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March 2020

ISSUE | 10 FEATURING PERTH-BASED ARTIST MIKAELA MILLER


© 2020 Bento Magazine All rights reserved. BENTO is a bi-annual online magazine of all things art and design brought to you by Bento Box Design Studio. A collection of innovative and eye-catching visuals in the one place ready to inspire and open your mind to new and exciting things. BENTO prides itself in featuring emerging creatives consisting of local, national & international talent. We understand how important it is to follow your passion and how little opportunities there are for you to get your name out there. Through BENTO, we want to connect aspiring designers together with other like-minded individuals all across the world. Bento Box Design Studio aims to build a wide community involving all facets of art and design. If you are interested in becoming a contributor and submitting a piece for our next issue please follow the steps found at bentoboxstudio.com.au/magazine . We would love to see what else is swimming around in the minds of creatives. If you would like to work with us on any further issues of BENTO we are always looking for opportunities to collaborate. Reproduction of this publication in whole or in part is prohibited in any form or by any means, including photocopying, scanning or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the editor, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other non-commercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, write to the editor, addressed “Attn: BENTO Permission”, to info@bentoboxstudio.com.au The views expressed in BENTO Magazine are those of the respective contributors and are not necessarily shared by the publisher, company or its staff. Design by Bento Box Design Studio Cover artwork by Mikaela Miller


BENTO ISSUE 10


Contents

Contributors

Our Partners Propel Youth Arts WA

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Propel Youth Arts WA is the peak body for youth arts in Western Australia dedicated to creating access and opportunities for young people to engage in the Arts.

Guerrilla Establishment

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Guerrilla Establishment is a hub for all creatives in Perth. With a focus on community growth, Guerrilla provides workshops, networking events, space hire and industry speakers aimed at students, graduates and business owners.

Featured Creative Mikaela Miller A R T I ST | P ER T H, WA Combining her passion for community engagement and love for native flaura (and fauna), Mikaela is making her mark by inspiring others to pay more attention to their surroundings and to value the unique splendour of the natural world.

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Amie Joanne Gallanagh

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Chloe Elizabeth

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Declan Young

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Joanna Hiu

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Kathryn Leviton

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Lynda Howitt

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Madeleine Beech

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Paige Bentley

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Sarah Turquoise

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Talea Pattemore

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Our Partners


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What can Propel do to support young artists? I N S T A G R A M | @ p r o p el yout hart swa F A C E B O O K | @ p r o p e l y out hart swa W E B S I T E | p r o p e l . o r g .au

Propel Youth Arts WA is first and foremost a service organisation for young people aged 12 – 26. They operate in the creative industries and, as such, are connected to many people, organisations and resources to support young creatives in WA. COVID-19 and the impact it is having on our society is a challenge we are all facing, but we do not have to face it alone. Whether you are an individual, a group or emerging organisation, we are here and willing to help you. Here are some specific things Propel can do to support you: Connect You with a Creative Mentor Just because you’re staying indoors and social distancing, doesn't mean your professional development needs to come to a halt. Propel can connect you with a creative mentor within our digital community so that even in times of social distancing you’ll be able to grow, learn and develop skills. Promote Your Digital Events and/or Artwork The WA creative community has already started to think of alternative digital arts delivery, which is amazing. If you’re hosting a digital event like an Instagram Live concert, online E-Zine or FaceTime dance party, let Propel know and they’ll get the word out to the community! The same goes for selling your artwork online.

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P H O T O G R A P H Y | Ta s ha Fa ye (@ ta sha .f a ye )

Provide News and Updates You might be feeling overwhelmed, anxious or confused due to what has been going on around us, and the onslaught of endless COVID-19 media and information doesn't make things any easier. Propel will be making regular updates on their socials, provide an ongoing online list of COVID-19 resources, and send out E-Zines with job opportunities, resources and digestible updates from the Australian Government. Have Open Conversation If you’re confused about what to do during this pandemic, experiencing feelings of anxiety, have any ideas you want to share or just wanting to chat, you can contact the Propel team directly to seek guidance, information and support to help you out. Continue with Drug Aware YCulture Metro Even if we’re stuck at home, it doesn’t mean we stop dreaming of creative projects. Propel have adjusted a few requirements in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, but will be continuing their grant program, Drug Aware YCulture Metro. “We believe we can still take this time positively to think outside of the box, maybe to think digitally?”

Contact details for the core Propel team are as follows, flick them an email if you want a chat!

Jamie McGleave General Manager jamie@propel.org.au

Yoshika Kon Communications Officer yoshika@propel.org.au

Cecile Vuaillat Program Manager cecile@propel.org.au

Zal Kanga-Parabia Advocacy Development Officer zal@propel.org.au

If you don’t know who to email, send your enquiry to Propel’s general account at hello@propel.org.au . Creating and sharing art during this time is not a redundant activity, a plethora of studies show it can help us improve our mood and anxiety, help us process the changes happening around us and it’s also another way that we can connect with each other. We encourage you to keep creating and sharing your art, and if you share it with the Propel team, they will ensure it reaches a larger community of creatives in WA.

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CREATIVE COORDINATOR

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KOBI ARTHUR MORRISON

#KICKSTARTFESTIVAL

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#YOUTHWEEKWA

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#PROPELYOUTHARTSWA


Kobi Arthur Morrison KICKSTART 2020 CREATIVE COORDINATOR I N S T A G R A M | @ k i c k st art f est i val wa F A C E B O O K | @ k i ck st art f est i val wa

We caught up with Kobi Morrison, the Creative Coordinator of this year’s KickstART festival: Koora, Mila, Yeyi, to talk about the perspective behind the theme for 2020 and Kobi’s life endeavours which have led him to this point. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, KickstART Festival 2020 has been cancelled to ensure that the safety of the public and our communities are well placed. However, in the lead up to the cancellation, we had the privilege in speaking to Kobi about what goes into organising such an event, and how music has transpired him to better lives and generate stories for the future. So, Kobi, tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got involved with Propel. I’ve been a long-time musician. I was born and raised in the Perth Arts scene through my mum, who’s been pretty much around there for a long time. Through her, I learnt a lot of how things were done in the world, mainly music-orientated. I have experience in creative festivals through assisting her in festivals she’s created in small council ones and have worked as a consultant for some other festivals. That experience itself has made me qualified and confident enough to take part in KickstART! This is one of the first instances of me expanding my horizons, because most of what I do is part of an Aboriginal reconciliation choir, known as Madjitil Moorna . It’s made up of people who are indigenous and non-indigenous, who come together to share a good, healthy ideology and community environment. Madjitil Moorna was founded by my mum 14 years ago, when I was about 11 years old. Jo Randall, who has been a long-time cornerstone of the choir scene in Perth, had a lot of experience being in choirs, and she approached mum to start an Aboriginal choir. Mum said that it’s going to be a long shot, so why don’t we invite everybody to this choir and promote reconciliation instead. It’s a local collective where all the concepts of a traditional choir are going to be challenged, so while we still retain the label of a choir, it’s not so much a choir as it is a way of life. There’s so many things that have happened as a result of going through the journey of reconciliation. People join and go through their own adventure, and it’s an experience time and time again. We want to be able to hold their hands to help them because for a lot of people, this is the first time they are learning about these aspects of Aboriginal culture.

This has then expanded into a couple other things such as a youth choir called Koondarm and another sister choir called Walyalup Kannajil that’s based in Fremantle, WA. So, with those things, that’s taken up a lot of my life and helped me get into other places, doing solo gigs and other workshops independently. Zal, the Creative Coordinator of KickstART back in 2018, came across my choir, Koondarm , and he hired us to be a part of the festival. Upon watching us and learning about what we do, he decided to take part in the choir, and that’s how we got to know each other! So, under his recommendation he asked me to apply for this role. I’m essentially just a successor to him, and as it stands right now, I’ve been very stoked to be able to learn so much more. There are people I’ve known for a while, and it’s good to be able to get in contact and work with these people under a different context. Why the Arts community? When it comes to the wider parts of the community, I find myself overly sheltered by being in that grouping. I can get by through this grouping. I can live comfortably and be able to make a living with it. That’s why I’m keen on taking part in Propel as a Creative Coordinator. It’s a good way of being able to expand properly and still be able to involve these groups, as well as expand my horizons. I want to be able to embrace as many forms of art or help people embrace as many forms of art possible. There are so many different forms. I want to be able to know a chunk about it, just so I can help in a leadership role and guide people in embracing the Arts. This is definitely a big deal for me. Propel is dedicated to connect and provide opportunities for emerging young artists in WA, how does KickstART support these efforts? KickstART festivals are pretty much nurturing festivals; they are set out to get people involved and find directions for people, from ages 12 - 26. Every year, they select a new Creative Coordinator, and every time they select a new one, they bring their own unique magic to the festival. Being able to see what was brought to the table from the previous festival has been very inspiring. I think the main thing the Creative Coordinator is aware of when they’re on board is that there’s such a large context. What they do is they can add to that context and bring back things that worked in previous years. The notion of being able to have that capacity

