ISSUE 11 - MARCH 2018
Editor/ Founder Samii Lund email@example.com @theeyecreative_mag Writer/ Creative Content Manager Amy Farnworth firstname.lastname@example.org @amy_farnworth Editorial Writer Alex Dyson @aedyson Editorial Writer Courtney Rothberg Issue Eleven Collaborators Photographers: Calai Photography Illustrative/ Artistic Ban-She Marie Fauritte Kelly Chapman (kelaoke) Hi Char Tara Whalley Yiying Lee Bindy james Vanessa Vanderhaven Cassie Stevens Collaborative Musicians Vera Blue James Franklin Lola Scott A special thanks... To every single creative we’ve ever featured and every one of our 88,000 readers! Our success is due to you, and for that, we’ll be forever grateful. We can’t wait to start on future issues and continue to celebrate with you! Get ready... we’re on a mission to inspire! Advertise AND/OR become a stockist email@example.com General Enquiries firstname.lastname@example.org Submissions The Eye Creative accepts freelance art, photo and story submissions from creatives around Australia. We may be unable to personally reply to each individual that is unsuccessful, however, we will keep your work and story on file for upcoming issues.
ON THE COVER
To submit your work, please fill out the submission form at www.theeyecreative.com and remember to leave a link to your online profile/socials!
IG @tarawhalley www.tarawhalley.com
Disclaimer: Please note that all images that appear within our pages are either sourced direct from the artist with permission, paid work, or supplied to us from the featuring creative. We endeavour to credit collaborating artists/ designers/ stylists and photographers where possible when supplied from our featuring creatives.
Photography: Dulce Amor Stylist: Marco Fusco Hair: Jorge Viota MUA: Falzon Fashion Consultants Model: Alice Hargreaves Set Construction: Lachlan Whalley Footwear: Radical Yes Ceramics: Tantri Mustika Ceramics
Photographer Callie shultz @calaiphotography
Welcome to what will be the year of The Eye!!! Issue 11 marks a comeback of creativity and bravery amongst our team, and will be the platform in which we TAKE OVER THE WORLD! *insert dramatic evil laughter here* We’re super keen beans this year. We’re jumping out of the can and wanting to be more than just breakfast food; we’re aiming to be tacos, baby. Delicious, gooey, beany, can’t-be-without-them tacos (so to speak). We’re not letting anything step in our way, or block our vision (of creating the magazine, not the tacos), because we’re passionately obsessed with the talent that our amazing country has to offer and we’re overjoyed to be back in action! BUT where the F have we been, you ask?! Well, let’s get real for a minute, shall we? It’s the age-old “shit happens”
theory, really. It all got a little too much, pressure wise, and what stood between my personal goals and dreams - was fear. Being a creative entrepreneur, as you may know, can be one hell of an exhausting task. Constantly pushing shit up-hill and smiling through it, gritting your teeth trying to replicate the feelings of glory and accomplishment people assume you live with every day. It’s writing emails as though you’re not just hyped up on caffeine after feeding a nasty habit of no-sleep, Smith’s chip sandwiches (glutenfree) and soy latte’s for the past 3 weeks straight; and it’s about the all-wonderful, constant exhausting application of ‘smoke and mirrors’ to your everyday tasks. To put it bluntly; IT’S F***ING HARD. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE the
shit out of this magazine; it’s my baby. My beautiful little paper child that I’ve created from a pipedream that somehow grew into a major success overnight. With the help of my saviour, Amy (of whom I would be lost without), this magazine is the most incredible piece of creativity that I personally think is on the market. So why did I stop? Great question. The answer is simply because I was scared. It was time to invest money - big money - into the business and being someone who scrapes the bottom of all six handbags and car consoles just to find the cash for coffee, this was a hard concept to manage. Am I able to do it? YES. Was I in a position to do it? YES. Was I shit scared that I would lose everything if I did it? ABSOLUTELY. So as fast as it started, I paused it. Fear is a bitch.
It’s taken eight long months of travelling, finding myself and exploring what expectations I have for this business and myself before I finally bit the bullet and said: “It’s time to come back to what I live for.” And thus, Issue 11 is now out in circulation - and BOY IT FEELS GOOD! I love that within our community of artists and creative types, we’re able to share what it’s really like for each of us individually. It’s never butterflies and unicorns with cherries on top each day. The reality is, we live a life of commitment, determination, hard times, shit days and lack of sleep. But what that equates to, in the end, is the most incredible life we could ever lead. It’s a life of passion, of happiness, of FREEDOM. It’s a life we’re living, FOR US.
We love this industry. We’re born creators. We’re born leaders. We were put on this earth, not to just exist, but to create a world in which is better for us. We explore, inspire, change and challenge the norm looking for that bright light that will fill our souls and inspire a movement. And that, right there, is why The Eye Creative is back. It’s because we’re starting a movement, and fear is no reason to sit back and watch it fade away. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the incredible emails and messages in the past eight months that have inspired the move to bring The Eye Creative back to life. Without you - our readers and creative community we would not be here.
In Issue 11, we welcome to the Eye Creative team, Alex Dyson (of Triple J fame) who has written a truly remarkable interview piece on Vera Blue ahead of the release of her album, Lady Powers (out now!). We also welcome back Courtney Rothberg and of course, Amy Farnworth, our magnificent editorial writers who have smashed this issue out of the ballpark. Special mention to Print Together, who have put this issue together for us. If you’re one of the lucky individuals reading this in print form, you’d be pleased to know that the pages are 100% recycled paper and printed using sustainable inks. Yay environment! Be immersed in the creative love within these pages, and feel free to write to us to tell us what you think! We’d love to hear from you. email@example.com.
Renee Damiani reneedamiani.bigcartel.com $40.00 These remind me of that scene in Sex and the City, where Samantha walks across the road with a side pony-tail and cropped puffy top, yelling FUCK YOU with her middle finger raised high at the taxi cab she strutted in front of. The 80â€™s power vibe is strong with these, and I for one, need these self-assertive, colourful party-perfect earrings in my life, PRONTO.
Shuh www.shuh.bigcartel.com $85.00 This little guy looks like heâ€™s having the time of his life hanging around like that. Handmade by Shuh, this hangy planter man can be yours for a low price, with endless days of entertainment ahead of you! Look at his little arms and legs! JUST LOOK! I need more than one...
SOME OF OUR 9.
Beep Bicycle Bells beepbells.com $27.50 Can I get a big “awwwwwwwwwwwwww”?? My gosh, this bicycle bell is off the cute-scale. I mean, who wouldn’t want to rock this on their bike while riding with the wind in their hair and yoga mat in the basket?
Able & Game www.ableandgame.com $20.00 After finding out that I can, in fact, devour Camembert cheese without side-effects (Lactose intolerant friends rejoice!), my cheese affair has reached new heights. And even though I can’t eat any other forms of fromage, at least this artwork permits me to pretend I can, just like all the other cheese and wine loving humans.
Chai Addict chaiaddict.com.au $30.00 I for one am like the majority of the world’s population and am indeed, a coffee addict. That’s why I was so surprised to discover that there is enough room in my brain to warrant a second addiction of chai. Now, with more choice than ever before, I’m living my best beverage life.
