Artists and Writers in Their Own Words: Googie McCabe

Artists and Writers in Their Own Words: Googie McCabe

Talented Polish/British artist Googie McCabe creates lush vintage inspired illustrations steeped in Polish folklore. Her art is brimming with timeless wisdom and she harnesses the pleasures and pains of being a mum to create beautiful and often hilarious paintings, illustrations and books.

I have always drawn, painted and doodled. My first pregnancy somehow unlocked it…

All the notebooks from school would be often completely full of drawings. I would sometimes get into trouble for doing this with my teachers.

When I was pregnant, I started to doodle and write week-by-week diaries as a future gift for my baby. At first I never thought of publishing. Yet the need to create started to slowly grew in me and I haven’t stopped since. It fulfils a deeper need to do something meaningful in life. I am quite pleased it has worked out like that.

Artists and Writers in Their Own Words: Googie McCabe
Wanda by Googie McCabe

I don’t remember ever wanting to be an artist…I studied Museology and frankly this was the path I thought was mapped out for me

I worked in heritage conservation for over 8 years. I was commuting daily to Central London; but after the birth of my first daughter, the childcare and commuting costs became unsustainable. So that was the end of that dream. I found a job nearer to home. I don’t take work home with me, the mortgage and bills get paid and I’ve got nice colleagues. What’s not to like about it.

My advice to young artists – find yourself a steady job and pursue art in your spare time

Perhaps try to get into printing, where you can still be creative and learn a lot. Importantly though – do it for yourself. If it works out, great! You can still afford to pay bills and to be creative, without having pressure to produce like a factory in order to support yourself. Anyway, who needs to sleep?

Artists and Writers in Their Own Words: Googie McCabe
Pan Twardowski by Googie McCabe

I created my book ‘Two Sisters’ during the worst depression I have ever experienced

The whole creation process of my book: ‘Two Sisters: Unsolicited Advice for my Daughters‘ helped me to get through this depression and stay afloat. Thanks to this book I survived, but sertraline has been helping too. The book worked out well as far as workmanship is concerned, plus it does have a poetic vision to it.

Two Sisters resonates with plenty of people. That makes me feel proud that my work and artistic vision can touch many people.

My favourite creation would be ‘Goodbye’ from my upcoming book Two Sisters

Artists and Writers in Their Own Words: Googie McCabe
Goodbye by Googie McCabe from Two Sisters: Unsolicited Advice for my Daughters

I could do a PhD in how to forge pain into art

My second favourite piece would be my cartoon work of the time when my (then) two year old broke my nose. This drawing still makes me laugh, although at the time I could see nothing through the dark mist of agony… hahahaha

If I could give advice to my younger self I would tell her: ‘Don’t be so harsh on yourself’

No one is interested in you. Everyone has their own insecurities. It’s just that some are better at hiding it. Also, don’t be intimidated by so-called authority figures (usually white men over 50). A lot of times the aura they project is just bullshit. So don’t waste your time on that, just do what you need to do.

I love art in general and cannot live without feeding my eyes daily

The Viennese and Parisienne stages of the Fin de siècle are strongly embedded in my inner aesthetic. Also the world of mythology simply amazing.

  • Artists and Writers in Their Own Words: Googie McCabe
  • Artists and Writers in Their Own Words: Googie McCabe
  • East of the Sun by Kay Nielson

I have my own tune list that almost immediately puts me into a creative flow

Tender, Lo Moon, Still Corners and Kovacs. The music has to flow. Otherwise I’m an old metal head…Anathema, Amorphis, Paradise Lost or Theatre of Tragedy feed my inner self.

I have always felt connected to Scandinavia, the British Isles and Ireland

I have had a life-long passion for everything Viking related (long before it became popular).

This is how I learned English, got to know the culture and history and it forever stays within me. My dream is to go to Iceland on my own for my 45th Birthday to reconnect with my younger self before entering downhill journey of my life hahaha.

Artists and Writers in Their Own Words: Googie McCabe
Ireland with a kite

I also feel very connected with Kashubia in Poland. Gdansk, in particular its shipyard, dunes, the Baltic Sea and Bory Tucholskie with the pine forests, mushroom foraging and swimming in the lakes.

My new book is called Two sisters: Unsolicited Advice for my Daughters

It’s a compilation of my thoughts on this thing called life. Some are mine, a lot come from my mother, others have been overheard and resonated with me. In short, it’s a list of reflections paired with the images.

The general message is to try to have the best shot at this one life we all have. To not be an asshole. To be kind and also to just be yourself. Also to avoid the wrong kinds of people and to laugh as much as you can.

It’s a personal testament to the little girls I love the most in the world: my daughters

I created it while experiencing the worst, almost year long episode of depression I have ever had. I have had depression since the age of 15. The book helped me to re-evaluate many things in my life and to stay afloat (with the help of antidepressants too).

Also coming up is the 2nd volume of the pregnancy diaries

The first volume is available for sale now worldwide. The Pregnancy Diaries is the story of lost dignity, abandoned plans, exploded myths and the surprises that pregnancy throws at you with the strength of a wrecking ball crashing at 150 miles per hour. It’s a satirical and self-deprecating account of being pregnant that’s deeply relatable and funny. It’s the best pregnancy gift and also it could just be the best contraception! 😁

I have been approached by one author for illustrations, so watch this space. Clearly I am not going to sleep a lot this in the next year. But hey, sleep is for losers anyway. She says with dark circles under eyes and dribbling.

Please get in touch with me if you have a creative or collaborative opportunity

My website



Published by Content Catnip

Content Catnip is a quirky internet wunderkammer written by an Intergalactic Space Māori named Content Catnip. Join me as I meander through the quirky and curious aspects of history, indigenous spirituality, the natural world, animals, art, storytelling, books, philosophy, travel, Māori culture and loads more.

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