The Heroine’s Journey of Lilian Darmono

What is the best thing that I love about my work?

Paid work: That it makes marginalized people feel seen. That it helps communicate important messages and ideas for the well being of communities.
Personal work: that it relaxes me, allows me to chase away toil and troubles of daily life, and just concentrates on the act of making something beautiful, a little better each time, each day.

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Photo credit: Hilary Walker

What is my idea of happiness?

Being able to lose yourself and your ego, in the act of loving someone else so much, you’re no longer the center of everything. This is what being a parent gives me.

What is my greatest fear?

Have my child grow up into someone I dislike.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?

I’m too easily swayed by strong emotions.

Which living persons in my profession do i most admire?

Victo Ngai and James Jean. Their work is extraordinary and out of this world.

What is my greatest extravagance?

Expensive tea sets, expensive water colour brushes.

On what occasion would I lie?

When the truth is too frightening/painful for my child to hear.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?

My poor skill at painting atmospheric light and colour to a scene.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work?

Paid work: headphones on, playing a horror movie while I draw.

Personal work: Music from stereo, painting water colors in peace, a cup of tea somewhere nearby.

If I could, what would I change about myself?

Be more patient, be more in control of my temper.

What is my greatest achievement in work?

These are all equally important:
Making marginalized people feel less alone, feel more seen.

Being unafraid of failure.

Paying bills while having enough time to care for my family.

Where would I most like to live?

Melbourne’s Inner north suburbs. Which is where I am.

What is my most treasured possession?

A blanket I’ve had since childhood.

What is my most marked characteristic?

I wear my heart on my sleeve.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city?

The narrow, hidden alleyways in the central business district, full of street art and hidden treasures such as amazing restaurants and bars that aren’t garishly signposted.

What is my favorite place to eat and drink, in my city?

Any of the three cafes within walking distance from my house. Melbourne is a city of wonderful food and brunches, and we’re all hoping this industry won’t be too damaged by the pandemic.

What books influenced my life and how?

The Imperial Radch trilogy (Ancillary Justice, Ancillary Sword, Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie, for painting a world where a person’s gender is not immediately apparent from the outside. Every person in the book is a ‘she’, there is no gendered pronouns.

The Player of Games by Iain M Banks, describing a world where a person would change their gender multiple times in a lifetime. Cements the idea that gender fluidity should really be more normalized in our society, sooner rather than later.

Unfinished Business by Ann-Marie Slaughter, for going into the heart of gender inequality, especially when it comes to parenting and paid work. This book inspires me to be brave, and reject the dominant bias in society that motherhood makes a woman into a less valuable member of the workforce. To be unapologetic and firm when specifying boundaries to clients in order to protect family time, and finally, to see motherhood as an asset that makes me a better designer/illustrator, instead of a ‘handicap.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day?

‘Jump Around’ by House of Pain. Turned up loud. Really really loud.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?

Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?

One of my friends, Michelle Higa, who’s also a working parent in the field of animation and motion design who’s generous, super smart, and wise. I have a compilation of amazing stuff she’s said that’s helped me through a bunch of difficult issues.

Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime?

Kramer vs Kramer by Robert Benton, starring Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffman. It’s about a married couple who’s splitting up and how it affects their young child. It’s ahead of its time and really looks into issues of toxic masculinity and gender inequality, without being preachy.

What role plays art in my life and work?

It’s my everything. It’s how I see the world, it’s my release, my salvation, my meal ticket, my self expression, my way of working out who I am and who I’d like to be.

What do the words ‘You are the storyteller of your own life’ to me?

That happiness, contentment, or success, also relies on how you choose to see your circumstances in life. Victim or survivor? Glass half full or empty? Lucky or unlucky?

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?

My long-suffering husband

Which people or companies would I like to work with in 2020?

I’ve loved working for Department of Health and Human Services of my state government here in Victoria, Australia, and I’d love to keep doing that.

UNHCR or WHO or Medecins Sans Frontieres.

I’ve also loved working with Apple and would love to continue doing that. Their briefs and Art Directors are interesting, fun, and great at pulling the best out of me as an Illustrator.

Public Transport Victoria

Which people in my profession who can make a real difference in my creative career would i love to meet in 2020?

I don’t have anyone I’d wish to meet in this way, at this point in time. I like good clients who are open and understanding and has great briefs and pays decently. Apart from being impossible to tell these things before working with someone, I’m also quite happy and content with the creative career I’ve got.

What project, in 2020, am I looking forward to work on?

I have no idea what tomorrow brings, but I’d love to work on something that would help people cope with this pandemic. Either by spreading practical information, or to cheer people up.

Where can you see me or my work in 2020?

Instagram or twitter are my most active platforms!

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me?

If you live your life right, then hopefully you’d find something that brings you joy to do, right up till the last day on this planet.

Which creative professionals should Peter invite to tell their story for the heroine’s journey or hero’s journey project?
Janelle Cummins (Illustrator, USA), Althea Aseoche (storyboard artist, Australian, lives in London), Esther Ajibade (Illustrator, UK), C. Spike Trotman (comic artist/author/publisher, American), Abelle Hayford (artist, activist, American}, Mimi Leung (artist, illustrator, Australian), Jac Nguyen (animator, illustrator, Australian), Tynesha Foreman (animator, artist, American), Chigozie Obi (artist, Nigerian), Maxine Beneba Clarke (writer, Australian), Ru Kuwahata (animator, illustrator, artist, teacher, American), Michelle Higa Fox (animator, designer, artist, American)

How can you contact me?

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