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Meet Gemma the Artist behind Food For Everyone x Archie Rose

Step into the world of art and spirits as we introduce you to Gemma Leslie, the creative genius behind Food For Everyone. Gemma's unique artwork series for Archie Rose Tailored Spirits is a celebration of the connection between people and food, making it a perfect match for our limited edition Tailored labels this festive Summer season. Together, we've collaborated with Gemma to capture the essence of summer and our shared passion for joy and connection through food and drinks. In this exclusive interview, we delve into the inspiration behind the two new Tailored Artwork labels, one for Tailored Gin and Vodka, and the other for Tailored Whisky, each embodying the spirit of Australian summer and balmy festive nights.

1. Tell us about your journey to becoming an artist and how Food For Everyone emerged from your passion?

I’ve always gravitated towards creative tasks — they energise me! And like many people in creative industries, there hasn’t been a clear-cut path that has defined my career, rather it has evolved as I have, leading me in several directions. I’ve studied a few different things like public relations, photo-journalism, and then pursued a communications degree with a major in design. I also have a deep love for the fashion industry and have worked within fashion houses as a graphic and textile designer. But then in early 2020, after leaving my job (pandemic times), I took some time to rest and paint. For months, I painted nearly every single day. I had a realisation then, that this is what I truly loved, and I began receiving commissions for paintings. This creative burst also led me to start Food For Everyone, a culinary poster shop where I collaborate with chefs and artists to turn recipes into artworks. It started as a fundraising initiative during the height of the pandemic — my plan was to simply bring joy into people’s homes, through affordable art and supporting people in need. Along the way, Food For Everyone grew into a little business and we continue to give back by donating the equivalent of 10 meals per poster purchased. Since Food For Everyone started in 2020, we have contributed over $150,000 to a host of Australian charities, equating to approximately 750,000 meals which I am incredibly proud of.

2. What do you hope people take away from your work?

Joy! My work centres on connecting with people through food — that feeling you get when you bring together the people you love over a meal, whether that’s at home or your favourite restaurant. The posters act as a reminder of those memories. We want to spread the joy of food through our work to anyone who seeks it, through the art itself, through the storytelling inherent to recipes, and through supporting food banks to help ensure that everyone has consistent access to nutritious food. We hope that the charitable side of the art helps to break down the stigma associated with seeking food relief and create a sense of community and camaraderie.

3. What are your ambitions and goals for Food For Everyone? Can you hint at something exciting coming up?

Food For Everyone is a business built on collaboration, so our goal is to continue sharing our energy with other passionate creatives! We love working with people, like Archie Rose, who encourage individual expression and aren’t afraid to delve headfirst into new projects. I can’t give too much away just yet but we are about to release a new poster with someone very special. It was actually a goal of mine to work with this person so now that it’s happening…I don’t know where to go from here! To give you a hint, she’s British and frequents Australia each year. (Eeeeek!)

4. What inspires your art?

I am totally driven by colour. And food, of course. Particularly the vibrant hues and dramatic shapes of vegetables and fruits. Walking through a market is enough to get me rushing back to the studio and breaking out my paints.

5. What are your favourite food and drink pairings?

When I think about the best food and drink pairing, I think about being in Rome and enjoying a traditional cacio e pepe made with hand-rolled pasta. This, with a Negroni on a warm summer night is absolutely a recipe for happiness. Can’t get much better!

6. What is your favourite cocktail?

An ice-cold Negroni with a wedge of orange.

7. What inspired the artwork you created for our Christmas packaging this year?

The process began around the idea of summer entertaining, and how I tend to host friends and family over the summer. I’m always a fan of a drink on arrival, something refreshing for my guests to enjoy while I prepare a meal that is generally put together at the last minute! They may even be called in to help with dressing a salad or heading into my garden to find some rosemary sprigs for some roast potatoes. So I started to think about what grows in my garden, thinking of the herbs and fruits that fit within the distinct flavour profiles of gin and whisky. Like the freshness of lemon, cucumber, and basil that marries with gin botanicals, contrasting to the deeper, sweeter flavours of orange rind, figs, and cherries that make for a great match with whisky-based cocktails. I love that all these pairings are accessible. I’m very lucky to have a garden and love spending time in it growing herbs and citrus that I can pick as I need, but I’m definitely on board with foraging around the neighbourhood. I feel like most people have a lemon or orange tree hanging over an alleyway in their area! And if you look for it, you’ll find that rosemary is bountiful, overgrown in front gardens and spilling onto the street.

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