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PROPEL YOUTH ARTS WA

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KOBI ARTHUR MORRISON

“Don’t be afraid to pioneer the unconventional.”

in acknowledging where we come from and the previous things that the past Creative Coordinators have brought from their own life. I knew prior to getting this job, that Zal’s The Carers of Everything story in 2018 was very good. Learning about it made me realise I had really big shoes to fill. Having Zal and Maddie has been really helpful. Zal being on board as an advocacy development officer is really exciting, we’ve been chucking ideas around, and he’s been helping these ideas come to fruition. It’s a pretty powerful team, the top priority is the strength of the community. It’s just one of those things I don’t see all that much compared to other artistic groupings. They’re all fantastic and add to society, however some just don’t prioritise community as much as Propel. Community is our top priority here. I really do like being able to support people in their endeavours, that’s where my main passions lie. While I do have artistic things here and there, I think on the most front, I want to be able to help people and help them on their way. I want to be inspired forever and have them inspire me. So, there’s a good chance I won’t be going away any time soon, I’ll be hanging around a little bit. The KickstART Festival is just around the corner, and we are celebrating the 10th anniversary. How did you come up with the theme for this year? What’s the message that you are hoping to get across to these young artists? This year we decided our theme would be Koora, Mila,Yeyi (Past, Future and Present) . It plays a similar role to Maddie’s Nurture the Now in 2019. We are a committee of 30 people this year, and as I mentioned before, I wanted to acknowledge our past, future and present. Being brought up on my mum’s side, there was always acknowledgement to our past and context. I thought it was important to bring about these themes, especially when we’re learning from our history, as it helps set us on the right track for the future. Acknowledging our history is what helps us in acknowledging the future. Just knowing there’s so many different possibilities for different people who are associated with Propel. I want to be able to find a way to acknowledge that each and everyone one of us has dreams. I want to make sure they are being heard. It’s definitely a top priority to make sure people are listened to and that we are ready to help them out with their successes. With these notions in mind, I’ve made a couple of events here and there to get the ball rolling on multiple fronts. We have people who are doing consistent things per week, just taking part in the festival and going “this is what we do on a regular basis” – so take part if you want to. They have the nurturing field that helps them go into something new if they want. Having the community is a very important part in my life, I just think that people would benefit in being a part of that community. Being a part of the Koorlong team, we go into primary schools and teach about Aboriginal cultures through music to the kids who don’t know much about it yet. Providing it through music is a good way to help people come to terms with what’s happened, especially when there’s uncomfortable aspects to Aboriginal history. It helps me gain perspectives on how schools operate and how differently they operate from one another. Once upon a time my preconception was that schools

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all operated under the same guise, but some schools go out of their way to do things differently for some of their students. I have great respect for that. You can tell the difference between schools that just go through the motion and schools that had to disrupt things for the sake of bettering their kids for a good purpose. Going on teacher by teacher basis, being a part of Madjitil Moorna – there are a lot of school teachers that come to be a part of the choir and they vary all so widely. Some that uphold the status quo and others that are disruptive teachers that challenge that status quo. It’s an interesting take, I am essentially fulfilling one thing that I wanted to do which was to be an unconventional teacher. Sometimes being unconventional feels like that unique uncle that comes from out of town and brings a tonne of presents to those kids and has a good time with these kids. It’s refreshing because it takes away a load off from the parents. Using music as a narrative. What ways does expressing your beliefs through music differ to expressing them without music? Is the universality of music a greater platform for you to deliver your message and unite people? It’s like establishing something through any medium really. There are so many mediums that are utilised successfully on particular subjects. Sometimes some things can be elaborated best through the medium of a video game rather than a book, or a tv show rather than a film. A story line can be elaborated on through chapters done up in a form of songs. The stories that I’m telling are fairly diverse and big and are new to some people. So, I find comfort in being able to provide a melody, and I find comfort in hearing particular melodies. Especially melodies that are gentle, because they tend to create an aesthetic, a feel, a vibe. When that is done, you’re able to sing about particular things, and when you sing about these things, people understand that you’re not trying to be angry at anybody, you’re not trying to hurt. You just want this thing to be said, and when it’s said in combination with the right music, it makes things a whole lot easier to cope with and understand. It’s definitely the case when it comes to reconciliation. It helps people to feel and connect together. Being able to just be in the same space together is a huge thing in itself, as some people out there don’t find themselves capable. I think they are capable. But it’s a very difficult thing to establish and muster. It’s about trying to emphasise the fact that I’m not your enemy. I’m not here to push blame onto anybody. I just want to be able to connect. I want to be friends no matter what our differences are. I believe that when you’re wanting to be genuine to another person, sometimes it’s best done through music. There’s so many different forms of variance in music that it’s all encompassing. It says; no matter what kind of person you are in the world, no matter what kind of music you’re into, you still find comfort in that particular kind of music. It’s a way of life, and a lot of my ideologies have been forged through songs. In your opinion, how has the Arts made valuable contributions to our culture and society? We’re very lucky to have the foundation of the Arts to help us out. Some towns and cities don’t have nearly as much support in Australia as a whole. We’ve dedicated a good amount of time, collected money and


infrastructure, because we understand the importance of art. Something as simple as a statue on the middle of the street can generate a sense of imagination, and some people start to wonder. They become inspired.

have enough people who are very supportive of the notion that if I was to suggest something like this, that it could be very much possible to come to fruition.

The cactus – people questioned it. It generated something. It generated a conversation, and whether people liked it or not is another question.

Zal and I are currently working on a project, the working title called ‘The Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Arts Advocacy Network’. We want to make a go-to network for people of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent, just to be able to supply them with all these opportunities that are being put out into the world but not being met because it just doesn’t make it to these people. I decided I wanted to make a go-to place for anybody who’s interested in taking part to be able to take on these opportunities.

We are lucky to have something like Triple J. To be able to have such a strong community that expands across a nation. That’s just a cornerstone of our culture right there, and it’s supported by an industry that tries to be as unbiased as possible. It’s just trying to be a direct reflection of as many aspects of Australian society. The Arts are very much responsible in the sense of bettering our societies in the way of pioneering new technologies. When it comes to science and technology, bringing new things normally require a creative thought. These creative thoughts can be forged through the Arts that the person has experienced. Art has the capability of inspiring people, otherwise we wouldn’t have gotten anywhere. We have the opportunity to have access to so many consistent festivals, it’s great to see the Perth festival operating for a good 70 years or so, and still going strong. It’s a good one to lead the way, and to help all the other festivals such as KickstART to be strong. The consistent celebration of Arts is really exciting and I’m really lucky to be a part of that. On top of that, just being aware that the Arts is a very important part of humanity, and it always varies depending on where you are in the world. How the Arts are treated and welcomed. While there can be instances where I want improvement here and there, it’s never met as much as me being grateful for the Arts. I really want to be able to make a living strictly through the Arts, and I’m lucky to be able to do something like that easily. Do you think there’s a lack of appreciation in Perth for the Arts? My mum and I always compare notes, and mum is always excited to see instances of accessibilities that she didn’t necessarily have a decade ago. It’s a progression kind of thing, but she is definitely grateful for some of the things she has access to that aren’t accessible before her time, you know? It’s definitely a very steady road and I have my apprehensions but being able to gauge the trajectory we are on has been helpful in having that sense of hopefulness for the future. At the very least, I feel even if I came across an aspect of the Arts society that wasn’t palatable or welcoming, then I’d still feel motivated enough to create my own system. I have enough of the community to help, and I

Going back to KickstART, is there anything you are doing differently from the past year? What can we expect to see this year? I’m bringing about a whole lot more Aboriginal culture. There’s a couple of instances where there’s things involving Aboriginal culture but do not require just Aboriginal people to be there. It’s something definitely relevant to the wider society and so I’ve provided a couple of different instances just in case they are instances where people don’t know enough about the Noongar culture. On Monday the 20th of April, we have First Nation’s Day and that’s a day in which there are workshops hosted by Aboriginal people but are for everybody to go to. These workshops include native foods, basics of Noongar language hosted by Sharon Gregory and ‘Dancing in Two Worlds’ with Sean and Zal. I’m excited to show the wider society what I’ve grown up in, and how it can help reconciliation in a way. I think one of my favourite things that I’m doing for this year is opening up dialogue with multiple other festivals to help these festivals nurture this festival and support it as well. We haven’t necessarily collaborated with AGWA (Art Gallery of WA) as much in the previous years, so we’re very lucky to be able to collaborate with them a whole lot more this year. They have an exhibition called ‘Billions of people are wearing T-shirts right now’, and with that exhibition, we’re tying it in with a couple of instances on our end in which we have a screen printing workshop and a few marquees selling shirts. We’re wanting to establish that connection between KickstART and AGWA by reinventing that sense of intimidation that people might feel when being connected to AGWA. I definitely felt a sense of intimation during my time, as I didn’t feel adequate or capable of being a part of it. However, that’s gradually changing and I want to make it easy for people to understand that as well. It’s more of a community vibe now, and we have the capability of not having that much elitism in Perth anymore. P H O T O G R A P H Y | T a sha Fa ye (@ ta sha .f a ye ) BENTO 13


