IN-HOUSE ARTIST - Indigo Greenlaw

IN-HOUSE ARTIST - Indigo Greenlaw

Lately we've been giving you a closer look into some of the guest artists that feature prominently with Paper Rain, so we figured it was time to give you some insight into one of our very own! 

If you're familiar with Paper Rain or have physically visited one of our pop-ups over the years, you've likely come across Indigo Greenlaw and her work. Indigo, with her passion for art, artists, conservation and the outdoors, founded Paper Rain back in 2013 with her now husband Wills. Together they have cultivated Paper Rain to what it is today.

Indigo Greenlaw at the Bricklane Gallery with The Paper Rain Project art board New Zealand "Native" collection on display at the London GalleryIndigo at the Bricklane Gallery in London displaying the New Zealand 'Native' Collection of Paper Rain Boards in May

In spite of the chaotic workload and ups and downs of owning and running a social enterprise and business, both Indigo and Wills both ensure their crafts and skills are utilised daily with Indigo's artwork featuring throughout the Paper Rain collection.

We at Paper Rain think she's pretty incredible, but we'll let her tell you a little bit more about herself below!

Tell us a bit about yourself (including something most people don’t know!)

Hmm….I am a 28 year old “Skiwi”. I grew up on a remote Scottish peninsula until I was 10. My brothers and I went to the smallest primary school in Scotland (9 pupils at that time). We had boat access only, windmills for power and wells for water. It was a great childhood on the whole - filled with hut making, fairies, mud, Mama’s fresh baked bread and swimming. Our family moved to Picton, New Zealand in 2001.

I dropped out of University to start The Paper Rain Project but have never stopped learning since!! Other jobs I have had include being a barista, a freelance illustrator and graphic designer, a babysitter, waitress, guitar teacher, amateur musician and admin for Marlborough Sounds Adventure Co and Dolphin Watch.

Indigo, Wills and Raglan at HQ

These days I spend most of my time running The Paper Rain Project with my husband (and our co-founder!), Wills Rowe…. And hanging out with our collie x hunter way pup, Raglan. I love yoga, cooking, music and creative writing as well as hiking. I attempt to rock climb, surf, mountain bike and parallel park. I love being outside and try to ignore the fact that I’m scared of the dark.

Alpaca and llamas make me cry with joy.

How would you describe your artwork?

I have a few different styles, but generally it’s quite detailed and illustrative. I draw using my Wacom tablet, preferably in black and white with a style similar to that of ink and water-colour. I’m inept at realism so my work is quite stylised. Given what I have produced for Paper Rain in recent years, you’d think I was obsessed with native birds ;) I dabble in wood block printing, painting and digital illustration but would really like to spend more time drawing. My time as a freelance graphic designer has also led me to another, more graphic style (as shown in my native laser etched board artworks).

Who or what drives or inspires your artwork?

Largely my inspiration lies in the natural world and primarily in native birds. I am so passionate about conservation and the need to look after our planet, it’s biodiversity- everything that lives on it. NZ has such a beautiful environment and a set of unique animals that call it their home. I want to make art that communicates the beauty of our World (and the need to look after it!)

 Tui laser etched design onto sustainably sourced macrocarpa by Indigo Greenlaw for The Paper Rain Project

What is your favourite daily ritual?

I like to get up early, do Headspace (meditation), yoga and then drink a matcha. Wills has been making some awesome cashew, sesame, coconut and date milk which steams up really well. Yum. I had to quit caffeine a while ago (shock, horror!) but still have organic decaf. Every cup is a little ritual ;) My favourite time of day is definitely the morning ~ getting up, going through the above and then making a delicious breakfast to eat with Wills before walking Raglan down to the shed for work. :)

Indigo and her brother on a hike near Wellington.

How do you juggle co-owning and running Paper Rain and continuing your art?

The running of the business definitely takes precedence over my artwork, sadly. However, I do get to illustration for commercial clients (which get printed on our hemp totes or organic t-shirts). At the moment I am trying to spend more time creative writing but I’d love to freshen up my art with a life drawing or charcoal class. I also want to spend more time practising digital illustration.

Graphic design work by Indigo Greenlaw for Seresin Organic Winery in Marlborough

Indigo's design for a local organic winery in Marlborough - Seresin

The ‘day-job’ requires me to use a lot of graphic design skills for layout, marketing collateral etc so I have Photoshop, Illustrator and Indesign open every day. In terms of boards, a good deadline gets me to produce! The most recent works I painted were for our ‘Made in New Zealand’ show in London.

In short - I don’t juggle it very well. I’m usually focussed on the business and tend to drop the art ball as soon as too many fly! It’s a work in progress.

What do you want to see a little (or a lot!) more of in the world?

Kindness. It’s free, easy to give and goes a long way to making other people's lives a lot better.

 I’d like to see more action to support the environment, to stop biodiversity loss and ecological collapse. I’m inspired by the Extinction Rebellion movement and feel it’s really, really important that we start taking action against climate change. In a smaller version of this, I’d like to see more people taking responsibility for their own footprint in terms of the consumption, rubbish production and purchasing power they hold.

Indigo walking the Colorado Trail in 2018

I’d like to see better and more effective recycling initiatives in New Zealand. I’d like to have children that still have the Maui and Hectors dolphins to marvel over.

I’d like to see a WHOLE LOT MORE fashion brands change to fair trade, organic models. Choosing to produce with fair trade means you acknowledge that other people's lives have an equal value to your own (which they do!). If not fair trade (or second hand), the clothes we’re buying come at the cost of someone else’s life.

On a positive note, there are some AMAZING companies and social enterprises doing such positive things and making good changes ~ I love The Loyal Workshop, Allbirds, Again Again reusable coffee cups, Sustainable Coastlines, Duffle & co, Eat my Lunch, The Wildlife Hospital, the B1G1 model which supports a huge number of international initiatives - the list goes on!

Something you would have liked to have told your 20-year old self?

I don’t feel like it was all that long ago but this was around the time we started Paper Rain. I think I’d tell myself the following: “Get a business mentor and perhaps look for part-time work where you can learn more about the aspects of a business. It’s ok to let go. Don’t worry so much. You’ve got this.” Also, I had pretty bad body image when I was younger and that was damaging. I would have liked to have supported myself better nutritionally and given myself a break!!!

What has been your favourite adventure so far?

Hands down my 2018 hike on the Colorado Trail in the USA. I was raising money for mental health awareness (via Live More Awesome) but needed the mental break myself. I walked 500km across some of the most beautiful mountain ranges, got within a km of lightning, had my jandals nibbled by marmot and even saw a moose! Seeing squirrels every day made me smile. It was hard, mentally, being alone for long stretches of time but it was one of the most clarifying and rewarding experiences of my life. Also, I love Colorado.

(& Utah, as pictured below).

Want to see more? Check out Indigo's work for Paper Rain by clicking HERE.