Jessica Lillico, Brunswick, VIC
Images by Sean Fennessy
We meet Melbourne based stylist and art director Jessica Lillico at the light-filled apartment she shares with her husband Sean and 18-month old daughter Matilda. We spoke to Jessica about some of her favourite pieces of art, furniture and objects as well as the path she’s forged as a creative and working on special projects with Sean.
“Our Home is an apartment in a 1970 red-brick “six-pack” block in Brunswick West... which may not sound particularly exciting. But I genuinely feel it’s an under-rated style of architecture and one that’s so common throughout Melbourne. Although our place is inherently no fuss, the proportions are generous, the walls are solid and it has great light. We’ve been here for 6 years and renovated gradually throughout that time.
“When we re-painted the bedroom we also got a timber bedhead/shelf made in the same colour, which is a great place to display favourite objects, art, and mementos. At the moment there’s a print I bought in Mexico, a paper Pepe Heykoop vase, and always stacks of library books. There’s also a huge weird yellow poster on the wall, featuring a face with a banana for a nose that Sean purchased and I have grown to appreciate (or at least tolerate). When our baby was little she used to just stare at him all the time and I was worried she’d have nightmares!”
“Our Daniel Emma chair was a trade for a shoot years ago - it’s a bit memphis-y and surprisingly comfortable. I also love the artwork in our dining room, by Neil Tomkins, that features the infamous gravel football ground of Queenstown, Tasmania. We’re both originally from rural Tas, so that painting, along with a beautiful old beaten-up “bush furniture” bench that I found in a second-hand store in my home town, remind me of my roots.”
“[Creatively], I never know how to refer to my practice, to be honest. I started out as a graphic designer but realised early on that I preferred working for myself and then, after developing RSI in my hands, I actively sought something less computer-based. I now think of myself as an image-maker (although I don’t take the photos) - and my work ranges from set-design to styling for interior, lifestyle and commercial clients.”
I never know how to refer to my practice, to be honest. I started out as a graphic designer but realised early on that I preferred working for myself and then, after developing RSI in my hands, I actively sought something less computer-based.
“Sean is a photographer who often works with hotels, so I’ve started coming on board on a lot of those jobs in a styling capacity. But we also love doing studio-based work together - recently we did a few experimental still-life shoots for free during the lock-down, which kept our spirits up and hopefully helped out a few businesses too. We want to continue working together and have set up a separate entity for that purpose.”
“Last year we published a limited edition book, City Over Land. It features photographs of suburban Los Angeles plant life alongside an essay by our friend, local writer Maggie Shipstead. We both took the photos (mostly on a point-and-shoot film camera) and I designed the layout. Walking the streets with no plans, feeling charmed by simple things in a city that was new to us, is a memory I’ll always treasure.”
Last year we published a limited edition book, City Over Land. It features photographs of suburban Los Angeles plant life alongside an essay by our friend, local writer Maggie Shipstead.
“[My creative process] changes depending on whether I’m being asked to execute an existing concept or create one from scratch. However there’s always a solitary time of reflection and planning, which I really enjoy. That’s followed by the flurry of sourcing materials and troubleshooting. The actual shoot is always a collaboration with the photographer and I’ve learned to embrace whatever’s working on the day, even if it’s a bit different from what I had in my head.
“Outside of the studio, in theory, I like spending time in nature, but I don’t do it enough. That’s set to change though - we’ve recently purchased a mid-century home in Warrandyte, an outer suburb that feels more like a country town. It’s close to the Yarra/Birrarung river and surrounded by bushland, so I hope that will inspire a more outdoorsy lifestyle. I’ll miss Brunswick though - I’ve lived here for ten years and it feels like home, but it’s time for a change.”