At the beginning of the current lockdown in Melbourne I gave myself an assignment: to create an animated artwork reflecting the strange times we’re in – days of walking from room to room, the transition from day to night, the leisurewear…Now that we are on the eve of easement, my deadline has arrived – I share with you the results of my rather ‘experimental’ piece, entitled “There’s a Ghost in my House’ (and I think it’s me)”. I ran out of time for a soundtrack, but hopefully you get the picture 🙂
Here we are, freshly into spring and still in the midst of the second wave of Covid-19 here in Melbourne, Australia. A couple of months back I resurrected an idea I originally had back in March when our lives first changed for the foreseeable future. So I have created a series of themed images based on the age old ‘language of flowers’ and producing them as affordable prints for people to send to loved ones in lieu of their presence (now that contact and travel has been limited somewhat). I anticipate there will be at least five in the series, with a new design unleashed as it is ready, available as A4 archival prints on 310gsm Hahnemuhle German Etching paper.
The first design features Hydrangeas, which are a symbol of thanking others for understanding.
The second design in the series features ‘Bird of Paradise’, which are a symbol of anticipation.
The third design features Asters – a symbol of patience.
The fourth design features the Australian native Waratah – a symbol of remembrance in absence.
Check back for updates or join my newsletter list – prints in the series can be purchased for AUD40.00 each (including postage) here – I’m also happy to include a handwritten note!
Even though I am in Melbourne, I have just completed this artwork whilst breathing the terrible smoke from the bushfires that have plagued the New Year. Most of us feel powerless in the face of such disaster, but I think there is a fundamental change in public sentiment – things cannot go on the way they are, and the government needs to realise that the environment is just as important, if not more so, than economics. If you would like to join ‘the revolution’ I have uploaded this artwork to redbubble – check out the range of products here. All profits to SAVEM – South Australian Veterinary Emergency Management / https://www.savem.org.au/ to hopefully help the koala population on Kangaroo Island after the devastating fires of January 2020.
For those of you in Melbourne – the bi-semi-annual Illustrators Australia 9×5 exhibition is currently on at the Collingwood Gallery in Smith Street until July 26, 2018. There was a great turn out for the opening night last Friday, and a record breaking 120 entries as well! For the first time, works presented were not only “traditional” paint on wood (all of the pieces are presented on 9×5 inch sized pieces of wood, reflecting the Heidelberg School artists of yore who used to paint ‘en plein air’ onto cigar box lids), contributing artists were also able to submit their pieces digitally, to be printed on the wood instead. I was amazed by the quality of the detail and colour – and, yes, that is my piece above: ‘Shout Back’.
Inspired by this new direction in gallery presentation, I wanted to push the medium a little further and decided to experiment with my first piece of ‘augmented reality’ artwork. I really had no idea how to go about this – I knew about the principle, of course, but not about which software or apps would be suitable. After a few dead ends, I came across a group of app developers in Vienna who have developed an app specialising in AR for artists – Artivive . I did a short animation in Photoshop and After Effects to expand on the ideas of the still image (you can download the app for Apple or Android and check out the results by viewing the image above through the app). I was pretty happy with the result!
I was also happy that the piece won ‘Best Digital’ piece on the night. Managed to score a pass to attend ‘Looking Glass’ digital drawing sessions at Jacky Winter, so I’m rapt! Thank you to generous sponsors Procreate (which I already use on my iPad Pro and am keen to learn more about). I’ll let you know how I go!
When I realised that corruptible / gormless politicians (hi Barnaby!) have more of a say than I do on matters of animal welfare, I decided to fight back and defend the defenceless to the best of my ability.
The images and evidence associated with live export in particular are horrifying – surely there are things worth more than “profits” won in such a way?
Admittedly (hopefully) it does seem like the sun is setting on these death ships, but there are still rallies being organised around Australia – with a National Day of Action on June 9, 2018
If you heading out and want something a bit different to texta on cardboard, feel free to download either (or both!) of the above posters by clicking on the image above. The are A2 in size, but could be printed smaller if you like. If you care to accessorise, I’ve also got a few items raring to go in my redbubble shop.
If you appreciate the work that has gone into these posters, please feel free to donate! xx
Technical stuff: The above files and resulting prints are for personal use only and are not permitted to be on-sold, altered, rebranded or uploaded to your own server for re-distribution. All copyright remains with the artist ©Sonia Kretschmar 2018
Very excited to finally receive this in the post – a “sticker” book featuring your favourite Australian animals, all created by your favourite Australian illustrators. Produced in conjunction with the Jacky Winter Group and Thames and Hudson, I got to interpret the iconic emu – in a scene inspired from trips through Woomera and further into Western Australia. I used a combination of collage (cut up newspapers), paint, and digital brushes and textures. More info about this fabulous little book can be found at: http://jackywinter.com/blog/our-latest-book-greetings-from-australia
Finally I’m able to share my 2015 Australia Post stamps with you! I remember back in my design college days, I actually set myself a stamp series as an assignment , and as a kid I subscribed to the Stamp Bulletin and collected first day covers and presentation packs – so in a way it was finally a ‘dream’ come true. There will be a bit of upcoming press coverage as well, so I’ll post any links when they are available.
