Artist interview with emerging scientific illustrator, Madison Erin Mayfield

Madison Erin Mayfield at Reverends Fine Coffee In Brisbane

In the second half of 2016, a speciality coffee house in Brisbane opened its doors to local & international artists. The shop is situated in the Fortitude Valley on the main boulevard. Although small, the venue holds your attention from the street, with a sturdy oak church pew next to the door. Crossing the threshold patrons, artists, voyeurs, coffee fanatics & foodies alike are welcomed into a tiny cafe rich in smells, sounds, tastes & visuals.

In celebration & support of emerging artists in Brisbane we wanted to have a little chat to the creators that call Reverends home for a few weeks. 




Q What medium do you work with most?

A I work with watercolour, pen & ink.

Q When did you stop giving a shit about what people think & started making art for yourself?

A  Probably when I moved to Australia. I just finished a scientific illustration program at University back in the states & when I moved here I found it (scientific illustration) was a dying art. So in response I just started drawing what I was interested in & what wanted to make. There aren’t many people here that are trained in the area I am, I think photography has taken over the field a lot more. 

Q What do you want to learn/ how do you want to evolve as an artist in 2017?

A  At the moment, what I Illustrate is very accurate & true. I want to work towards being a little more abstract. I want to be a bit more creative & not draw what is exactly in front of me. I still want to keep my work scientifically accurate in some respects, but I want to explore more scenes that you don’t see in nature.

Scientific illustration of Australian possum by Madison Erin Mayfield

Q Which artists or themes do you find yourself referring back to when you make new work?

A  There is an artist I’m really into right now, her name is Katie Scott. She doesn’t do scientific illustration per say but she is an illustrator. She has done whole books of plants & animals. Katie has a very distinct style & thats something Im working towards. When people look at my work I want them to know straight away its mine. 

Q What do you hope to achieve through your art? Professionally & personally

A   I’ve been wanting to make my art more about conservation issues. I’ve been thinking a lot about being a sort of non for profit artist, in that any work I sell I’ll give a donation to a specific cause. I really want to raise awareness of environmental issues. Since I’m in Australia for the foreseeable future Ill start with Australian based issues, & then go from there. 

Scientific illustration of a skull by Madison Erin Mayfield

Q What is your biggest fear as an artist?

A Probably getting bored with what I do. Its really hard being my own boss. I have to decide what I work on next & when. I think when you’re your own boss there is a lot of room for you to lose the spark. But then again I don’t only want to be a freelance artist. Its a hard issue to tackle because I don’t want to be taking any work I can get, especially if its not something I’m whole heartedly interested in. 

Q What do you do to fund your artwork?

A Right now not a lot. I have an Etsy page that I sell prints on. I worked at a cafe in the states. Working full time & making time for art is really hard. 

Q What is your biggest artistic achievement/most proud of?

A  I have to say, at the end of my program back in the states; one of my final pieces was featured in the Burke Mesuem. They put it up in one of the galleries there; It was really cool having a piece of mine hanging in the museum. I love museums. It was a big dream of mine to have that happen. Since then I’ve been working with the Queensland museum. That is the proudest moment for me. 

Scientific illustration of Ibis by Madison Erin Mayfield

Q Hopes for the future?

A  To be successful enough that I don’t have to worry about having a part time job. Also creating stuff that inspires other people, especially nature lovers. If I can educate people through my artwork that’d also be cool. 


Q Shameless plug?

A   Instagram


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Artist in residence at Reverends fine coffee Brisbane. We talk with emerging artists about their fears, proudest moments, how their past influenced their artistic careers & what they hope for the future.