Gemma O’Brien’s philosophy is simple: take your work seriously, not yourself. The typography expert quit law school after realizing she needed to doing something creative.
“So I switched to a design degree and fell in love with typography after learning to hand-set type in the letterpress studio,” she recalled in an interview with PRINT Magazine. “From that point forward I have been developing a practice that sits between art, illustration, design, and typography.”
Her passion for typography has flourished over the past 10 years into a full-time career, dedicated to drawing letters. O’Brien’s bold type, expressive calligraphy, and detailed illustration can be seen in advertising campaigns, editorial publications, and large-scale murals in galleries and interiors around the world.
“My style shifts within the bounds of lettering and typography,” she says. “Sometimes loose, energetic and calligraphic, and sometimes big, bold and intricately detailed. Often black and white.”
A number of her projects have received the Award of Typographic Excellence from the New York Type Directors Club, and in 2016 she was named one of PRINT Magazine’s New Visual Artists: 15 under 30. She has also collaborated with numerous global brands and publications including Apple, Google, Adobe, and The New York Times. Her typography art has also gained attention on social media, with more than 222k followers on Instagram alone.
Her earliest achievement? Winning a first-grade painting competition with an artwork of her pet chicken Rosie. Take a look at some of her latest work in the gallery below.