When I was told that I was pegged to do the traditional Christmas themed stamps, I was a bit wary – not being particularly religious myself – but I do have an appreciation of the importance of the story of the Nativity, particularly at this time when the Middle East is in such strife and there are countless homeless “Marys” giving birth in less than ideal circumstances even today. I think if anything, the story reinforces the idea of the importance of providing a safe haven – and the good to us all that can come from it. When imagining Mary, I wanted her to have an ambiguous skin colour – an attempt to move away from the tradition of depicting pale Europeans lost in the desert – so I boosted the colour palette, creating a scene that evokes the hues of the season whilst keeping the symbolism of the main characters.
I have been asked by a few people about the prevalence of animals in the design… I did want to put the other stable inhabitants on an equal footing with the rest of the story. Given the way most people regard farm animals, especially during the festive season, I wanted to celebrate their beauty and sacrifice at this time of year as well.
Anyway, these are some of my thought processes behind the image – I’m sure, and I hope, that you will view it in your own way too.
I was also featured in an article about Christmas stamps published in the Sydney Morning Herald on 21/11/15
Update: In October 2016, this design won the prestigious San Gabriele Philatelic Art Prize.
As of September 2018, this has been my only stamp commission.All images © Australian Postal Corporation 2015. This material has been reproduced with permission of Australia Post.
We are fast approaching the 19th Illustrators Australia 9×5 show – for those of you who have no idea what that means, where the hot hades have you been?! To get you up to speed, many years ago – I think it was 1995? – the committee of Illustrators Australia decided on creating a unique exhibition, in which members could contribute new, original work on a theme. The main criteria was that the work had to use a 9×5 inch piece of plywood as its base. Fast forward to 2015, and the chosen theme is “Playtime” – and you are all invited to attend the exhibition opening at the Abbotsford Convent on November 13, 6pm onwards. All works will be available for auction with a reserve of AUD$195. For those who can’t make it, you are welcome to make an offer online and IA will bid on your behalf. A preview of the show is available here .
My piece, above, has been inspired by kitten observations and is entitled “It’s all Fun and Games until Someone Loses an Eye”
My work will be featuring in an upcoming group show at Lamington Drive in Collingwood next week (for those of you who don’t know, Lamington Drive is the gallery of everyone’s favourite Illustration Agency ‘Jacky Winter Group’). Every few years they invite artists to create artwork for a ‘Risograph’ – which is a kind of a newfangled / oldfangled copy machine with limited but seemingly crazy colours.
For this show, everyone was limited to two colours. To give you some idea about how these prints are made, here is the artwork I supplied:
The picture on the left will be printed in fluoro pink, whilst the image on the left is destined to be yellow. All in all, you never know quite what to expect – how the colours will mix when overprinted, and indeed if the paper itself will line up properly… happy to say I don’t think it turned out too badly:
This group exhibition will see ’28 of Jacky Winter’s finest’ explore the medium of the A3 2-colour Risograph. All works will be sold in limited editions of 10 for $50.00 each, with all profits during the exhibition going to Oxfam’s International Crisis Fund – supporting the response to humanitarian crises worldwide, by helping those most in need when a natural or a man-made emergency occurs.
Opening night is Wednesday October 14, 6-9pm.
The exhibition runs October 15 – November 7, 2015.
Lamington Drive – 101a Sackville Street Collingwood
Andrea Innocent, Beci Orpin, Bobby Haiqalsyah, Craig & Karl, Eamon Donnelly, Eirian Chapman, Emma Leonard, Gemma O’Brien, Georgia Perry, Guy Shield, He She It They I, James Gulliver Hancock, Karl Kwasny, Kat Chadwick, Kate Banazi, Lachlan Conn, Lilly Piri, Madeleine Stamer, Mel Matthews, Mel Stringer, Neryl Walker, Oslo Davis, Ross Murray, Sean Morris, Sonia Kretschmar, Sophie Blackhall-Cain, Timba Smits, Travis Price
It was a bit strange to walk into the local newsagent this morning to see a pile of papers with my illustration splashed across the cover! I would love to thank Lindy Percival at the Age / Fairfax for trying something a bit different in conjunction with the Australian release of Tim Burton’s ‘Big Eyes’. In keeping with the ‘Keane theme’, it also has been the first time in a long time that I have used no Photoshop for a published artwork… and I also got a bit of editorial coverage as well 🙂
Can’t wait to see the film…
The latest issue of Australian Permaculture Magazine ‘Pip’ is about to wend its way to the eager hands of readers and I’m happy to say I had fun investigating funghi for the cover. In the end we settled for ‘Agaricus Bitorquis’ – a mushroom that resembles a field mushroom but with lovely pink colouring underneath. Pip comes out twice a year.