GUERRILLA ESTABLISHMENT PRESENTS

KNACK Exhibition I N S T A G R A M | @ g u e r r i l l a.est F A C E B O O K | @ g u e r r i l la.est W E B S I T E | th e g u e r r i l l ast ory.c om.au

What is KNACK? KNACK is our Artist Showcase; Guerrilla Establishment partners with a local artist and together we develop a mini exhibition. We try to find a new KNACK artist every couple of months and we don’t limit our candidates, anyone can apply to be a KNACK exhibitor, regardless of experience or profession. KNACK is a really fun opportunity for creatives to work on a passion project, our artists are encouraged to develop work that tackle social issues, promote positive change or raise awareness and we structure our exhibition night to double as a social networking event to bring together like-minded individuals and grow the Guerrilla family. How did it come about? KNACK originally came about because we wanted a way to showcase Perth talent. People coming to our workshops were all amazingly talented, but it was hard to find an outlet where they could express themselves. So we thought; we have a studio, there are empty walls, let’s give the community an opportunity to display their work. How does it help creatives? Being a KNACK artist is a fantastic experience; it builds confidence, creates networks and shows off your awesome work! Exhibiting artists have the opportunity to make a body of work around a topic they’re passionate about and showcase it to a group of like-minded people. These people then make new friends in our MINGLE event, they join in on other workshops and they’re part of the Guerrilla family. So KNACK helps creatives, by giving them a space to make friends, make connections and most importantly, have fun! What does it set out to achieve? At the end of the day we hope that our KNACK exhibitors have experienced something new, had a lot of fun and put on an awesome show. We hope that everyone who sees their work enjoys it, maybe feels a bit inspired and are persuaded to engage more with the community. Most of all, we hope that strong connections can be forged between creatives in the community, and that Guerrilla Establishment can be the reason for these friendships.

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TITLE | The Chaos


GUERRILLA ESTABLISHMENT

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KNACK EXHIBITOR

Hien Le

ILLUSTRATOR | PERTH, WA AGE | 27

I N S T A G R A M | @h i enl eart

E X H I B I T I O N N A M E | Gr adu ati n g i n CH AO S E X H I B I T I O N D A T E | To be confirmed

T O O L S | F i n e l i n e r , A d ob e I l l ust rat or

S O C I A L T O P I C | Gr adu ates tr an si ti on to th e w or k i n g w o rl d

Please share some advice or tips with our readers who are also aspiring creatives. My one advice is to be curious to try. Curiosity allowed me to take action with an intention and with enthusiasm. This has opened new opportunities and perspectives in my life. Tell us about your KNACK Exhibition. What is your exhibition about and what can guests expect to see/experience? My Art exhibition is about the transition from student life to full-time working life expressed through illustrations. I share my experiences, struggles, challenges, learnings and tips on working in the industry. Guests can expect to meet new people at the exhibition, whilst browsing through some inspirational content and devour the greatest cheese platter! What inspired you to get involved with KNACK? I was inspired by Guerrilla Establishment’s enthusiasm to support emerging creatives. I went to one of their KNACK exhibitions and really had a great time mingling with like-minded people. I felt like I belonged at Guerrilla Establishment and that’s when I decided to get involved with KNACK to showcase my passion for art and creativity. Is this your first solo exhibition? Have you been a part of any other exhibitions, or similar showcase-type events? Please tell us more! This is my first solo art exhibition. I have been in other art exhibitions in the past alongside other artists, such as UN Young Professional Art exhibition and 2019 South Perth Emerging Artist. Tell us about where it all began and how you discovered your creative talents. Do you find your two worlds of Interior Design and Art overlapping into your creative pieces? Very good question… It all started when I was a kid watching my oldest brother draw Dragon Ball Z and Pokémon. I thought he was amazing at drawing and I wanted to be as good as him! That’s how my love for art began. My interior design and art skills positively do overlap. It allows me to think outside of the box and be realistic at the same time. I would say my artistic side is more dominant when making decisions.

We understand that your exhibition will be addressing the topic of mental health. Can you share with our readers how this affects you and why it is important to raise awareness? Mental health is a topic that is close to my heart. I’ve struggled with my mental health for a long time, battling with extreme anxiety which led me to harm my body. Although I am still fighting through to this day, I am now more self-aware of my thoughts and emotions to the point where I can face any challenges in life. As like any normal teenager growing up, I thought I knew what I was doing, but my inner self was screaming for help; looking outwards for validation and happiness to satisfy the feelings I had inside. I had these insecurities because I didn’t know any better – and we get taught from those that don’t know any better themselves. I compared, judged, and always wanted to look and be a certain way so I could achieve some sort of validation. This led me to abuse my body with unhealthy eating habits; I began to binge eat and starve myself. I was stressed all the time, dealt with extreme anxiety and felt a sense of emptiness in my life. It was a vicious cycle that eventually took a toll on my mental health. At 19, I was diagnosed with an immune disorder called lupus. Although we don’t know exactly what causes lupus, it may be a combination of many underlying factors with one contributor being your overall health and well-being. I believe it was because I was in a negative state both mentally and physically that my body had to shut itself down. This is when life hit me hard. I went on steroid medicine to help with my condition – I didn’t feel great and I didn’t know what was happening. I felt vulnerable and alone. Despite all the struggles, I managed to find myself with the help of my mum. She persisted in helping me get back on my feet, work towards a healthier lifestyle and pushed me to be with friends that supported me during my darkest time. I had a purpose to change for myself and look after the well-being of the people who supported me when I didn’t have the strength to move forward. I started to learn about my symptoms and from there, I learnt to adopt a healthy lifestyle. The next five years, I worked on myself and

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GUERRILLA ESTABLISHMENT

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KNACK EXHIBITOR

“ I wa nt e d to be come a ce rta in ki n d of wo ma n, a nd I be ca me t h at k i nd of woma n. ” Diane von Fürstenberg

I came through – stronger and better than I ever was. I stopped taking medicine and my lupus has subsided. From then on, I was eager to inspire and encourage young adults. I wanted to share my journey and let them know that they are not alone. There are people out there going through similar challenges. By talking with someone or expressing your challenges through things that you enjoy, it will make the struggle less unbearable. I wouldn’t have overcome those challenges without the support of my family and friends. I learnt to love myself, and had faith that I’ll get better. Who and/or what influences your work and why? My work is heavily influenced by my struggles and experiences after university; the responsibility to find a job, being an adult, sustaining a full-time job and working with different personality types. This inspired me to share my experience because I know this can benefit a lot of young adults going into the work field or already are working and feeling this way. Have you ever been commissioned to do any strange/unusual art pieces? Tell us what the commissioned piece was and where it can be viewed. No, I haven’t, but I would love to in the future. I think it would be fun to do something out of the ordinary. What is your favourite commissioned project so far and why? My favourite commission project was for a children’s playroom. The brief involved painting characters from nursery rhythm on the walls. It brought back memories of when I was a kid, where I would see these characters in books and all around my primary school classes. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would be your ideal spot to paint and why? My ideal place to paint and draw would be in Europe, starting in Paris and ending my trip in Finland.

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What makes your creative pieces instantly recognisable and shout Hien Le? You can recognise my artwork instantly for its unique quality. The overall look is soft, simple, elegant and has a feminine touch to it, sometimes with a combination of female figures. I utilise various colour palettes paired with soft linear work. These elements together express the hidden emotions I am trying to portray. If you could spend a day with any renowned artist, past or present, who would it be and why? I would love to spend the day with Michelangelo because he is a phenomenon in all areas of the Arts. The details and preciseness of his work are out of this world! He created real-life looking sculptures out of marble with the tools he had during his time. He also mathematically painted incredible heaven images on arching ceilings. I want to learn everything he knows to produce realistic work! Two things that are unique about Hien Le: • I’m persistent and patient • Enjoys bettering myself DESCRIPTION // The Chaos explores one area of my life relating to the Self and how I felt after graduating from university. Many thoughts were running through my head as I was looking for work; What do I want to do? What do I need to do? What if I don’t find a job? What would my family say if I start an art business? How do I start an art business? So many thoughts, it was paralysing and this illustration vividly depicts my mental state during that time.