Peaches and Keen peachesandkeen.com $120.00 In the world of wonderful artworks to place on your ears, it can sometimes be tremendously hard or expensive, to choose the right pair for you. We’re here to help, because we feel we’ve chosen the perfect pair for any lobe, with these peaches and keen earrings. You’re welcome.
Be Fraiche - The Flower Face Cream www.befraiche.com $35.00 If you have always wanted to bloom as bright as a flower in spring, REJOICE! With the power of Be Fraiche, your face too can be as delightful as a sunflower! Created to be as light-weight as those petals, this moisturiser packed with antioxidants and floral oils is the ideal gift or bathroom bag essential. We’ve got one in the online cart right now... *Disclaimer: this product does not magically turn you into a flower, however, you will smell like one - which is just as good in our books.
A Boy Named Aaron Blush Shimmer Clutch aboynamedaaron.com.au SOLD OUT - but we still love it! Shimmer and pom pom your way back into my life, Mr Clutch! Let’s just admire the glittery, colourful goodness that we all missed out on. Keen on seeing what else this amazing creative has in store (You won’t be sorry - or maybe your wallet will be...) visit aboynamedaaron.com.au
Emma Kate Co emmakateco.com $99.00 Passports can be bat-shit-boring. Same navy blue with silver/gold Aussie logo... SNORE. Emma Kate Co, bless her, is the ultimate travelling style queen and has just released a new leather travel collection to take your airport style to new heights. (No pun intended). “let’s go places” with our new passport wallets, shall we?
Laurie Melia Ceramics lauriemeliaceramics.bigcartel.com $150.00 My partner has been instructing me that I need a jewellery box, for like, months now (As if I can’t just have rings lying around everywhere...) The thing is, there is only one jewellery holder for me, and it’s this spiritual adviser jewellery plate from Laurie Melia Ceramics. It’s creepy and beautiful all in one, and makes putting on your jewellery seem like a powerful morning ritual rather than a task. Take the hint babe. NUDGE, NUDGE.
SOME OF OUR 12.
Julie White juliewhite.bigcartel.com $30.00 Oh. Julie White. Here you go again, making us fall in love with your artistic wares and kooky prints. I’m not a sock person, but you compel me to want to be a sock person. Hell, I just want to be wrapped up in your artwork and wander the streets as a personal advertisement. These socks. JUST YES.
Claire Ritchie www.helloclaireritchie.com $49.00 Colour is life and this artwork by Claire Ritchie has me wanting to paint a mural on my living room wall in an attempt to replicate the same giddy feeling I get from having this hang above my desk. It just...make me happy, you know?
Remedy Kombucha remedykombucha.com.au $72.00 (for 24 cans) Good for the belly, good for the soul! It’s all the craze lately, but seriously, have you tried it?! The yummiest of all yum beverages on the market right now, and it’s seriously good for those guts of ours AND it started in Melbourne.
Takeawei takeawei.com $65.00 I love a good mug. I devote hours at stores looking for the perfect one. The weight when you hold it with the handle, the room around the bowl of the cup for your hands, the texture of the lip when you sip; there is a LOT to consider. Every once in a while, the perfect cup arises like a light beam from the coffee heavens - like this knot mug from Melbourne local, Takeawei.
FME Apparel fmeapparel.com.au $150.00 Comfort, colour, style, handmade and sustainable. What else could you want in a clothing label? We couldn’t pick a favourite from FME’s apparel range, as we want it all. Jump on their site and find out for yourself what we mean. Bet you can’t stop at one!
Words by Courtney Rothberg
Malaysian-born, Melbourne-based visual artist, Yiying Lee, is leaving her mark on the arts community with her childlike musings simply too hard to pass up. Lee moved to Melbourne 14 years ago to complete her Year 12 education and undertake her tertiary studies, leaving behind her family along with an art scene that was not the booming contemporary haven it is today, but rather one that was traditional in every sense of the word. Lee loved drawing as a child with arts and crafts always among her favourite subjects at school. “I doodled in sketchbooks during class,” she says, learning to draw by copying artwork that appealed to her, many from her father’s Chinese painting collections, but animation too. When quizzed about her aspirations as a youngster, her answer wasn’t a shock: “I dreamt of being an animator, working in Disney studios or as a Manga artist.” Creativity seeming to have anchored Lee throughout her life, it’s not surprising that she came full circle and returned to the art world after studying psychology at university. Whilst her parents don’t understand her choice of career, they are supportive nonetheless.
Whilst there appears to have been a resurgence in ceramics of late, Lee believes it may have something to do with the fastpaced world going on around us. “Perhaps as we enter a sped-up, technology-driven world, people are starting to crave something more traditional, tactile and natural to have in their home.” It’s hard not to agree with her. With movements of minimalism and the war on waste surging around us, many are trying to do their part and that means fewer purchases but better investments. And let’s face it, who doesn’t want to spend their hardearned money on a cup that has a face and feet?
Yiying discovered the medium of ceramics during a short course she took for Bijoux jewellery; making a porcelain pendant was all it took for the love affair to begin. “I think it’s amazing that ceramics from thousands of years ago were produced with many of the same techniques I am using now. They last for centuries and some are still being used and appreciated today. It is nice to imagine my works still around for many years to come”, Lee says. She does sometimes wonder where her products end up and how they are being used, adding it’s heartwarming getting messages or tags on Instagram of the lives her creations are now living.
She admits at being addicted to working with ceramics for the last few years and adores the huge possibilities that come with it but maintains illustrations have always been the core of her work, hoping to revisit printmaking again sometime soon. Her illustrations are quite delicate, blending the boundaries of real life and fantasy, creating ‘dream-like landscapes,’ as she puts it. When looking at her drawings closely you can see each tiny pen stroke, and it made me wonder if she always knows what it’s going to look like from the onset. “Each doodle or drawing usually stems from a thought or feeling I have. Sometimes a recurring theme or a series of thoughts. I tend to just doodle or draw as I go and it always surprises me when they all tell a story when put together”, Lee admits. If you gaze long enough, you feel as if you’re being transported to another realm, an escape from the present that can be wildly inviting. Her first solo exhibition, Asteroid 286, at Off The Kerb last year has been her biggest professional accomplishment to date but like many breakthroughs in life, it came after a period of darkness where Lee suffered the loss of someone dear to her. “I started drawing a series of drawings to help me cope with that loss, which led me to think about one of my favourite books, The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. There were many quotes from the book that resonated with me and helped me express the way I felt. I was very happy to get a chance to put it all together with the help of Off The Kerb curatorial team.” Lee once again proving that art can heal even the most broken of hearts.
full of creatives, under one roof, sharing their talents and connecting with their industry community. A one-stop inspiration shop, really. It was at her first market, when she held her debut stall, that she was introduced to Nani Puspasari and her work by a mutual friend. “I was instantly in love and we’ve been friends ever since.” This fast friendship lead to their collaboration NANI x YIYING, two peas in a quirky, creative pod, crafting designs that would make even the most serious among us crack a smile. Lee and Nani also share space in Lee’s in-house studio, which she describes as organised chaos. “I can never find anything after attempts to neaten my studio. I try to tidy my space up every Sunday but by the end of Monday, it’s back to square one.” It made sense for the pair to fire their work together after Lee bought a kiln. “I find it very helpful to have someone to bounce ideas off and critique each other’s work. We both work more efficiently alone but it is very refreshing and fun to have company too.”