Find out more at: http://www.pipmagazine.com.au/
Joining the ranks of Sir Quentin Blake, Sir PeterBlake, Sir Paul Smith and Joanna Lumley (!) I too have designed a Gromit.
‘Gromit Unleashed’ was a charity venture launched last year in Bristol, UK, in which dozens of oversized Gromit sculptures (from the Aardman Animation series ‘Wallace and Gromit’, natch). Last week the latest installation was launched in Hong Kong, featuring the work of local and international artists. Unfortunately I didn’t get to paint the Gromit myself, but as you can see from the photos they did a pretty good job.
My design is based on my idiosyncratic take on a Chinese dragon – I’ve long been fascinated with the idea that many buildings in Hong Kong have been designed to accommodate the needs of dragons, so it was a natural choice. The Sculptures will eventually be auctioned off for the benefit of ‘Art in Hospital’, an NGO which helps sick children in Hong Kong.
Illustrators Australia, in association with Red Bubble, are organising a fantastic exhibition of t-shirts designed by IA members from around Australia. “Wear Art Thou” (clever, huh) will be on at No Vacancy Gallery, QV Building, Melbourne from September 3 – 14, with a whizz bang opening planned for Friday September 5.
This is my contribution – inspired by a recent trip to Japan – called ‘Girlzilla’. You’ll be able to order the t-shirts at the opening, apparently, but a sneak preview is here.
The Archibald Prize – that annual portrait competition held by the Art Gallery of NSW to such fanfare – usually calls for entries early in the year. Anticipating this, I started working on piece – a portrait of Melbourne based Theatre Group ‘Born in a Taxi’, way back in the distant days of January. I remember meeting up with them as they were doing rehearsals for an outdoor ‘roaming piano’ performance.
However , this year, to keep us on our toes, it was announced that entries would open in June – this week, in fact. So I had a few extra months to stew over things – how to achieve effects, like using metallics without looking too tacky, or how the curtains should fall. So this is the result – naturally I had waited until the last day to give it the final coat of varnish. I hope it captures a balance of theatricality, absurdity and intrigue (and it looks much better in “real life”, much like a theatre performance does!).
More details about ‘Born in a Taxi’ here.
A reminder for the upcoming Berlin Zebra Poetry Film Festival was enough to prompt me to do something I had never done before – attempt an animation in under two weeks, from concept to completion. Here is the result: the poem “Love in the Age of the E.U” by Bjorn Kuhligk, was one chosen by the festival; I was interesting to conceive of an interpretation through “foreign” eyes, but I think the themes of border protection and secrecy are a universal theme, especially in the current climate of Australia as well.
My interpretation of the poem is set against a backdrop of industrial change, as a Mythical Lioness of the past defends her turf aided by the technology of the present.
The film festival is on in October – whether or not my animation is accepted is yet to be decided, but it was reassuring to know that little projects like this can actually be completed if one has the time to make them. It is also an interesting product of the times – having easy access to references such as the physiology of a lion, or details of baroque inspired towers, or improving my techniques in After Effects or music licensed under Creative Commons (composed by Kevin McLeod / https://www.smartsound.com/royalty-free-music/incompetech/) makes such self-initiated exercises achievable. However, I still do shirk from the idea that all digital content should be considered a ‘free for all’ – but for non-commercial projects such as this they are invaluable.
Happy to say that my film has been accepted into the festival. Small victories!
The annual Illustrators Australia 9×5 auction and exhibition is on again, this year with the theme of “Flourish”, and this is my piece, “Bloomer” (acrylic on wood). Every year IA members get sent a piece of plywood, measuring, as the title suggests, 9 x 5 (inches). The main stipulation is that all work is original and created specifically for the show. The opening night / exhibition is taking place 6pm onwards Friday October 18 @ the St Heliers Street Gallery, Abbotsford Convent, 1 St Heliers St, Abbotsford. All works for sale / auction (reserve AUS$195), and online bidding will be available via the Illustrators Australia website until 4pm that day, for those who cannot make it. (online bidding should be going ‘live’ later today!)