Featured Creative


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PHOTOGRAPHY

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BILLY-RAY STOKES

(@ b .r a ystok e s)


Mikaela Miller ARTIST | PERTH, WA AGE | 24

I N S T A G R A M | @m i k mi l l er_ F A C E B O O K | @m i kael ami l l erc reat i ve W E B S I T E | m i k a e l a mi l l er.c om

Tell us about where it all began and how you discovered your creative talents. What piqued your interest in creative public art pieces? I’ve always been a maker – even from a small child. I was in a GATE specialist art program in High School and had wonderful resources, and learning/mentoring opportunities through this program. I then studied Graphic Design at Curtin University, but used my electives to explore fine art, textiles, photography and other more traditional mediums. During my tertiary studies here I volunteered at several public art festivals and arts events through Form and Artist Open House, and other similar types of events. I mostly did this out of curiosity, and to build networks and experience in the local arts industry. Not necessarily because public art was on my radar career wise. In hindsight this was great to have the insight into the behind the scenes workings and logistics of public and community arts events and projects. After working as a freelance/sub-contracting designer for about 6 months, I was told about a mural festival opportunity in the Southwest of WA through a family member who had contacts with the community members organising the event. I was told to send my resume & portfolio if I was interested, so I did (with zero expectations). Soon after, I received an email with a photo of the wall I had been allocated!! Then I had to figure out how to paint a mural! I liaised closely with the business owners whose wall I was painting, the artist organising the event (who had experience painting murals) and did the best I could. I had help prepping the wall from my family contact, and I asked lots of questions from paint suppliers and hardware stores about technical things. It all went really well! The community response to my mural was amazing and the experience of working alongside other artists during the same install period, of getting to know the town in that unique way, and of having those intimate, immediate interactions with the community was incredibly fulfilling. I also loved the experience of painting at that scale. It was unlike anything I had done before. Liberating and challenging at the same time. So from there I was addicted and started looking for more opportunities to paint on walls. I continued to build on my portfolio while upskilling wherever I could. I did some workshops hosted by Artsource and privately by other artists –

to learn more about public art projects and tendering processes. I always asked for feedback when I sent in applications, regardless of whether they were successful or not. After a bit over a year building up my portfolio and working with the community, I decided to do postgraduate studies in community development, and this has informed a lot of my work since. Who and/or what influences your work and why? As most people, I do have a variety of artists I love who work either with the same subjects and themes or in the same fields/mediums. If I were to list a few off the top of my head, I’d probably say Philippa Nikulinsky, Margaret Preston, Lilli Arnold, Ellen Von Wiegand, Edith Rewa Barrett, Kyle Hughes Odgers, Chris Nixon or Andrew Frazer. However, I don’t feel like they have a huge influence on the work I create, more just my aspirations and work ethic? They inspire me to work towards a level of professionalism that I am yet to reach. The work I produce I feel is more influenced by my interests, surroundings and the mediums themselves. For example, my first love was printmaking. I started out creating illustrations for screen print that were clean and graphical to suit the process, but the illustrations were still flowing, organic and dynamic because I was quite interested in Art Nouveau at the time. Now that I draw and paint for murals, the process and visual style I have developed heavily mimics that of my printmaking. Still quite illustrative and graphical, but with the same organic subjects and the process of application is done in similar layers. I paint solid blocks of colour before I do a final layer of black flowing linework over the whole lot to add detail and depth, and tie it all together. Now that I’m starting to make more studio work, I find my printmaking and painting is heavily influenced by the style and process I have developed by working on murals for over 3 years straight. I’m interested in spending the next couple of years evolving my studio work and adding some new elements and hopefully upping the sophistication a little, and then feeding that back into my public art. It will be quite exciting to see how my work evolves as I bounce back and forth between those two sides of my practice. BENTO 23


ARTIST

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MIKAELA MILLER

“One day you’ll only regret the things you didn’t do, rarely will you regret the things you did. This has motivated me to be the kind of person who says yes, will jump in the deep end and give anything a red hot crack.”

As for the themes and subject matter, I’m forever inspired by place and the natural environment. I’m always feeding in subtle ideas about the current state of affairs in the world, conveying my feelings and opinions towards things. Sometimes that’s a simple reminder to ‘stop and smell the gumleaves’, to pay attention to and connect with our surroundings. Sometimes that is facilitating youth perspectives on our social, political and environmental future. So it can be really simple or really robust, but often, it’s aligning with my core values on life and the world one way or another. We can see a strong use of native flora and fauna in your art pieces. Can you share with our readers what it is about the natural world that you admire so much. It has taken me a few years to realise this, but I believe my obsession with flowers originates in my childhood. My grandparents had the most surreal garden to the point where it became a local landmark. There would be an assortment of flowers blooming year ‘round and strangers would comment as they passed by, or leave notes in the letterbox expressing their gratitude. Most sentiments were along the lines of how the garden had brightened their day, brought them joy, lifted their spirits after visiting relatives in the nearby nursing home, or had become a regular detour just because they liked to see the colours and attention that went into the garden. My Pop would also create flower arrangements and enter them into local shows or give them as gifts to family members. He had a wall full of ribbons and prizes, and I enjoyed watching him as he worked on these arrangements. Mother’s day was always a treat for everyone, and Nanna would get a bunch of flowers every time one of their children had a birthday. I think growing up surrounded by that life and colour has left me with a continual fascianation about the impact of ‘the floral’ on community interaction and human emotions. Flowers were solidified in my mind as something that could identify place and was tied to compassion, generosity, connection and celebration. As I’ve gotten older I think this interest has combined with my interests in environmental conservation, community, identity and place. There is so much variety in our native flora and it can be so hyper-localised. I enjoy investigating how our flora can relate to people, memories, emotions and also identify a place. I also enjoy the challenge of creating the unusual shapes and complexity of our flora. Take us through your creative process. How do you complete your art pieces from start to finish? It can be very different for public art projects, as opposed to studio works. For a public art project it usually starts with a client, or a brief or a

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tender application. That often looks like lots of emails, messages, resume polishing, portfolio re-arranging, proposal writing and trying to structure an accurate budget around loose parameters and lots of unknown factors. I then do a bit of research into the location, business, town, type of wall surface, paint types and prices, calculate surface areas, call hire companies to ask questions about access equipment, write responses to questions or selection criteria, or attend meetings. Once the job is locked in (and I’ve sorted out a bunch of other boring stuff like invoices, contracts, payment plans, etc.), I usually would start researching the subject matter and themes. Sometimes this invovles doing my own primary research – going out to the location and collecting stuff, taking photos, measurements, notes, sketches, talking to people, or researching online. Because I am so interested in native flora, I will often spend a while scouring through Florabase, library books or my own collection of native flora ID books. I do this to start making sense of what can be found there, what might hold some significance or meaning or relevance, and to identify what I may have even seen for myself. Sometimes however, I don’t do ‘research’ on my own. There are more and more projects where I’m commissioned to engage the community in the design development process, which means that sometimes my research is facilitating others’ ideas. I’ll often structure workshops around a theme or idea in a way that will allow the community to provide some of the visual content through which that idea or theme is expressed. Their interpretations of the theme become the core of my research. After researching, I’ll usually start drawing on photo copy paper, scraps or in sketchbooks and more often than not, I’ll draw elements individually. I often draw with markers, like Fine Micron Markers or Posca Paint Markers, and only in black and white. I try to keep my drawings organic and loose where possible, and definitely representative with enough accuracy for people, or flora/fauna species to be identifiable, but also with an element of illustrative whimsy. I think I’d probably become a nervous wreck if I were to fanatical about super realistic details. Then the drawings are scanned or photographed into Photoshop or Illustrator to be coloured, edited and manipulated into a composition, which I will often mock up to scale or over an image of the location. I would then present that to the client, and if everything is approved, it’s time to buy paint and start prepping. The mural gets sketched up first, which can be freehand with a grid or a projector depending on the time, resources or location. I then paint all the colour in first, finish with all the linework and detail, sign it and try to get some good photos! For studio works, it’s less structured. I would probably spend a bunch of months mulling over an idea in my head;


P H O T O G R A P H Y | B illy- Ra y S tok e s (@ b .r a ystok e s)

Golden, Kalgoorlie Heartwalk 2018

leaving a bunch of rough plans, sketches and brainstorms in assorted notebooks and sketchbooks, shopping lists or envelopes. I then start experimenting on a small scale to see if I can get what I envisage to work, pushing the boundaries more in terms of scale or details. Studio works are so varied and experimental, I can sometimes work in quite different mediums so it’s harder to pin down an exact process for that. Have you ever been commissioned to do any strange/unusual art pieces? Tell us what the commissioned piece was and where it can be viewed. There are things over the years that I’ve painted but probably shouldn’t have, like a cow in a butcher shop! Just because I don’t think the stories behind them were really meaningful enough to me or my practice (plus the irony in that one is pretty cringeworthy). But I learnt other things from those jobs, and if anything they have helped me to clarify what I do and don’t want to paint. The stories that do and don’t align with my interests and values. So that has helped me steer clear of anything too strange. Although if we’re talking ‘unusual’, I guess Gwenda the Quenda is pretty funny. She was one of three murals I painted at the Murdoch University Guild Tavern, and I’m pretty sure they suggested something about a quenda drinking a beer, not super seriously, but I must have just ran with it. It’s a bit of a laugh anyway, but she’s super cute and you’ll still find her behind the bar. What is your favourite commissioned project so far and why? I think my favourite piece is Golden , the goldfields floral bouquet mural I did in Kalgoorlie for Heartwalk. It features iconic, valuable, endangered or recently discovered species from the goldfields. It’s still my favourite, both because it was a relatively open brief that I could have complete creative control over, and because the overall experience of painting at the Heartwalk festival was incredibly memorable. I met a lot of other wonderful artists, and got to paint down the road from some that I had admired for a long time. Plus I felt like I was able to get to know the local community really well over the week. It was such a wonderful community project, there was a lot of hype and media coverage, and the vibe in the town was just electric. I was really proud of what I created, it was a great ‘leg-up’ project that triggered a lot more work on bigger walls with more relevant briefs that interested me. I also made some lasting connections with other creative people that I’m still in touch with today.

