I was quite happy with my most recent portrait commission, which is a painting of artist, collector and gallerist Neil McLeod. I guess having a potentially controversial subject matter meant the chances of being selected for the Archibald would be fairly slim (mind you, second guessing the selection criteria is somewhat of a crap shot – after all, in a competition that is “supposed” to be about ‘Australians of note’, a portrait of Kid Congo Powers is eligible?!).
My chances were even slimmer given the recent bombings of Christian churches in Sri Lanka. I would like to clarify, that the explosion in the background is meant to represent nuclear testing at Maralinga in the 50’s; I essentially wanted to make an image that questioned the follies of authority, as well as weave in elements of Neil’s life and work.
Happily, however, Lorin and the commissioning team were fantastic to work with, and luckily the project expanded to me illustrating each of the eight episodes in the series.
Compositionally, I took my cues from mural design – graphic bold images layered atop of each other to reflect the layered stories of the audio. Having spent a lot of time over the years in and around Fitzroy (being a ‘North of the River’ gal all of my life), it was great to be given the opportunity to explore a topic and area so familiar to me.
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
‘Whimsy and Woe’, written by Kate McRitchie and published by Harper Collins Australia has bee an interesting project to work on – especially when, because the artwork was going so well, it was decided that hard cover (yes!) was the only way to go. Which sounded great, until I was told it was going to cut into my production time by about a month. So a two month deadline turned into a one month deadline – for 50 detailed pen and ink illustrations! (I decided to go “old school” this time – it was great to get back to the tactility of pen and ink, but with the best of both worlds. Spilt ink bottles (truth!) wearing out pen nibs, but also the ability to scan and make last minute changes if need be. Also good news: this title has turned into a two volume set, so look out for more adventures in 2018!
Release date: 21 August, 2017
So exciting to receive my box of beautiful hardcover books! Whimsy & Woe by Rebecca McRitchie, out soon from Harper Collins Australia.
Last year I was asked to imagine what ‘Future Melbourne’ might look like for ‘The Melbourne Awards’ (run by the City of Melbourne). I came up with a day-glo mix of the past, present and future, interweaving nature and the built environment with the bonus of being lead into the labyrinth by Vali Myers and her fox. Here’s hoping the ghosts of Melbourne never fade…
Hot off the pixel-press! (literally finished this at 2AM this morning :0) Honored to be part of a series of illustrated articles published as part of the ‘All About Women’ festival taking place at the Sydney Opera House : https://medium.com/all-about-women/is-intersectionality-enough-if-the-only-intersections-we-see-are-those-that-affect-women-in-the-6a319534681f#.yol358zej
The latest ‘Illustrators Australia Awards’ have just been announced, and happy to say that my two entries scored a mention – firstly, my cover for Carole Wilkinson’s ‘Shadow Sister’ (Published by Black Dog / Walker Books) received a ‘Silver’ Commendation in the Books / Single category.
My other entry unfortunately is under embargo until October 31, 2015 – even though the artwork has been in the pipeline for 18 months or so! Happy to announce that I was commissioned to provide the artwork for Australia Post’s 2015 ‘Traditional Christmas’ stamps, which received a ‘Highly Commended’ in the Institutional / Series category. Can’t wait to show you the artwork , but until then, all I can show is this:
Many thanks to the judges Anita Kunz, Tim Claeys, Lisa Berryman, Bil Donovan and Peter Viska – The rest of the results can be viewed here.
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 🙂
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.
Merry Christmas Brisbane! Hopefully I’ve added Christmas cheer to your streets this year, after being invited to participate in Brisbane City’s ‘Wonder of Christmas’ campaign. It’s great to see the various applications of the work – I’m almost tempted to get on a plane and come and see it for myself 🙂
Supergraph is on its way to Melbourne again in 2015, gracing the hallowed halls of the Royal Exhibition Building on February 13, 14 + 15. As part of my involvement with Illustrators Australia (who will be holding a stall there) I’ll be joining in by offering an exclusive A4 print for sale. Inspired by a recent trip to Tokyo (my second time this year!) I’ve answered the theme of ‘Natural Selection’ by depicting my visit to ‘Fukoro no Mise’ an Owl Cafe near Tsukishima Station. Touching on themes of misplaced nature, novelty, and the never ending quest for memorable content for one’s next blog post.