Forever pushing to get her work seen, Finders Keepers Market was a perfect fit from the get-go. Not only a space to sell your goods to art and design loving consumers, it’s a hub
Admittedly an over-thinker, sometimes her own ruminating gets in the way of her creating and like most of us, she is susceptible to a case of self-doubt taking over. “I’m still learning to just go with the flow, take risks and just create”, Lee concedes. Equal parts playful and whimsy, you’d have to have a heart of stone if her creations didn’t spark some warmth inside you. Fuelled by a love of children’s honest and simple views of the world, she tries to recreate the innocence and wonder felt as a kid in her work, not bound by the constraints we can often feel as adults in life. Or, as Lee puts it: “Perhaps I’m actually just a kid refusing to grow up”. If this is a case of Peter Pan syndrome, I hope she never grows up so she can continue to remind our responsible selves that life doesn’t need to be so serious. A keen traveller with a strong connection to her culture, being away from Malaysia has been difficult over the years but she is where she needs to be for her art to continue flourishing. While Melbourne is home for the moment, Lee isn’t adverse to living somewhere else in the future. Her travelling style more seasoned backpacker than celebrity high roller, she learned from a young age where to draw inspiration from. “In school, we were taught to observe our
surroundings and draw from life”, Lee notes, and it puts her in good stead for an everevolving career and an overflowing passport. The year ahead is special for Lee, her approach to take things slowly, revisit old ideas and experiment more, create new things and familiarise herself with printmaking techniques again. Still fantasising of being an animator from time to time, her message is clear: “As Cinderella would say, have courage and be kind.” And with an outlook like that, she will no doubt fulfil her dream of continuing to create and make art at the ripe young age of 95. IG: @byyiyinglee
"Each doodle or drawing usually stems from a thought or feeling I have. Sometimes a recurring theme or a series of thoughts. I tend to just doodle or draw as I go and it always surprises me when they all tell a story when put togetherâ€? 21.
Tell us about yourself...Where did it all start for Bindy James? After high school I went to uni and did a Bachelor of Environmental Science. I had a couple of different jobs in this field before realising it wasn’t for me. I decided to study graphic design and graduated from TAFE in 2014. In my final year of study I became interested in illustration and I was drawing everyday, spending a lot of time just practicing and experimenting. Although I didn’t have a specific style at that stage, I realised that illustration was what I wanted to do. What is it about illustration that gets your blood pumping? I like the challenge that illustration presents. That is, how can I most effectively get the message across to the viewer as well as portraying the right emotion? If I’m creating something to communicate an idea or accompany text I enjoy the process of identifying key points and thinking about how best to represent them visually. Can you describe your design process a little? What inspires your practice? I like to start by writing down my ideas for visuals in words and short sentences. When I have a bunch of ideas I eliminate the obvious solutions and sketch up
thumbnails, with pencil and paper, for the rest. Once I’ve decided on a concept I’m happy with I’ll sketch it up larger. My drawings at this stage alway look very very rough. My sketchbooks are definitely not pretty! I then scan my sketch and use it to guide my digital work in photoshop. I tend to feel most inspired when I’m working on illustrations. Something about getting stuck in and moving forward on a project creates good energy for me and when I’m happy and motivated I come up with better ideas. The subject matter of my most recent work has centred around everyday life, relationships, family, emotions and nature. What do you like about hand drawing and how do you think it takes your artwork to another level? Most of my work is digital but I always begin with hand drawn sketches. I feel like I can move quickly with pencil and paper and gets ideas down fast. This might change and I may go down the Cintiq/iPad Pro path but I can’t imagine I would eliminate pencil and paper altogether. I also hand paint some of my textures using watercolours and acrylics and then scan them. I like the hand made look they add to my work.
Have you studied art in further education such as tafe/ university? I completed a graphic design diploma at TAFE, part time, while working. If I hadn’t already been to uni I probably would have studied graphic design there but I’m glad I chose TAFE because I really enjoyed it. Part of me would have loved to have gone to art school because there are a lot of benefits of being in that environment but at the moment I’m pretty happy where I am learning and improving my craft outside of formal education. What has been the most rewarding thing that has come from launching your artistic career and do you even see yourself as a full-blown professional illustrator/artist? I guess I consider myself an emerging illustrator with the goal of becoming a professional illustrator. At the moment I support myself by working in-house for a company doing motion graphics and graphic design which is quite different from my illustration work. The most rewarding thing so far is seeing my own art style emerge. I’m sure it will continue to evolve and may look different in years to come but it’s so great to start working on a piece and it just ‘clicks’. You feel comfortable with a certain technique and you like the result. It’s a good feeling.
â€œThe most rewarding thing so far is seeing my own art style emerge. I'm sure it will continue to evolve and may look different in years to come but it's so great to start working on a piece and it just clicks. You feel comfortable with a certain technique and you like the result. It's a good feeling.â€? 24.
Does your artwork mirror your personality? I have had a couple of people say to me “your art is so you” but I’m not sure if I see it. I’m a reserved person and do tend to work with subtle textures and soft colours so there could be a reflection there. I might be reading too much into it though! How to you do ‘me time’ when your workload gets too much? Me time involves getting away from the computer. Taking the dog for a walk or pottering around in the garden. Ideally I should get back into running because I find its a great way to re-set my brain after looking at a screen for hours. I’m thinking of taking up another creative pursuit just as a hobby separate from my illustration work, for me to have fun with. Needle felting little critters looks appealing. You create images of everyday life and objects that make you take a moment and appreciate them a little more. Is this your intention? Yes definitely! This was especially my intention for a set of nature illustrations I did a little while ago where gumnuts and leaves were a symbol of the importance of eucalypt forest for sustaining koala population. I also like drawing attention to simple nostalgic things that people can relate too. What is currently keeping you busy; any big projects underway?
of illustrations about family life so I’m excited to try more collage elements in these and see if it works! What do you love about the digital aesthetic? I definitely like a combination of digital and handmade aesthetic in my work. I like the precision and complexity of digital work. Sometimes I’ll be working on an illustration that needs dead straight lines or really small details and I like the way digital work achieves this. What’s next for you? I have a list of ideas for personal projects that I’m itching to start on. I’m looking forward to sharing the results and seeing what people think. Ultimately I want to keep growing as an artist and create unique work that I can be proud of. What Australian artists are you currently crushing on? I love Nancy Liang’s (@under_over_themoon) work. Her detailed illustrations with subtle animations are just dreamy. I also love Belinda Suzette’s (@belinda_ suzette) colourful characters and Antra Svarcs’ (@antra.svarcs) illustration style is spot on.