theme and the bold graphic style that is heavily line-work dependent. I think if I were to pinpoint a single thing, it would be the way I use lines. I like a lot of sensitivity and variation in line weight and consistency, and I often manipulate this to give the illusion of depth or texture. What has been the most challenging large scale project to this date? Please share with readers why it was challenging, how you overcame this challenge and where readers can view this artwork. Every project is a huge challenge in its own way because each job is so bespoke. There’s always a lot of feeling your way through and crazy problem solving because there’s no magic formula that suits every wall, client or budget. I’m constantly walking on unchartered territory. In terms of creating artwork though, I think the piece I created at Merredin College was one of the hardest to build a cohesive composition. There were just so many different elements they wanted to include; text, school colours, school emblems and some of the children’s work. This was tricky especially because the students had already created their artwork before I jumped onto the project. I was sent a bunch of kid’s work and a checklist of other things that needed to be included, and I had to somehow bring them all together in a way that made some visual sense. I reworked and reworked it for as long as I had time and in the end, I had to be quite brutally selective with which elements I took from the children’s work, sampling two feature subjects from two different pieces, and two background elements from another two. There would have just been too much to fit in otherwise. I was also trying to balance the level of detail in the artwork because I was also painting it with the students. I ended up basing my decision on which parts of their work I would use on the relevance their subject matter had to Merredin, rather than which student had made the ‘best’ piece technically. I think the final result wasn’t too bad, all things considered, but it’s not my favourite. I also wouldn’t normally sample from just three or four people’s work when I’m incorporating community ideas. I prefer to be in control of those preliminary workshops so I can structure them in a way that will allow me to use ideas from as much of the community group as possible, or at least get to know the participants ideas as a collective. The artwork is called GROW and is in one of the quadrangles at Merredin College in Merredin.

What makes your creative pieces instantly recognisable and shout Mikaela Miller? To be honest, I kind of hope that is something that will be always evolving. At the moment it’s definitely a combo of subject matter, sensitivity of

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PHOTOGRAPHY

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CAROLYN JONES (@ riv e rla ne _ s tud io)


ARTIST

Is there an issue or topic that we should all be addressing, creating awareness around or bringing light to? Why do you think it is important to start a conversation around these issues/topics? Sustainability is a big one for me. I can be quite vocal about it sometimes. I really care about conservation of species and landscapes, and I think we need to be preserving ecosystems, habitats and natural resources. I also worry a lot about climate change and how that will shape our future. However, sustainability isn’t just about saving the bees and the trees, sustainability genuinely means the ability to sustain – to sustain ourselves, our families, our livelihoods and our lifestyles as much as it is about sustaining all life. There are SO many layers to that, and so many systemic considerations that I even struggle to comprehend myself at times. Ultimately though, I think humans as a race need to drop our god complex a little bit and realise the universe doesn’t just revolve around us. We’re only one (very irritating, noisy) cog in a much bigger, more complex machine. We need to re-evaluate our energy, our food production, our lifestyles, work-life balance, communities, living arrangements, our ideas about wealth, our consumption & production, but most importantly our priorities. I just don’t see us being able to sustain ourselves, socially, mentally, economically or environmentally otherwise. The times we live in are already becoming more uncertain than ever before and I think we need to shift focus towards resilience, regeneration and fulfillment, rather than “just” growth, wealth and consumption. I think we need to talk about these things to create awareness and mindfulness around them, and hopefully inspire some action. I think the system fuels the system, and if we don’t have some way for these ideas to stop us in our tracks, it’s far too easy for so many of us to get caught up in the bustle of it all – and never actually look inwards, or back to where we’ve come from to actually reflect on whether this is really what we want to be doing with ourselves, our lives or our future. Do you incorporate any of these issues or topics into your creative pieces? If you answered no, could we expect to see this in the nearby future? Very subtly. It’s so incredibly complex, I don’t think I could ever express all of it in all the work I’ll ever make, or at least not well. But I definitely like to tap into the idea that we should stop, be mindful, reflect, connect on a simpler level and be more aware of (and perhaps grateful for) our surroundings. I like to think that the subject matter I use in my work encourages people to notice things they may not otherwise, or to feel some connection or compassion to each other as much as towards the natural world. To reignite some child-like curiosities that remind us of what is really important and I hope that provides at least some people with the occasional opportunity to ground their values and priorities a little more. If your artwork could exist anywhere in the world, where would you love to see a mural painted by Miakela Miller? (eg. on the side of an apartment building in France) To be honest, anywhere outside Australia. Painting internationally is definitely on the bucket list and kind of something on my radar for the next few years hopefully. If I had to pick one specific location, I’d love to go back to South Africa because I think I’d enjoy exploring the differences and similarities in their flora to that at home. The landscapes there can sometimes be weirdly familiar so I think it would be a great exploration process. If you could spend a day with any renowned artist, past or present, who would it be and why? I think I’d be torn between someone like Claire Foxton who is a badass public artist from over east. I’d love to pick her brains on scaling up, working at the insane pace that she does, attempting realism and developing that extra layer of sophistication that can sometimes be hard to achieve in a mural with a hard budget and deadline. I’ve also listened to some of her podcast interviews and we’ve messaged each other on instagram briefly a few times, and I think we’d find each other relatively relatable.

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MIKAELA MILLER

But then, I’d also love to say someone like Philippa Nikulinsky who is a really successful studio artist. I’d love to see what a day in her life and practice is like, and to pick her brains about the crazy world of publishing and exhibiting. Perhaps talk about that weird stigma in the fine art world that can sometimes make it hard for artists who ‘just depict nature’ to be taken seriously, when there’s such a heavy skew toward the conceptual and socio-political in the current landscape of “successful” contemporary art. If you could collaborate on a creative piece with any artist, past or present, who would it be and why? What kind of collaborative piece do you think you will create together? I don’t know a specific artist, but I would love to collaborate with an amazing animator or special effects person to make an interactive mural/ projection installation. On the occasions where I have used a projector, I have had some really great responses from the public at just the projection of my artwork. I think it would be amazing to incorporate that extra sensory layer to the experience of a mural to make it responsive or ephemeral in some way. What makes you scream “YES! I must have this as part of my Artisan mug collection”? Hahaha, uumm usually neutral or warm earthy tones. I’m definitely an orange/red/brown kind of girl on most days (although the occasional complimentary colour doesn’t go astray). I like unusual shapes and a good weight in the hand. Something with a lot of character, which can be retro patterns or textured glazes, or maybe a really subtle detail or finish that’s especially thoughtful or unique. More often than not, it’s off an op-shop shelf or straight out of the hands of a local ceramicist. Please share some advice or tips with our readers who are also aspiring creatives. 1. Only ever compare yourself to yourself and your own aspirations. Everyone is on their own journey at their own pace so comparing your work to others (especially those at a different stage of their practice/career) is very easy to do, but won’t help anyone. As long as you’re content in your own progress you’re likely to stay on that healthy trajectory. 2.

Work hard, focus your efforts on your aspirations, avoid giving in to the doubts, but stay flexible and open minded to new paths and opportunities that come up organically through your journey.

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Say yes to as many opportunities as you can when you’re starting out, but stay mindful. Be prepared to have to become selective once you have lots of work coming in and always keep that in the front of your mind. I think say yes when in doubt, but trust your gut instincts if there’s a job/commission/brief/budget that really doesn’t feel right, be prepared to say no in those cases. There’s a balance to be found in creating a cohesive, meaningful practice for yourself, and having enough work to keep you moving. This will be something you’ll have to constantly re-evaluate, so be prepared to shift your priorities as needed but remember there’s no one size fits all or “correct” answers so reflect on your own circumstances and be confident in your own evolving path.

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Work with others! Creative careers can be so heavily undertaken solo, but it’s important to build networks and friendships that can support you when you need it. Find peers and mentors you can turn to for advice or inspiration, and try to be an active member in your industry’s community. Build relationships with other creatives that may make for great collaborations or even symbiotic skill sets. It can be very handy to be friends with a photographer!

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ARTIST

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MIKAELA MILLER

P H O T O G R A P H Y | B illy- Ra y S tok e s (@ b .r a ystok e s)

Golden T O O L S | W a t e r -b a s e d exte rio r hous e p a int, brus he s a nd rol l er s

To be golden, by definition, is to possess gold-like qualities; be that the colour, brightness, lustre or immense value of gold. This piece explores beauty and value, reflecting on the precious metal that Kalgoorlie is famous for, but I hope it also reminds us of the great value in the many naturally occurring wonders that the goldfields have to offer; both precious metals, and native flora alike. The flourishing bouquet includes a selection of wildflowers found in the region that are all either iconic to the area, classified as rare or endangered, recently discovered, or considered to be valuable natural resources. It is these unique qualities, along with their delicate beauty and striking colours that I believe makes these flowers precious, worth celebrating, and truly ‘golden’.

