Greg Straight

– Article originally from The Generosity Journal Issue Four –

The cover of this fourth issue of The Generosity Journal sprung from the mind and talents of Greg Straight, an illustrator, artist and graphic designer who draws his inspiration from the memories of a childhood of skating, drawing and surfing (he still loves to surf), and the landscapes and nature that surround us. Here Greg explains the process behind the cover artwork, and how it ended up turning into a bit of a monster.


My illustrations often start with a rough sketch on paper. I research and find reference photos to draw from. Then I sketch up the different elements I intend to use and try to give them all the same look and feel.

For this cover, the brief was to illustrate what New Zealand would look like in a perfect world, with a focus on the future of generosity, and the place that One Percent Collective and its ethos can play in that future. So I created a landscape scene of this better future, with gardens in schools, lots of trees, no homelessness, amazing community businesses, healthy oceans and rivers.

As it evolved, the cover became a bit of a monster! A kind of crazy world that was a feast for the eyes – far more detailed than I'd first imagined. It reminds me of a wacky Beatles video like Yellow Submarine.

Inspiration is everywhere you look in Aotearoa, from the tui in the trees to the fish swimming in the shallows when you head out for a surf. I try to take it all in like a sponge, and sometimes I can almost hear the click of a camera in my head, capturing a scene that I want to illustrate later on.

I was stoked to be asked to create the artwork for the cover. I love the fact that there are so many amazing people doing so many amazing things in our communities, from cleaning up the coastlines, planting trees, building gardens in schools, helping neonatal babies, supporting the homeless, inspiring our youth and a whole lot more.

I like to help charities and donate art to the Sustainable Coastlines art auction each year. I am a passionate surfer and really care about what is happening to our beaches and waterways. It makes me angry to think of the runoff from dairy farms ruining the rivers and polluting the beaches, killing all the fish and sea creatures. It stinks.

But I love that art can help people and make change. It is a good feeling to know
the images you've created can help people less fortunate than yourself.

Say hello at
Words by Esther McLaren and Images by Tim Wightman.

View original print design below.