I have always been drawn to collage art so I’m experimenting a bit more with this style. I have a project I’m working on which is a set
Tara Whalley Melbourne-based Textile Designer Tara Whalley is all about colour and pattern and is known for her comfortable fabrics and flattering shapes. Homely is an ode to her favourite keepsakes within her studio and features a little help from her favourite humans, which ultimately establishes one of the most exceptionally designed campaigns we’ve ever seen. With the colour contrasts, pattern blending and quirky photography compositions, we see Whalley’s designs take centre stage, powering through and embodying all that women want to be: powerful, unique and individually beautiful.
kelly chapman 38.
Words by Courtney Rothberg As the saying goes, ‘Those that can, Do; Those who can’t, Teach’ but whoever came up with this clearly had not met Kelly Chapman because she is successfully cartwheeling along the line between both. Going by the Instagram handle Kelaoke, a nickname bestowed upon her by locals of a Vietnamese fishing village back in ’99 after a few too many Tiger beers and loads of singing, she’s pushing the boundaries of polymer clay jewellery and taking it from it’s dated 80s roots into the 21st century with as much bang as a confetti gun at a music festival. I remember my first introduction to clay jewellery. My Mum used to teach classes at this place called High Time in the country town I grew up in, and it was all the rage. She used to make gumnut baby brooches, liquorice all-sort earrings and everything in between. I can still smell the FIMO when I think about it, but as much as I loved Mum’s designs as a kid, I’m glad I didn’t spy any on Kelly’s feed. Instead, her pieces have this ability to feel really familiar whilst simultaneously being thrust into a modern space; truly reinventing the wheel. We recently caught up with Kelly and got to chat about all things beautiful. Life, students and of course, her art.
Have you lived in Sydney your whole life? Although Western Sydney has been home for most of my life, in my mid 20s I lived in the UK for about 6 years and pledged allegiance to the Queen to become a UK citizen. While in London I met my partner, a so called Geordie, who is from Newcastle in the north of England and we both eventually migrated back to Australia to start a family. Has art been something that always ran in your blood or it’s been a long journey into what you are doing now? On reflection, art always ran in my blood. As a kid in the 80’s, my mum and her best mate ran craft parties at people’s houses where they would sell their handmade crafts. Dad’s beloved billiards table was commandeered as a workbench and covered with cardboard templates, floral fabrics, lace and ribbons, ready to be transformed into decorative photo frames and tissue boxes. Mum was always knitting, making tapestries, and sewing. Every time she sat down, her hands were busy making, which
is exactly where I am now. When mum comes over now and I have earrings on the workbench ready to be assembled she’ll often rearrange them and I always prefer her designs. Is ‘making and teaching’ as you put it, your full time job? Teaching is my full-time job. I am a high school art teacher by trade and I currently work in a school for children with profound disabilities. While I am bringing up my two girls, I have paired back my teaching days to three days per week. Although I would love to make jewellery and wall hangings for a living I still consider teaching as my profession and my art and making a hobby. How did you end up teaching kids with disabilities? How long have you been doing this for and what does that role involve for you? My teaching career started in a small behaviour unit in Cabramatta, Sydney, for kids who had been excluded from high school. When I moved to London I taught in a similar school setting before teaching in an adult education
centre, similar to TAFE. I taught printmaking, painting and mixedmedia. I’ve been teaching at my current school for almost 10 years now. It’s a school for kids aged 4 to 18 with multiple and complex disabilities, including hearing and vision impairments. Many students are non-verbal and some have life-limiting medical conditions. The job can be mentally, physically, and emotionally challenging at times but it’s also a lot of fun. There is a real sense of family and community in the school and I’m fortunate to work with an amazing support team. It’s difficult for many of my students to even hold a paintbrush or pencil so I need to think outside the square and use my creativity. We paint with our hands, splat paint with adapted art tools and use augmented switch technology to create art. It’s so much fun! I’m currently planning our biannual art exhibition at the end of the year where students works are displayed for sale with all profits going toward resources for our students. It’s always a big success.
What initially piqued your interest in jewellery design and how did you discover clay?
balanced out with very earthy tones. What do you love about that more natural, muted palette?
When I returned to Australia after living abroad I was keen to quit teaching but didn’t have anything to fall back on. Ceramics, jewellery, and surface design were a few ideas that were floating around in my head. I’ve always enjoyed tinkering away at small projects so jewellery making offered a good outlet. I started experimenting with resin before moving on to polymer clay. At the time I had a baby and toddler so making a tassel here and there or putting small components together really suited my daily routine. Discovering the beautiful rare and vintage fibres from String Harvest a few years ago was a bit of a game changer. I feel like Cass’s products have really shaped my aesthetic when it comes to colour and texture.
Teaching art to kids is so much fun because I get to play with bright, bold colourful paint almost daily. My lessons are structured through multi-sensory activities so my students are engaged through lots of colourful hands-on creative play and as a result the artworks they create are often a bright dribbly, splatted, gorgeous mess of colour. I struggle with big bold colours when it comes to my own art making. I feel so much more relaxed working with Earthy tones and muted colours and it’s such a contrast to my day job. I think it’s the yin to my work art yang.
My first impression when scrolling through your IG feed was how nostalgic it felt to me, especially as a child of the 80s when clay jewellery was all the rage. What is it that draws you to Australian native flora and fauna? For me it’s a sensory thing and to be honest, I didn’t really appreciate it until I’d returned home after living abroad. I remember going for a walk around my neighbourhood and being struck by the colour, texture and scent of our stunning Australian flora. My partner and I travelled up the east coast of Australia in a campervan for three months and I was in heaven. I spent most days exploring beaches, daydreaming, collecting pods and making little sketches. My experiences travelling to many countries over the years really highlighted little Aussie nuances that I hadn’t picked up on as a kid. The colour throughout your designs are quite soothing. Whilst you use vibrant blues and fiery reds in some pieces, they are all
You seem to have created this intangible synergy between nature and art with what you are producing. Has this happened organically or this was a deliberate move all along? I have a strong connection and appreciation for nature and the inspiration from this really guides my work. Whether I’m planning a composition for a weaving, creating collages or experimenting with surface design for my jewellery, nature is my go-to source for inspiration. I find the shapes, colours and patterns resonate with me. Where did you first learn to weave? My first intro into weaving was during a fibre arts module whilst studying visual arts at Uni. I made a makeshift loom out of paddle pop sticks and made a weaving out of fibre, raffia and garden finds. It wasn’t until 2015 that I bought my first proper weaving loom and then I became a bit hooked. It can be a time consuming craft so I tend to work on weavings during school holidays and need to switch off.
What do you love about weaving? Is it quite a meditative practice? The thing I love most about weaving is that anyone can do it. Weaving can be as simple or complex as you make it. Even with the most basic weaving technique you can take a simple weaving to the next level with a little imagination. Picasso’s quote ‘Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist’ really sums up what I love most about the works of my favourite weavers. Depending on my design, weaving can be meditative when I’m feeling the groove, or a complete struggle if I’m not feeling it. I’m sitting at 50/50 right now and it’s definitely a seasonal craft for me. I love weaving in winter. When you begin a new wall hanger, have you sketched it out first with a very specific level of detail or does it take its own form as you go? My wall hangings always develop organically and I never make sketches. Before starting a project I collate colours and textures that sit well with me and then muse on a composition in my mind. Once I get started the weavings tend to take on a life of their own.