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The wildflowers I selected are: Sandalwood (santalum spicatum), Honeysuckle Grevillea (grevillea juncifolia), Jam Tree (acacia acuminata), Goodenia salina , a rare and threatened flower sighted for one of the first times near Kalgoorlie in 2017, Pearl Bluebush (maireana sedifolia), and Charlie's Gold (tetratheca spenceri), a new species discovered in 2012. These are all native to the goldfields and I chose them all for their unique value and stunning colours, as it was the colours of the landscape that struck me when I first visited Kalgoorlie. This piece was created for Kalgoorlie Heartwalk 2018. Can this be viewed in person? Yes! On the side of Goldfields Revitalise on MacDonald Street in Kalgoorlie, WA.


A Portrait of Pally II T O O L S | W a t e r -b a se d e xte rio r hous e p a int, brus he s a n d r ol l er s

Have you ever or do you remember creating patterns in the sand or garden with honkey nuts, leaves, sticks, or even shells at the beach? Ephemeral childhood artworks created through investigation and perhaps a need to give mindless activity to your fingers. Think about how much you learnt about those small random objects, and how familiar they become. Did you ever recognise or remember a place based on the nuts and things you once found and played with there? That is what has inspired A Portrait of Pally II and its predecessor, A Portrait of Pally . This lengthy piece showcases the little natural details of the neighbourhood of Palmyra, in an intimate investigation of familiarity and place. All these little bits and pieces can be found on the ground, in the park, growing in your garden, along the footpath, at your school, in the nature strips and just in little those unexpected pockets that usually go unnoticed. They are the textures, colours and shapes that become familiar simply through seeing them day to day, even subconsciously. They can help identify a place as home, or in reference to an experience or time in your memory, which is why we respond to them instinctively and emotionally. A great reason to give them the limelight by scaling up and celebrating them in paint! The composition was inspired by collage and mono print artworks made by the community using these very materials collected from the area. The mural was also painted with the help of the local community. Can this be viewed in person? Yes! On the corner of Cleopatra and Adrian Streets in Palmyra, WA.

P H O T O G R A P H Y | Carol yn J ones ( @ri verl ane_st ud i o)

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Contributors


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Amie Joanne Gallanagh ARTIST | PERTH, WA A G E | 21

I N S T A G R A M | @a.g al l anag h2 8 T O O L S | P a i n t b r u sh es, ac ryl i c p ai nt , my hand s, sp ray pa int, pa int s e a le r s pra y

DESCRIPTION // This was a piece I created in a time in which I was most confused about life. I think as a general rule, humans will always be confused or lost to some degree at some point in their lives. But this was a completely chaotic time for myself. I had just come out of a very deep and dark mental health battle that had lasted 6 years, causing me to be in and out of rehab. My life hasn’t been easy but my journey is deeply reflected in my art. This piece represents the light I once had as a child, that bleeds through the darkness into every aspect of my life. I am now regaining my fire, reigniting the need to grow and create my way through some of the biggest struggles I’ve ever dealt with. How would you describe your style? I don’t believe art should be placed in a box. Isn’t it the whole point to be completely out of the box? Many different types of art depict various things and this, I understand, but art means something completely different to everyone. If I were to give it a vague explanation, it would be neo-expressionism. It’s rough, raw, bright, messy and real, as life is all five. Briefly outline your creative process. What are the major steps? My creative process is rather free flowing, almost like a dance as I sway from one painting to another, and it’s based purely on emotions. A major step in creating would be to acknowledge past and present artists. If I am to create, I must first appreciate those before me who have put blood, sweat and tears into their craft. Aside from that, it’s mostly a subconscious process.

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Who and/or what influences your work and why? To name a few, Jean Michel Basquiat, Cy Twombly, Picasso, Margaret Killgallen, Francis Bacon and Edvard Munch are massive inspirations to me. They have such distinct styles and purposeful brush strokes. They all worked extremely hard to get to where they were, and they dedicated their lives to art, which as a teen, I could only dream of. Some places I’ve travelled to that inspire me the most are Cuba and Colombia. Their societies are so vibrant and full of life. No matter where you look, the buildings are bright and filled with every colour of the rainbow. Another big inspiration for me is the way they live their lives. They are completely free and everyone seems to share a like-minded goal, which is to live the most fruitful life. Last but not least, I also draw inspiration from old books, cartoons, and old magazines, sometimes even on public transport when going about my day to day life. What type of flower would you be and why? I would be a Sunflower. They are beautiful flowers that thrive in the light. They are at one with the universe and live peacefully, leaving nothing but colours and joy in their path. If you could turn any animal into a pocket-sized pet, what would it be and why? None. I’ve been an animal activist since I was a child and to this day, I firmly believe every animal should be left to its own devices, left to live as the universe intended it to (not put them in purses, zoo’s, a prize for our wall or a coat for winter).


TITLE | Life’s Confusing


Chloe Elizabeth ILLUSTRATOR | MELBOURNE, VIC A G E | 24

I N S T A G R A M | @ch l o eeeel i z ab et h W E B S I T E | ch l o e - e l i z a b et h.c om T O O L S | A d o be I l l u str at or

DESCRIPTION // This Is My Realm is a series inspired by my own objective, which is to disturb the mind within a fantastical, pristine world by bringing mythological tales to life in a sinister way. Highlighting that no matter how many turns it may take in a fairytale to make your way to the castle, it’s your own responsibility to get on your way as no one else is going to do that for you – grab that crown. Life itself is a story and although it’s daunting to be taking control of our own lives, it is quite a powerful thing – lots of responsibility, yet it’s important to remind ourselves This Is My Realm and you control it. How would you describe your style? Inspired by popular culture, I use bright colour palettes and focus on line work to soften the harsh concepts that I am inspired by. I enjoy adding a contemporary perspective to classic beliefs, with the use of a dark theatre-like aesthetic. Briefly outline your creative process. What are the major steps? As a photographer, I generally look through my archives of photos. For the creation of concepts, I create a lot of moodboards (one moodboard can go a long way!). I don’t know how I survived before Procreate. It is such a time saver for quick sketches when I’m unsure of where my concept is heading! Adobe Illustrator is the major step in my creative process.

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Who and/or what influences your work and why? Aesthetically, Tim Burton forever and always! I also like to keep on trend for clients and focus a lot on popular culture; fashion, interior, movies and TV shows on Netflix, events, etc. My personal style is also a big reflection on my work.

TITLE | This Is My Realm

Are you a part of any creative groups that you would recommend everyone to join? I love Molly Jacques (@mollyjacques), a freelance artist who educates the masses on how to freelance, and turn your skills into a profit. In her emails, she helps with what to do and what not to do, from talking with clients, to gaining confidence, and setting prices. What type of flower would you be and why? I would definitely be the flower of a cacti; you don’t know what to expect and before you get the chance to appreciate me, I’ve already decided that I’m ready to go home. If you could turn any animal into a pocket-sized pet, what would it be and why? My baby boy Benjamin, who is a four legged cavoodle. I’d love to be able to sneak him everywhere I go. It’s so unfair that I can’t take my soulmate shopping.

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Declan Young DESIGNER | PERTH, WA AGE | 24

I N S T A G R A M | @_d e g gl en T O O L S | Sp r a y p ai n ts ( wi t h d ri p c ap s) , ori g i nal p hot og raphs , Adobe L ightroom a nd Adobe Photos hop

DESCRIPTION // While trying to get some spray paint textures to digitise and add into another project I was working on, I had accidentally spray-painted part of a print I had laying nearby (not a lot but just a few splats). After discovering it later, I became fascinated with the idea and began to replicate it across more of my photographs. I used a few of the shots I had taken at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre because of their relatively minimal composition, neat, organised lines and low key colours. This is how I came to my final composition; contrasting the pristine, organised and calculated nature of architecture against the accidental, free form, random mess of paint. These forms contradict each other in harmony and represent to me the nature of experimentation, near-accidental innovation. How would you describe your style? I’m a photographer learning design. I often try to create systems to replicate for variation within a design, but for some time I’ve had trouble marrying the concepts of photography and design in my practical work. Lately, I’ve been expanding my skill sets to more physical mediums (illustrations and paints) and using those skills to experiment. Much of my process involves iteration and experimentation, and I believe those elements are crucial to allow me to grow and better my work. Briefly outline your creative process. What are the major steps? I start by making contact sheets of spray paint on plain paper so that I can pick and choose the best splatter patterns for each picture, rather than leaving it to chance. For this set, I have chosen to only use photographs of the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, the sterility of the scenes along with the organisation and colour of the tiles work well to compliment the paint splatters and patterns. Once I have transferred the photo to Photoshop, I arrange, scale and blend the texture until I am happy with the result.

