwich artist.
Maybe someday I would like to bring the music I make and my illustrations together. It would be nice to write a really nice comic book and make music to accompany reading the comic book. Short term I want to practice drawing and make a guided meditation tape.
Is there a link between your creative process when writing music and drawing pictures?
I suppose I see storytelling as a link in everything I do. I like stories, a good story is endlessly satisfying. I think there's always a quest to tell a perfect story. Whether it's distilling it into four panels or two or one. Or it's more obscure. Music is more obscure, the listener makes his or her own story. For me, music is more personal in that way. With drawing pictures, I am so early on in illustration that what I like to draw is more light-hearted. Hence the penises. I would like to draw comics that have a bit more depth to them, but that will come once I've nailed the technique.
What is the link between your foray into illustration and your Saturn return?
Last year I was working 5-7 days a week doing both radio and an office graphic design job. I did it to be safe. To get experience so I could get better office jobs. But I didn't want to do that. So I made a decision to stop fucking around and just do what I wanted to do. I made the decision to work from home and concentrate on illustration and my radio work. Rather than always just assuming eventually someday I will do what I want to do, I just decided to fucking do it.
I feel like we put up imaginary barriers for ourselves sometimes. But you can do it whenever you want - you can stop doing things that you are not enjoying and just do what you want. You just have to do it. Every day. Just sit down and do it. Maybe. I don't know. Ask me in 5 years.
What has been the biggest challenge that you have overcome?
I've had a wonderfully charmed life. I'm a white, cisgendered male born in Australia and the only real road blocks that have come my way have been put there by myself. I am very grateful for everything that I have, and yet I constantly struggle with myself and a search for some kind of happiness. My biggest challenge was coming to understand that it's okay for me to feel shitty and that I don't have to feel guilty about it, I don't have to constantly wrestle with it.
I spent so long trying to convince myself to be happy - that I should be happy. I tried to rationalise my feelings, trying to understand where they were coming from, so that I could solve the unpleasantness. It took me a long time to understand that those feelings were out of my control and the best thing to do was to stop fighting it. I'm still working on it.
Photography / Julia Petricevic and Simone Ruggiero
Words / Stacy Gougoulis
Location / Brunswick East, Melbourne