Many artist may be concerned about other artists stealing their style and would avoid teaching because of it. This doesn’t seem to bother you. Are you teaching students the general art of what you do rather than a specific style? There are always going to be people who want to steal your work or ideas. What can you do? As a teacher, I’m there to teach specific skills and to encourage students to develop their own style rather than reproduce somebody else’s. I meet many creative people at my workshops and I’m always inspired by what they achieve in such a small amount of time. I always seem to learn something new. How did you end up teaching at both Little Lane Workshops and Koskela? Sonia from Little Lane got in touch with me a few years ago but I hadn’t taught adults for years and at first lacked the confidence to take her up on the offer. It wasn’t until I attended a basketry workshop at Little Lane that Sonia pinned me down and locked me into some workshops. I’m so glad she did. She’s amazingly creative herself, and really supportive. Her workshop space is beautiful
and she has developed a very connected, creative community. After Koskela got in touch I jumped on board with them because it’s such a stunning, iconic place. I’m in awe of the physical space whenever I arrive and pinch myself every time I work there. The art and design in the showroom is so special and inspiring. I feel very privileged to be able to share what I do at both spaces. If there is one piece of wisdom you can impart on your students, what is it? I realise that nothing is new in the art world but the world is a much better place with diversity. I know that my work, from my wall hangings and jewellery down to how I photograph and present my work, is connected to my personal history, experiences and observations. Create more art, learn more skills, and find the time to experiment. This is how you develop your own authentic aesthetic. Creating pieces that express your own visual language is so rewarding What’s on the horizon for Kelly Chapman? Hopefully a family holiday abroad, preferably by the beach. IG: @kelaoke
Photographer Neil Kryszak IG:@neilkryzak
Words by Alex Dyson I was passing the monkey bars at the community playground on my brief walk to the shops to get some groceries when the song came on. The chunky synth accompanied by urgent, whispered delivery. I’d heard it before at my job at triple j, sure. I might have even referred to it as a “tuna sanga” before. But there was something about affirming lyrics combining with my lengthy stride that made it happen. There were no witnesses luckily, but if they had been on that sunny day in the Melbourne suburbs, they would have witnessed a 29-year-old man, green canvas bag in hand, strutting his stuff like a prizewinning moray eel. The song that was ensuring my hips didn’t lie that day, was Lady Powers by Vera Blue; the lavahaired, angelic-voiced artist who was now talking to me down a phone line from LA where she was spending time writing music, playing shows, attending fashion events, and just generally hanging out in a place that couldn’t be more removed from her regional NSW upbringing. Vera, real name Celia Pavey, laughs at me as I retell the story of my spontaneous suburban strut. “I get tagged in videos of people dancing to that song all the time -
the moves are so sassy!” Sassy is the perfect word. The song is unashamedly empowering: “I’m not going to beg for your respect. I won’t be defined by your eyes.”It’s pretty bad-ass stuff, and as she reminisces to me down the phone line I discover that the 2:53-second long song came to fruition as the microscopic culmination of a string of relationships starting from when Celia was quite young. “I guess with all the music I’ve written since I was 15 because I experienced being in love and being in relationships on and off all the time, it’s been in only recently in the past 8 months have discovered through being by myself and figuring out who I am as a single woman I’ve been able to like grow a sense of empowerment and purpose and know how to be treated, and not just talking as a woman, but for anyone to know who they are, and be treated correctly.” Celia is not alone in this sentiment; both figuratively with #metoo users and equality campaigners everywhere, but also literally in the studio with some of her closest friends.
“A lot of my girlfriends are actually in this song; there’s a spoken work of them saying lady powers at the beginning and every time I say lady powers I have these women that I’m surrounded by in my life saying it with me so really special to have had them involved.” Friends and family seem like a large and crucial part of Celia’s world. Her parents still live and work in her hometown of Forbes, where her mum teaches and her dad runs the local plant nursery. Her mum also plays piano at the local church, where Celia still goes back and sings sometimes. “Yeah, the oldies get a bit excited when they see my sister (Emily) and me standing close to the microphone when we’re back.” And whilst musical talent in the Pavey family tends to skew towards the women, Celia’s dad actually played a vital role in getting her debut album off the ground. No, it wasn’t the fact that he bought a drum kit and started playing it out in the Granny Flat behind the family home like some rebellious teenager in a Simple Plan video clip, but actually when it came to giving the full body of work a name;
“Dad actually titled the album which is a big special thing for me. I was just trying to figure out what the record meant to me. And words that related to emotions, feelings, memories, and things rotating and things coming back year after year and then that and then dad said the word Perrenial and it was just perfect. He works at the local plant nursery and there are certain plants that grow back year after year and it just related to everything that had to do with the album, it was just really special.” I asked if there were any other family suggestions that came from their professions and Celia joked that her sports journalist brother James, may not have been quite as helpful… “Nah, he probably would have said… ’Ahhh, what about calling it... V8 Supercars?’ or something’”* The downside to having such a great family dynamic and also being such a huge star in the rise is, of course, the time spent touring away from those you love, but Celia is sure to facetime her family and friends as often as possible. In fact, as I’m speaking to her she has just moved her flight home forward a few days to get back to Australia quicker. I ask her if the extraneous elements of being a singer in 2018 can take its toll. The interviews, the social media, having to not only create great music but also live an interesting enough life that people pay attention to you. “I think I’ve been through that phase early on when Instagram first had a hold of me and I let it consume my life a bit, but now I think it’s really fun letting fans know what I’m up to. It is kind of never-ending, but it does become a part of life.” Unfortunately, this social media ‘part of life’ can also resemble a ‘cess-pit of strife’ with all the negativity that is bandied about. Luckily, Celia takes a different angle - “I believe in the power of positive thinking. If I do have a vision of something I would like, I don’t push too hard, but maybe that thing you want it there if you keep being you and keep doing things that are positive. And it works for me, I had positive thoughts about supporting Matt Corby at the Enmore, it was like ‘imagine if that happened!’ and then all of a sudden it’s like ‘oh shit, ok, sweet, shit! Argh. Woah!!” (Direct quote).
Celia also finds the social media circles a great platform to shine a light on other artists she is friends with, inspired by, or both. “What I’m doing a lot now is I’m inspired by so many women in the industry, and I love putting that stuff as well. Like Georgia from Broods just launched a new project and it’s mind-blowing.” This is a reference to Georgia Nott, one-half of the NZ duo Broods who has released a solo project which - from the artwork, to the mastering to the management team - has been brought to fruition entirely by a team of women. This “spreading the musical love” as Celia says is such a positive thing in a media industry where often spats can garner much more attention than love. It also reminds me of one of the first photo’s of Celia I saw, taken by a Sydney photographer Mish (who posts under the ‘gram handle of @sheisaphrodite), which was a huge and quite ground-breaking female Australian artist love-in. The group included central coast young gun E^ST, ARIA winner Montaigne, Jen and Rosie from the awesome Sydney band I Know Leopard, DJ extraordinaire Luen Jacobs, and of course Vera Blue herself. It was a really powerful image at the time, not least because I’d never really seen a collaboration like it before or since. Looking at it in light of Celia’s album though, one can attest that it’s pretty much the physical embodiment of Lady Powers. Or should I say, of LADY LADY, LADY, LADY POWERS…. damn, it’s in my head again….
