An accidental favorite on a super-old Instagram photo: that’s something I’ve done and the inspiration behind designer Siobhán Gallagher’s “Modern Tragedies” illustration series. Borrowing stylistically from the simple, graphic nature of Greek vase paintings, the series explores the sundry embarrassments and frustrations of the digital age.
Siobhán (“Sio”) is a junior designer at Philomel Books at Penguin Random House, NYC, who says that side projects come naturally to her: “ I’ve been out of school for three years but still kind of have this ‘semester project’ mentality, which has been really helpful in making work I enjoy while fine-tuning skills I know I can improve.”
My favorites among the series are those where figures are in active poses, deep in the throes of modern woes. Sio doesn’t immediately post every tragedy she draws: she holds onto them so she can make small revisions in the editing phase. She has a few under wraps now, as (wisely) she’d like to collect the series in a zine and presented some “exclusive” drawings in the printed version.
The “Modern Tragedies” is a good outlet for every-day angst. Says Sio, “I have a growing list of notes in my phone that I add to a few times a day if I’m brainstorming or feeling whiney about certain relatable day-to-day moments.”
There’s plenty more updates to the series rolling on Instagram, which Sio also cross-posts on Twitter. If you like this series, be sure to check out “Contain Yourself”, Siobhán’s first zine, released last month. If you’d like to see it in person, hop over to Desert Island Comics in NYC. And as ever, see more work on her portfolio site.