Georgia Hill, known as Australia’s “queen of monochrome,” is a leading figure in contemporary art and street art. Her distinctive style features bold black and white lines blended with broken textures and cyclical patterns. Hill’s artworks, ranging from large-scale murals to gallery pieces, often incorporate poetic phrases that invite reflection and personal interpretation. Through contrasts in landscapes, urban settings, and natural forms, her work explores the interplay of memory and experience. In the summer of 2024, Hill participated in the SWK program, creating her mural “Come Close To Me” in Mannheim’s Quadrates. In an interview with SWK, she discussed trust in the art scene, the power of abstract art, and the significance of her mural.

“Come Close To Me”, Mural by Georgia Hill for STADT.WAND.Kunst in D4, 15 in Mannheim

SWK: When we invited you to paint a mural for STADT.WAND.KUNST in Mannheim, you were immediately enthusiastic because you had already heard of STADT.WAND.KUNST. How did you learn about us from so far away in Australia?

GEORGIA HILL: Many artists I admire have painted here in Mannheim before. The internet can be really annoying sometimes, and there’s too much information, but it’s also fantastic because it allows us to connect so easily. That’s how you hear about the people who lead projects and organize festivals and museums like STADT.WAND.KUNST. If you do good work, you earn a fantastic reputation. I always have a list of people I’d like to work with, and you were on that list. I probably replied a little too quickly and too enthusiastically (laughs).

SWK: You’re increasingly orienting yourself towards Europe, having spent some time in Paris and already painted murals in Germany. Do you feel that the art scene, and particularly the street art scene, in Europe is different from that in Australia?

GEORGIA HILL: There are definitely differences. I love Australia and the art scene there. We have some incredible street artists and we all support each other. But sometimes it gets a bit too safe, too familiar in Australia. Then the challenge is missing. What I like about Europe is that people really trust the creativity and vision of the artist. If I had to describe what I do, I’d say they are large black-and-white collage artworks about feelings and vulnerability. Some people don’t want that – I can understand that. But that’s why it means even more to me when curators and viewers are supportive and trusting.

SWK: Unlike other artists who usually come to us with a tight schedule, you planned a whole month for Mannheim. That’s why we housed you in our artist apartment at the top of the tower of the Alte Feuerwache. How are you finding it up there – with the view over Mannheim and plenty of time?

GEORGIA HILL: I love getting different perspectives of a place, and you need time for that to happen. On some projects, you’re pretty rushed, you get up in the morning, go to the wall, have dinner, and go to bed – and that’s six days in a row. I’ve traveled a lot, but I haven’t really experienced the places where I’ve been painting. I’ve seen a lot of parking lots (laughs), but I’m sure there were definitely nicer things to see. I thought it was a bit cheeky to suggest that I stay longer. I didn’t want anyone to think they had to hold my hand for a month (laughs). But it just means that I really get a feel for the place. And also for my own art and creativity. I love architecture and textures and the different feelings and reflections you have when you are in different places. Here I have both – studio time and wall painting time. The tower apartment in the Alte Feuerwache is great because I have a desk there. It’s already an absolute mess – there are many new small artworks and collages. I usually never have time for that during a project. So I feel very fulfilled on various levels, because I’m painting on the wall, painting in the apartment, meeting nice people.

SWK: Let’s talk about the small collages you just mentioned. How do you work? What does your creative process look like?

GEORGIA HILL: I take a lot of photos while I travel. I keep a sort of diary. I’m not a writer, but I always listen carefully and collect phrases and words. Sometimes they’re things people say. Sometimes it’s something I’ve even misunderstood. What I love about talking to everyone here is that sometimes even in broken English, something very beautiful comes out because the essence of the message remains. It’s not the correct sentence, but the meaning is very powerful. I really enjoy playing with these words and different textures. I print them out or draw them. Then I physically manipulate them, fold and tear the paper, and then make collages out of them and photograph them again. I play with black-and-white and the intensity of it. So it’s a very hands-on process. It’s a part of my processing of experiences. I used to say I don’t want to make work that’s personal. But I have to stop saying that because it means so much to me. It shows where I am, who I am, who I meet. And other people look at it and feel something too. And that’s what I like about abstract work, that people bring their own.

Find the German version of the interview on the SWK website


Interview conducted by Johanna Hasse / SWK; Photography by Alexander Krziwanie