Entering the brave new world of ‘Print on Demand’ apparel, I was pleased to see that Redbubble, purveyors of print, now offer what the Europeans refer to as ‘Duvet’ covers, but for reasons of local colloquialism I shall stick to calling it a humble “Doona”. And they’re huge! Here it is in a most impressive ‘King Size’ version:
I’ve entitled this piece “Sid Wiggy dreams in Technicolor”, revisiting an old favourite theme. I had played around with this idea and colours for quite a while – so it’s good to finally have an outlet to bring it out to the big wide world. For the curious, Sid Wiggy is the name of a much loved sloth at Avarios del Caribe, the Sloth rescue centre in Costa Rica at which I had the privilege of volunteering back in 2010. Sid Wiggy was one of the more famous Bradypus sloths, known for his ‘Beatle-esque’ hairdo. So I can only imagine that when he dreams, he dreams in hot pink.
But for those uncertain of succumbing to dreams inhabited by our two and three fingered friends, I’ve also uploaded a range of cushions and tote bags as well. Here’s, hopefully, to the beginning of many new large-scale designs 🙂
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.
As some of you may know, I do a bit of volunteering on the committee for Illustrators Australia. Some great initiatives are taking place, one of which is the new ‘IA Pocket’ App, which is now available for download in the App Store, for iPhone and iPad (sorry, no Android, we’re serious here ;)). The app was launched at the last 9×5 exhibition which happened at the Abbotsford Convent in October.
Hope you kept an eye out for our Avant Card postcard campaign, which features illustrations from Nigel Buchanan, Christopher Nielsen, Andrea Innocent, and myself (my one is above – couldn’t let such a byline pass without at least a passing mention of Mae West :))
Introducing Monsieur le Roi – a painted French Bulldog who will feature in a “celebrity” auction in October in aid of “Dress for Success”, a non profit organisation set up to help women get back on track. These wonderful sculptures were sent out to a variety of artists who were asked to transform them into a French theme – so I went with a Louis XIV theme (and yes, he is meant to look slightly inbred and anaemic). Above is a “Before and After” shot. The Auction will be at Smart Artz in South Melbourne on October 23, with the lovely doggies open for bids two weeks beforehand. Will keep you up to date!
Completed this a while back, so I’m happy to say Cassandra Golds’ next book – Pureheart – is due for imminent release! It’s quite an intriguing, multi layered story, which I hope comes across in the artwork. Thanks again to Marina at Penguin for getting me back on board 🙂 More info here.
After taking a break from entering last year, I’ve created a painting for this year’s Archibald Prize – A portrait of Illustrator / Author Anna Walker. Happily we’ve known each other for years, so I was very happy when she agreed to sit for me. I’ve had this image floating around in my head for over a year now, so it was good to actually have the chance to realise it. And it got me into a bit of costume design / creation as well – I made the lush ‘Red Riding Hood’ cape and managed to persuade poor Anna to wear it one sweltering day last December. After sketching and gathering reference. I got started on the actual painting in January and put the final coat of varnish on the first day of March.The actual size is about 2 metres x 1.1 metres, so again it was great to give myself the opportunity to work so large, though I did wonder half way through if I would actually get to finish it in time. Continue reading “Portrait of Anna Walker – Archibald Prize 2013”→
Happy to say the series of covers that I illustrated for Carole Wilkinson’s Dragonkeeper series (published by Black Dog / Walker Books in Australia in 2012) scored a ‘Gold’ gong in the Illustrators Australia 2013 Awards, Book (series) category!