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Who and/or what influences your work and why? I’ve been seeing a LOT of really cool poster designs on Instagram lately which has inspired my current motive; to find more use of my photography in designs in more interesting and engaging forms. This has led to a lot of experimentation, which I really enjoy. Are you a part of any creative groups that you would recommend everyone to join? Perth Centre for Photography is an awesome non-for-profit organisation that I would recommend everyone to join. They bring together an awesome community that promotes an understanding and appreciation of contemporary photography. They exhibit a variety of work, from significant and internationally recognised photographers such as Martha Cooper (@marthacoopergram) to the current exhibit Days Of Our Lives , showcasing work from emerging female photographers here in Perth. Through attending shows and participating in exhibitions with PCP, I have really grown and evolved as a photographer and they have helped me appreciate that we have a really special and very unique photography scene here in Perth. What type of flower would you be and why? Lavender. I smell pretty good not gonna lie. If you could turn any animal into a pocket-sized pet, what would it be and why? Definitely a Silverback Gorilla. I feel like primates would be the best animal to capitalise on being pocket-sized because of their flexibility and whatnot. Having a Gorilla on top of that would spice it up a bit. I want a pet that’s going to get up to some real mischief. I think things would get messy pretty quickly with a mini Silverback running around. I hear they’re pretty smart too – good partners for a heist?


TITLE | Splatta


TITLE | The Art of Flower Pressing


Joanna Hiu ARTIST | PERTH, WA A G E | 26

I N S T A G R A M | @thegal l eryj W E B S I T E | th e g al l eryj.c om T O O L S | F l o w e r s, b ook s, f l ower p ress

DESCRIPTION // This piece represents the celebration of pop and colour. The bright and bold colours tell a story about the different moments in my life. The daisies are happy moments as a child, while the sunflowers represent the sunny days in Mauritius. And as for pop, who doesn’t love a bit of pop in their life. This piece also shows the culmination of all the things I’ve learnt so far. From drying and pressing flowers to the design and arrangement. To me, it is a reminder of how much I’ve grown not only as an artist but as a human being. How would you describe your style? Intricate and sentimental. I love the creative process of turning the ordinary into a joyful memory, a feeling, a spark. Briefly outline your creative process. What are the major steps? Each artwork is quite a journey. It all starts with hand-picked flowers from my garden or my own explorations. Once I’ve collected a batch, I sort them by type. I like to dry similar flowers together as it simplifies the drying process. The blooms are placed face down between sheets of paper in either old books or flower presses. Although it’s hard for me to resist the temptation to peek, I allow time to weave its magic. I let the flowers dry for 3-4 weeks. The real magic happens when it’s time to open the press. It is always a surprise to see how certain specimens turned out and their resilience in retaining their colour. The pressed flowers are then delicately removed and sorted. From there, it is a mix of floral compositions and research. The flowers are glued and a light brush is used to remove any dust or fingerprint. The piece is framed between two pieces of glass and ready to find a new forever home. Who and/or what influences your work and why? I find inspiration in so many things; within nature, during my travels and coffee shops I stumble upon, but most Importantly through people.

I cherish sharing my stories and listening to people with a love for the past. I noticed that it significantly impacts my work in a way that I want each person to relate and interpret my work in their own way, connecting it to a special moment in their life. Are you a part of any creative groups that you would recommend everyone to join? Propel Youth Arts has been one of the pillars in my creative emergence. Coming from an accounting background, I found it really hard to connect with the creative community after university. I stumbled upon their website and volunteered for their annual Kickstart Festival in 2016. The following year, I had my first stall and it has been a learning curve since then. They have a wonderful team and I would recommend everyone to join them. What type of flower would you be and why? I would be a Bamboozle. It’s fun to say, and reminds me of dogs! What game or movie universe would you most like to live in and why? It’s an easy guess – Golden Butterfly® Marguerite Daisy (Argyranthemum frutescens). It evokes memories of childhood to me. I remember the white and yellow daisies that bloomed in the garden every summer. The hours spent outdoors; mum teaching me the basics of gardening or taking pictures with dad are recollections of childhood I hold dear to my heart. If you could turn any animal into a pocket-sized pet, what would it be and why? I have always been fascinated by giraffes. They are soft and graceful but can also be terrifying when it’s feeding time. Just like every human is different, every giraffe is different. Each one has a spot pattern that no giraffe has ever had, making each giraffe unique.

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Kathryn Leviton ILLUSTRATOR | LONDON, UK A G E | 21

I N S T A G R A M | @k at hrynl evi t on_ W E B S I T E | k at hrynl evi t on.c om T O O L S | A d ob e P hot oshop , p ap er a nd pe ncil

DESCRIPTION // A Mountain Walk is an illustration depicting a harmonious moment between a person consumed in nature. Taking a moment to breathe in the mountain air, it was inspired by a summer trip to the northern regions of Italy. How would you describe your style? I would describe my style as dreamlike, however relatable to the physical world. I use bold colours and textures, including subtle and sometimes naive characters. Briefly outline your creative process. What are the major steps? I illustrate using a digital and analogue process. I use the hundreds of drawings and scribbles in my sketchbooks as inspiration to start a new piece, sometimes scanning them in and redrawing digitally on Photoshop. Who and/or what influences your work and why? I am inspired by the vast amount of creative and innovative artists on social media platforms such as Hannah Jacobs, Jim Stoten and Michael Driver, which I have been fortunate enough to work with. Apart from my experiences at university, I also draw inspiration from my visits to exhibitions in London and any new city I travel to. Living in beautiful Cornwall for three years has influenced the natural element in my work. Are you a part of any creative groups that you would recommend everyone to join? I regularly attend She Drew That, a group run by Hannah Walker (@ hannahlauwalker) of all-female freelance animators like myself, which do monthly workshops and animation meetups of which got me started in the animation industry. What type of flower would you be and why? A buttercup because it’s my favourite colour and I am a big butter lover. What game or movie universe would you most like to live in and why? I think in a film or book by Astrid Lindgren. I love her stories and I think I could find an incredible amount of inspiration for my work as an illustrator. If you could turn any animal into a pocket-sized pet, what would it be and why? A giraffe because I think it would look hilarious and terrifying at that size

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TITLE | A Mountain Walk


TITLE | Seahorse


Lynda Howitt ARTIST | GERALDTON, WA A G E | 50

I N S T A G R A M | @l ynd ahowi t t P I N T E R E S T | Ly n d a H owi t t B E H A N C E | Ly n d a Howi t t W E B S I T E | l y n d a h owi t t .c om T O O L S | I n k , se a w at er, sea sal t and oi l p ai nt on c anv a s pa pe r

DESCRIPTION // Seahorse is a Soulcircle, one of my signature, free-flowing mandala style artworks that are therapeutic, symbolic and harmonic. Created from an intuitive flow of ink, and later layered with oils, my sea-inspired artworks literally embody the sea with the use of seawater and sea salt. Created within circles, that symbolise wholeness, and life, they offer harmonic balance to then create from. The circle visually enhances our feelings of being centred and grounded. I aim for my works to hold a soothing resonance, Seahorse does this in the way it feels, meditative yet awakening. A seahorse symbolises wisdom and guidance, allowing yourself to be guided in the right direction by the flow of the current around you. I explore the ability of nature to enhance how we feel, creating a greater sense of well-being to share in the world and to each other. I hope Seahorse and all my art is a catalyst for well-being for you, for me and the sea. How would you describe your style? Free-flowing and intuitive, my style reflects my approach to life. Briefly outline your creative process. What are the major steps? I collect seawater from the ocean and pour it on the paper in a circle, this forms the foundation of my work and a space to create from. I then paint with ink in pattern-like ways that go fluidly with the flow as the artwork develops, adding sea salt which encrusts as it dries and creates texture and body. In some works, I paint overlays of oils on selective

areas with flowing gestures or highlight symbolic areas and animals that may have appeared. There’s a grounding in the circle yet a ‘letting go’ in the process. Who and/or what influences your work and why? I’m inspired by the beautiful oceans and coastlines of Australia. I like to capture our love of its free-spirited essence in my paintings. I explore the sea’s ability to enhance how we feel, the natural ocean is the biggest influence on my work. Japanese Zen circles have inspired my work through their ‘in the moment’ minimalistic style, symbolising absolute enlightenment and wholeness of spirit. Japanese Ming Dynasty designs, patterns and hand-drawn scenes in cobalt blue on white porcelain are definitely an influence with the watercolour approach. I aim for my art to ‘soothe the mind and awaken the soul’, these influences have a similar effect on their viewers. I hope my art is a catalyst for well-being for you, for me and the sea. What type of flower would you be and why? Frangipani because it reminds me of faraway islands and endless summers. If you could turn any animal into a pocket-sized pet, what would it be and why? A Dolphin, I would put it on my shoulder and swim off into the sunset.