Ahem, anyway, as a young radio host at the time I remember being quite inspired by the photo. These were all very young, very talented, and very ambitious humans, and they were coming together in a way I’d never really seen before; separate musical entities pictured together in strong solidarity. I asked Celia if she still keeps in touch with the crew. “Yeah, Jess (Montaigne) came to my birthday picnic the other day, and we all have a group where everyone chats and everyone keeps in contact and invites everyone to everything it’s really cool.” It’s all very wholesome, and such a wonderful example of the world that, despite the challenges and obstacles, we are quickly moving towards. Not only a music industry in which women can literally accomplish anything without being coddled, patronized or exploited by the men who have had a stranglehold over it for decades, but inversely a world where a grown man can shake his rump and pout his lips to a song about female empowerment. Because overall it’s not about female empowerment, it’s about human empowerment, and while young women for years have had to look through the eyes of male protagonists in film and music and art in general, the balance is beginning to be restored. And just by being herself Vera Blue is at the forefront of that.
*Authors note: I am definitely launching a petition to get Vera Blue to name her second album V8 Supercars. IG: @verabluemusic www.verablue.com IG: @aedyson
â€œ...this collection is about appreciating the little things that we have around us. Looking at what/who we are surrounded by and not just seeing the everyday life, but the beauty. The beauty of the ordinary.â€? 49.
Describe your practice/profession with 5 words: • • • • •
Unexpected Messy Pink Quirky Whimsical
Best and worst thing about your profession? Oh, there are so many great things! The best thing is that as an artist/designer, I/we have the opportunity to make absolutely anything that we want and what we imagine. Being able to create something that we think of unexpectedly and express it through an art piece or clothing is incredible. It’s great that I can let my work naturally tell a story. I like hearing all sorts of stories from different people. It helps me understand my practice more. The worst thing about my profession would have to be the high demand of consumerism in the industry. As it being one of the largest polluter in the world, I’m always conscious with what I produce and sell. Ensuring that I’m not contributing to waste but instead encouraging myself and others to be more environmental friendly in the way they live, consume and wear. What is the biggest challenge you face professionally? I’m sure every artist knows that the creative field is hell of a competitive industry. As a student and an emerging artist, I find it quite challenging to understand sometimes who I am exactly making for. Is it for myself or for a commercialised market? Fashion is
so hard to work at as there’s always some sort of expectation or judgement to what we create. But I guess, that’s when I have to keep reminding myself, that the end of the day, I’m doing something that I’m passionate about. What or who inspires you in your career? If it wasn’t for the people I’m constantly surrounded by, I wouldn’t be the artist I am now! My work is so heavily influenced by who/what I am surrounded by. It’s so important to keep yourself around people who encourage and inspire you and that’s how I was able to build my brand. A brand full of positive energy, colour and just pure honesty. If you weren’t in your profession, what would you do? I’ve always wondered that! Because, to be honest, I’m not actually really good at doing anything else other than art/fashion.. haha. But I do love kids! So if anything, maybe, I would be a babysitter or a kindergarten art teacher. Colour seems to be a main source of inspiration for your work, what makes you step outside of the box with your artwork and fashion? I would look at an object like its black & white, distract myself from colour and start to really focus on its features. That’s when I start to understand its real purpose. Why it moves like that, how it reacts to things or how it feels. I try to not always use colour as my main source but instead use colour to incorporate to my work.
How would you explain your art and what it means to you to be completely vulnerable? To be honest, I actually find it hard to explain my artwork. It’s mostly because I’m still trying to understand what it all means and I find that you never really know till you’re in the ‘right’ moment, you know? It’s when I have a clear mind and that’s when it all happens. When I draw, I allow myself to be completely still completely vulnerable and my mind just naturally creates. If you could collaborate with any Australian Artist, who would that be and why? I would love to collaborate with Liz Payne! I first saw her work when she collaborated with one of my favourite Melbourne brands, Gorman. All of the pieces from that collection are so beautiful. I was immediately intrigued with the way she incorporates textile and art together by using a combination of mediums from painting, embroidery to beading. It’s incredible!!
Where did you grow up and what is your favourite thing about that place? I grew up in the Philippines and moved to Australia when I was eight years old. My grandparents and all of our relatives still live there so when we visit, it’s always lovely to reunite. My grandparents house has got to be my favourite thing about the Philippines. They live out in the province area which is further out from the city which is really nice and remote. Imagine yourself surrounded by plants and fruit trees everywhere. The sky is always clear and the air is fresh with a gentle cold breeze. We would always fall asleep on the veranda after watching the sun set and would wake up the sound of rooster. Oh yeah,it sounds beautiful doesn’t it?! It makes me miss home so much!
What’s your earliest memory of creativity?
with each other and seeing it naturally create.
I was always an artsy, crafty child. When I was younger a family friend of ours taught me how to sew. We would cut out little bits of pieces of fabric from old curtains or pillowcase and make tiny little clothes for my barbie dolls.
What inspired the pieces in ‘Little Things’?
I was a struggling design student / waitress at Nandos...haha. Saving some bucks to spend on materials and fabrics. But I did eventually quit that job and now I’m juggling full time studies, a part-time retail job and my brand.
It was a moment I had when I came home from England. I was there for about six months on exchange and the time I had there really changed the way I saw things in life. I met amazing people that welcomed me and saw beautiful places that just made me appreciate this incredible world. So this collection is about appreciating the ‘little things’ that we have around us. Looking at what/who we are surrounded by and not just seeing the everyday life, but the beauty. The beauty of the ordinary.
What ideas do you find yourself exploring in your art and fashion?
Who are some of your favourite artists at the moment?
I seem to always find myself exploring through the relationship between colour and material. Allowing those elements interact
• • •
What did you do prior to your artistic career?
Mirador LRNCE Fred Fowler
What’s your guilty pleasure? A sneaky sweet treat..like an almond croissant (that I’m actually nibbling on at the moment)....or a nutella tart from Acustico cafe. Yup I have a very (bad) sweet tooth that refuse to admit..haha What music do you create to? It depends on what I’m doing. I could be listening to some funky jazz on a sunny afternoon whilst sewing or a relaxing tune of Angel Olsen or Aldous Harding (who I am loving at the moment) while I’m knitting or drawing. What would you like to tick off your to-do list this year? I would love to go for camping trip to Tasmania! I’d rent a car and just drive around and go for day hikes. IG: @hi.char
â€œ...When I draw, I allow myself to be completely still completely vulnerable and my mind just naturally creates.â€? 55.