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TITLE | Transformed Artefacts


Madeleine Beech VISUAL ARTIST | PERTH, WA A G E | 24

I N S T A G R A M | @ ma de le ine _ be e ch W E B S I T E | ma ddys ky be e ch. wix s ite . com/we bs ite T O O L S | Found obj e cts , wood, ca s t iron, s ilk, cla y pa int

DESCRIPTION // My work exists as a sculptural assemblage of elemental forms. Classified, ordered and positioned next to each other, they emerge as artefacts. The arch is unknown and the column is known, objects transformed yet familiar. By utilising found and familiar objects, with the intention of transforming them, we can make new meanings whilst nurturing history. This is realised through the process of remodelling. The found objects form an arch which represents the artist as a transition point, a passage through time; past, present and future. How would you describe your style? A Metamorphosis – giving an object or material new meaning while nurturing the past and history through remodelling. Briefly outline your creative process. What are the major steps? My work exists as a sculptural assemblage of elemental forms. Classified, ordered and positioned next to each other, they emerge as artefacts. They read as precious things akin to a historical relic in a museum. Found objects, wooden objects and other materials are specifically chosen for their form, tone, texture, and patina. I select objects for their formal ambiguity because their original use can be obscured and be understood as something new. I use a monochromatic scheme of white, brown and beige. Within this monochromatic range, there is an endless and subtle variation of tones which is in no way restrictive. I use both the materials, plaster and wood, to elevate and transform found objects. I intend to evoke the embedded time and sentimentality that exists in the objects because of the contrast between the raw materials; the smooth surface of the plaster against the rustic patina of hardwood. I concentrate on the finish of the natural surface so that everyday objects can be considered of value in the current production of art. This gives an object new meaning while nurturing the past and history through remodelling. Who and/or what influences your work and why? I usually draw inspiration from my own identity, surroundings, history, the selection of materials and objects, skills/mediums and the act of making. Are you a part of any creative groups that you would recommend everyone to join? The ANJELMS Project – They aim to create collections ethically produced through sustainable and socially responsible practices while using fashion as a vehicle to protect and empower disadvantaged communities in Bali, Nepal and India.

Artsource – Their purpose is to engage with and support Western Australian visual artists with practical, affordable and relevant services. What type of flower would you be and why? A freesia flower because they plentifully grow in the streets where I grew up, and the scent of the flower declares it’s spring! Also, my father would pick them for my mother as they are her favourite. If you could turn any animal into a pocket-sized pet, what would it be and why? I am not yet ready for a pocket pet, although I have one too many items in my pocket.

T I T L E B| ET N h eT O G i r4l 5s


Paige Bentley ILLUSTRATOR | PERTH, WA A G E | 21

I N S T A G R A M | @ast ronaut _c hord T U M B L R | @ast ronaut c hord T O O L S | P roc reat e

DESCRIPTION // Tending towards vent art, I make a lot of my drawings when I’m feeling intense emotion. This one was no exception; vaguely about gender dysphoria and being out of control, this drawing was about being so totally overwhelmed you begin to come apart. I’m drawn to the unique quality of pencil drawing and its utility as a digital medium, as well as a way of expressing things in a way that still looks just about as messy as it feels. And, as much as my art is often deeply personal, I hope it can speak to people feeling the same way. How would you describe your style? I switch between carefully realistic and cartoonishly whimsical, but I love to combine the two to either juxtapose to make a new thematic choice. Briefly outline your creative process. What are the major steps? I typically think in words, so a lot of the concepts start as some incomprehensible string of lines – less describing the image but more the emotion I want it to convey – and then I try to synthesise that. Sometimes it’s bone-deep and surreal, but sometimes I just write it to the side of the image or as a caption. I don’t like having the image without the text, but I think that’s more me being afraid people won’t get it. If all else fails, I just start drawing myself and see how it goes! Who and/or what influences your work and why? Hiller Goodspeed (@hillergoodspeed) and Julia King (@julia._king._) influence both of my styles in many ways, and I’m constantly borrowing imagery from them whenever I feel stuck. They make the kind of art you just want to stick all over your body and wrap yourself in (though their themes are a little different). Another big inspiration is Jenny Holzer, whose poetry and projected texts have had me in awe ever since I saw them. She has this incredibly loud and visceral voice in her work that’s inspired me to work from the heart and make big statements whenever I can. Are you a part of any creative groups that you would recommend everyone to join? Nope, but I’d love to be part of one some day! What type of flower would you be and why? I would choose some kind of lichen or fungus but I don’t think that’s on the table, so my answer would be baby’s breath! So small and detailed. If you could turn any animal into a pocket-sized pet, what would it be and why? A lot of animals, if you shrunk them down would just be weird cats or dogs, so I think it would be cool to see a tiny deer or moose. They’d just chill out on my desk or in the undergrowth with their tiny hooves and horns. I don’t know if they’d be into pets and cuddles, but I’d love to just have one following me on a walk through some woods.

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TITLE | Figuring It Out


TITLE | Fly Me To The Sun


Sarah Turquoise ILLUSTRATOR | PERTH, WA A G E | 34

I N S T A G R A M | @turq uoi se.c rea F A C E B O O K | @T u rq uoi seCreat i ve E T S Y | @T u r q u o i seCreat i veA U T O O L S | A d o be I l l ust rat or

DESCRIPTION // This is a digital illustration I created last year while working around the theme, vertigo. What does vertigo make you think of? Falling, being dizzy, facing the unknown, but also experimenting unconditional freedom – letting go and flying. That’s what inspired me to create these happy ladies; free from any worries, constraints, simply enjoying their journey in the deep turquoise sky. These ladies were hand-drawn and recreated digitally on Adobe Illustrator.

artistic vision and for their ability to distil an advertising message to a memorable image with simple, elegant lines and bold colours. Are you a part of any creative groups that you would recommend everyone to join? I wish! But none at the moment.

I love bright colours, especially turquoise, which explains my artist’s name. Mustard is currently one of my favourites too.

What type of flower would you be and why? I think I would be a bright pink bougainvillaea. I love seeing bougainvillaea while driving around Perth. While they beautifully decorate gardens, I love how they seem to be escaping by growing over the fences. Perhaps, that can be seen as a metaphor of how I feel, trying to fit in while deeply wanting to find my inner self out of my comfort zone.

Briefly outline your creative process. What are the major steps? I write down my ideas and inspirations. It can be simple words, a lyric from a song or quotes from a book I just read. I usually start by hand drawing on the notebook that never leaves me. I then scan, redraw and colourise it digitally.

If you could turn any animal into a pocket-sized pet, what would it be and why? I think it would be a turtle. Turtles are beautiful creatures and swimming with them in the Philippines was absolutely amazing. I like how slow and quiet they are. They look like nothing can stress them out!

Who and/or what influences your work and why? I am a huge fan of Raymond Savignac and Bernard Villemot, both French renowned graphic artists from the ‘50s. They were known for their sharp

I also love the story “The Tortoise and the Hare” from Jean de La Fontaine. The moral of the story was to never underestimate the weakest opponent. In this story, the rabbit lost to a turtle in a race because he took a nap and underestimated the turtle’s ability to pass him up.

How would you describe your style? I would describe my style as simple, bubbly and colourful.

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Talea Pattemore ILLUSTRATOR | PERTH, WA A G E | 26

I N S T A G R A M | @t he_d esi g n_q ui rk T O O L S | P roc reat e

DESCRIPTION // “Well-behaved women rarely make history” - Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. This has been one of my favourite quotes for such a long time, and the viral video ‘Be a Lady’ has reminded me of how true it is again. This illustration depicts a woman just being and living in her natural state, embracing her own perfection. How would you describe your style? My style varies as I love experimenting with different mediums. But I think ultimately my work is often very feminine. Briefly outline your creative process. What are the major steps? My creative process consists of lighting some sage, putting on some jazz music and sketching ideas – picking my favourite ones and defining and rendering. Who and/or what influences your work and why? Nature and people in general. I think that we are all so interesting in our own way and nature has so much to give. As well as us, it is always changing and growing. Are you a part of any creative groups that you would recommend everyone to join? I unfortunately am not a part of any but am looking to join some. What type of flower would you be and why? I don’t really know my flowers too well, but maybe an Asiatic lily. They come in a range of colours and they grow quickly, withstanding harsh conditions. If you could turn any animal into a pocket-sized pet, what would it be and why? I love this question. 100% my cat. She is my baby and if I could take her everywhere with me, I would.

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TITLE | Well-behaved Women Rarely Make History


CREDITS

Editor Bento Box Design Studio

Studio Director Leeanne Nguyen leeanne@bentoboxstudio.com.au

Creative Director Tristan Ta tristan@bentoboxstudio.com.au

Art Director Monica Widjajana monica@bentoboxstudio.com.au

Marketing Assistant Vivien Huynh vivien@bentoboxstudio.com.au

Design By Bento Box Design Studio

Featured Creative Mikaela Miller

Contributors Amie Joanne Gallanagh - Life’s Confusing Chloe Elizabeth - This Is My Realm Declan Young - Splatta Joanna Hiu - The Art of Flower Pressing Kathryn Leviton - A Mountain Walk Lynda Howitt - Seahorse Madeleine Beech - Transformed Artefacts Paige Bentley - Figuring It Out Sarah Turquoise - Fly Me To The Sun Talea Pattemore - Well-behaved Women Rarely Make History

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BENTO Issue 10  

BENTO is a bi-annual online magazine of all things art and design brought to you by Bento Box Design Studio.

BENTO Issue 10  

BENTO is a bi-annual online magazine of all things art and design brought to you by Bento Box Design Studio.

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