Words by Amy Farnworth Practice, practice, practice; it’s the way talents are honed, and it’s common knowledge that if you start early enough, practice often enough, and build on your natural abilities and strengths, then a talent can be bettered, improved, and sometimes even perfected. That’s why 21-year-old James Franklin - who confesses he flew out of the womb singing and wrote his first song at the age of seven, started performing at the age of 12 and began producing at 17 - never stops practicing. With a voice similar to that of James Bay, the rugged looks of Matt Corby, the production, soul and jazz qualities of the UK’s Jamie Cullum, and the energy of Paolo Nutini, James Franklin is Australia’s next big thing. Picked up by triple j’s unearthed in 2016, who called him, ‘one of the most exciting new acts in the music business’, Franklin has released two EPs, has continuously toured, has pumped
out tracks left right and centre, and is currently working on a new release. “You can expect something in 2018 but I can’t give away too much just yet,” says the singersongwriter-cum producer, “all I will say is that some of the best songs I have ever written are being recorded as we speak.” Gifted the sounds of legendary industry heavyweights such as Sting, Stevie Wonder, Alison Krauss, and Michael Jackson through listening to his parents’ music collection, Franklin says that before he could even speak, he was dancing along to those artists. And once he’d crafted this talent for dancing, he moved on to song-writing, singing, performing and finally, producing; the stage he’s now at in his musical career. “It was a natural progression through each step, and I really made a conscious decision to allow myself to get to a
comfortable level of each component of music creation. That being said, I never really wanted to be a ‘producer’, I always thought of myself as a writer or performer and most of the time I still do. It’s something I fell into because I had songs to record, and when I took them to the studio, the engineer asked, ‘What are you going to add?’ I just pretended like I knew what I was doing, and it worked!” Describing his style of music as ‘pop with soul’, he combines soulful, bluesy riffs to create something that’s fresh, funky and endearing. His sounds mesmerise crowds, connecting with audiences across the world. And touring far and wide is something that Franklin is no stranger to, playing festivals and supporting artists such as 5 Second of Summer, The Getaway Plan and Hot Potato Band, a group we at The Eye championed last year.
“Festivals are incredible because everyone is there to listen and have a good time. But, there’s nothing like playing your own show because people are there to see you and usually have expectations; that’s when you can do the unexpected. Headline shows allow me to really tell a story in a set. “When I released Pumpkin Pie in 2016, it changed my whole life. I started getting interest overseas and my gigs started getting bigger. Since then I’ve toured the USA, playing shows in LA, Nashville, Memphis, Austin and New York, which has been a dream of mine since I began singing.” And it’s this journey of constant progression, of putting his music out there, that he finds incredible, likening touring to being able to eat cake every single night of the week without getting fat.
and he attributes some of this success to the development in technology and the fact music is so accessible these days. “I and all other artists of this era are lucky we have services such as streaming sites. When I announced the shows in the USA last year, I had no idea what was going to happen. I had been receiving messages for a while from people saying they were fans of my music but when I booked the shows I believed that no one was going to come, and then they came, and the reason they came is because they had heard my music online. Streaming sites often get a bad name, but they deserve credit for giving smaller artists a platform on the international stage.” Listening to both his EPs, and engaging in his storytelling, it feels like we’ve heard Franklin before but can’t quite put our finger on where. It’s like he’s familiar yet completely original at the same time. His sounds a fusion of soul, funk, jazz, and pop all merged together in an acoustic cacophony filled with sentiment and a barrage of love. He writes with a desire for people to gain something by listening to his music. Messages of love, hope and peace resonate throughout his work, and he says the power a song has has always been part of the reason he became a singer/songwriter.
“...The power to change the way someone is feeling is an incredible thing and it’s a challenge that fuels me to be a better songwriter every single day.”
“I’m sure everyone reading this has a favourite food, maybe it’s a slice of the world’s most magnificent chocolate cake and you get it on special occasions and it changes your life; your taste buds are singing, your serotonin is rising, life is good. Performing gives me the same feeling. So touring is incredible because it makes me feel whole.” Explaining that although the music business can be frustrating and fickle, having no other passion or desires in life, except to create and perform great music makes it impossible for Franklin to ever consider throwing in the towel. His music, he says, is not just a song or a riff, his music is him, and to give up would be to give up on himself as a human. Which is comforting to know because as he grows as an artist, spends more and more hours honing his craft, and putting himself out there, he’s gaining a fan base not just in Australia, but on the international circuit too,
“The power a song has should not be abused; when people listen to your creations, you should hope that they gain something from the experience. The power to change the way someone is feeling is an incredible thing and it’s a challenge that fuels me to be a better songwriter every single day.” IG: @jamesfranklinmusic
Tell us about yourself... Well, I’ve always been the creative type, but let’s say my talents laid dormant for a while. To give you a bit of context, I was born and raised in New-Caledonia. It’s this tiny French island lost in the Pacific ocean. Population is 300,000 people and most of them are pretty old school and narrow minded. Life in paradise was pretty sweet I’m not going to lie, but creatively speaking I always had a bit of a blockage over there. Then I moved to Melbourne in 2012 and that’s when I really found myself as an artist. What do you love about illustration? I guess it is just my preferred form of expression. It is how I chose to express myself. Some people write, some others dance or sing, and I just draw Can you describe your design process a little? My design process huh? It is so unreliable. I’m a rather rationale person in most contexts, but really quite impulsive when it comes to my art. Sometimes I pretend to be organized. I sit in front of my desk, try to gather ideas, sketch out concepts and after a day I just don’t have anything decent to show. And some other times, im just walking down the street, or having a shower or doing something totally random and BOOM. Here it comes. Inspiration. And when it’s here, oh man. I could spend the whole night drawing. It’s quite curious really, but my creativity isn’t something I control. I don’t think I even want to. It’s the beauty of it. It’s like magic. That being said, It is quite
inconvenient If you want to be a successful, full time illustrator with deadlines to respect and all. Lol. Recently you started sketching on a tablet - how are you finding it!? I think it’s a great time saver. But it almost feels like cheating at times. You can trace over images, erase in a flick of a sec. It really is limitless in terms of possibilities. If you need to be productive and smash multiple illustrations a day, in an agency context for example, the I-pad is your man. But personally, for my current illustration style, using the I-pad just feels too easy and almost inauthentic. It just ends up looking like everything else you see on Pinterest and Instagram. So for my black work (stuff you see on Insta) I think I’ll keep drawing the good old way. I do have a digital side project though and using the I-pad for that has been amazing so far. How are the tarot cards going? Oh man. I’m down to four at the moment I think. My main problem is that I’ve got too many ideas and tarot cards are just one of them. Let say it’s going to be a lifelong project. You have a knack for balance and composition. Did you study art, or is it all self-taught? I studied graphic design. Looking back at it, I think it is the best decision I’ve ever made. I think art subjects are very abstracts. It’s a lot of theory, they teach you how to think and conceptualize perhaps. But Graphic design really I down-to-earth, practical skills. And it helps a lot if you want to be a freelance artist, create a bit of a
brand for yourself and use social media for exposure. The tattooing, how did it come about? Is it something that you always wanted to do? Not really. It’s becoming so popular these days with instagram and all, but it is actually really hard to get a foot in this world when you don’t have anyone to guide you. I did have a fair bit of people asking for tattoo designs which I really enjoyed doing. I got a bit lost after graduating from University and I considered tattooing as option at some point. It never really came to fruition though because I got a full time job as a digital designer. I still fancy the idea sometimes and I might learn stick and poke in my free time but it’s going to stay a side project for now. What be a dream project for you? I’ve got so many and they keep changing. At the moment I think my dream is to be commissioned by NASA. I think if I could do it all over again I would be an astronaut. What is currently keeping you busy; any big projects underway? I FINALLY got a full time job as a Digital designer, my first job post graduation and design related. It only took me two years lol (I can hear my dad right now saying an art degree wouldn’t take me anywhere) So all of my side projects are on hold at the moment. I’m working on big illustrations projects at work but it’s quite a different style, a bit more corporate and of course all digital. It’s a nice change!
Where do you practise tattooing? Hum.. In my living room? On whoever has a spare piece of skin they are willing to waste? Nah more seriously, I don’t actually tattoo. Maybe one day! You work in black and white a lot - what is it about the aesthetic that you love so much? I didn’t really choose to be honest. I think it is the natural outcome of me working with geometry a lot. A fineliner is just the best medium for it. And quite honestly, I suck at mixing colours. What’s next for you? More digital stuff for sure! And maybe colours (it’s time I learn) What artwork are you most proud of and what is its meaning to you? I think it would be ‘oneness’ because it so personal to me. It is surely my most emotional piece. I’ve done it after we learned my grandma had cancer. Part of her diagnostic and treatment was made here in Australia and I accompanied her every step of the way. It really changed my outlook on life as well as my understanding of my mind and body. What I wanted to convey in this piece is that your body and mind are talking to each other. What you say, think or feel, everything has an impact on your body. Positive or negative.
As I said earlier, art is my way of expressing myself. My artworks are representations of those different steps of my life or ‘spiritual’ journey if you like to call it that way. They are born from the things I’ve learned along the way, what life taught me at a particular moment. It is kind of visual representation of my quest to find the ‘meaning of life’ (or at least my life). I don’t think humans are meant to live constantly looking for more money, material goods and all that crap. I believe there is something more to life on earth. What inspires you daily? Everything. Like, literally everything. Melbourne is such an inspiring city, I mean even the bins are technological artefacts here! Do you have any rituals that you perform when being creative? I cannot even imagine drawing without music, they are totally indissociable things. What Australian artists are you currently crushing on? I would say Mark Conlan. He’s actually Irish but he lives in Melbourne (it counts right?!) His illustrations are just magical and it is definitely my biggest inspiration for my digital project at the moment. And he does draw quite a lot of space shit, which is my jam, in case you didn’t notice. IG: @mariforitart
Some of your work is very spiritual, explain why this is an important factor in showing who you are as an artist.
â€œI gain inspiration from party shirts, Australian film, old signage, the Australian music scene, and the general day to day attitude of the average Aussie...â€?
Words by Amy Farnworth For a long time, Cassie Stevens thought illustrators only worked on children’s books, and artists only lived off the landscape and floral arrangement paintings they sold. How wrong she was. And how pleased I was that she finally realised the error of her ways and delved into the chasm of Australian contemporary culture and art. Looking through her Instagram account, I immediately fell in love with her style, and, if I’m being totally honest, I felt a few pangs of jealousy too. Her work is just so good. The lines, the colours, the shapes, the politico-social messages in her drawings, the detail. It all got me thinking - I wished I were that creative. I wished I could paint like that. And then I thought, hang on, I can’t paint; I can barely draw a stick man let alone create something that’s worthy of being in Beat Magazine; I’m a writer, I can write about this shit. And so here I am, writing about how envious I am of someone else’s talents. But that’s not a bad thing. Not at all. For Cassie Stevens is talented on a level I’m not just jealous of, I’m pretty much in awe of. Describing her style as a little bit cheeky, but very serious at times too, Stevens, who also goes by the moniker, Soggy Savoy, likes to view things with an Australian
social commentary, creating a body of work that makes the ordinary appear exciting. And getting to draw all day long from the confines of her home, having the option to not wear pants while she works (I feel ya, sister), getting to wander round her own space without considering the restrictions a studio or office can place on her imagination, and working to a time frame that is completely hers, sounds like absolute bloody heaven to me. Stevens paints, she draws, she thinks outside the box, she loves getting her hands dirty; she’s pretty freakin’ awesome to be honest and her artwork absolutely conveys this. Works such as her Billy Fleming and Zach Stephenson portraits, in which she’s illustrated the Hockey Dads members smashing tinnies and looking all brooding and nonchalant; and her Mick Molloy mural in Richmond, Victoria, which she made the Channel 7 news with; and her penchant for drawing a lot of dicks and taking the piss out of everything Australian depicts a confidence that says: ‘I know what I do, and I’m doing it well!’ And having exhibited in group shows with Dangerfork, The Culprit Club, BSIDE, Decks for Change, The Stockroom and
Dodgy Paper; and having worked alongside No Cure Magazine, Beat Magazine and The National Trust of Australia; and Melbourne Bitter for artwork on their tinnies; Brunswick Beer Collective, and Mr. Banks Brewery, where her designs were seen on the side of their cans, it’s clear that her art is so much more than just something she does for fun. But what is it she loves so much about Australian contemporary culture? “As a country separated from the world, it really is like a nationwide mate-ship. I love how Australians can take the piss out of just about anything and really kick on with a ‘she’ll be right’ attitude.” Stevens has also worked with comedian Luke Kidgell, and many other people whom she likes to call ‘amazing’, and doesn’t shy away from experimenting with her collaborations, always seeking out cool stuff to inspire her; pushing herself forward and learning from creating. “I gain inspiration from party shirts, Australian film, old signage, the Australian music scene, and the general day to day attitude of the average Aussie. I also love the work of other illustrators such as Sean Morris, Reg Mombassa, Callum Preston, and Andy Murphy.”
And Stevens loves Reg Mombassa so much, that she even created her own ode to the artist and musician back in 2017, which can be seen in all its glory on her Instagram profile (go take a look, it’s pretty rad). Most of her illustration work is created using the basic round brush in Photoshop on her Surface Pro, but recently she’s worked on a few murals and loves getting her hands dirty when painting on such a large scale. “I’d like to get more involved in ceramics,” she says, “bringing my two-dimensional work to life.” This is something that she can, no doubt, achieve, and while she’s currently collaborating with some other artists on some cool zines, looking to publish a zine of her own soon, there’s plenty of scope and opportunity for her branch out and build on her talents. How easy is it then, to make a living from what she does best? And are artists and illustrators recognised enough for what they produce?
“I feel that it can be easy to make a living, if you put the effort in. You have to just keep smashing out work and learn from creating things. It helps to network too, and to reach out to other creatives you admire. My main advice is to not undervalue your own time and work though.” With this in mind, effort and loving what you do is at the epicentre of being successful, and when asked what the best thing about being an illustrator is, Stevens replied: “I get to draw all day long, and I am lucky to see how my work resonates with other people and brings a smile to their faces.” Flicking through her catalogue of work and reading up on Stevens’ ethic has certainly impressed me, and a lot of it has resonated with me on a deeper level, but what it’s also done is put a huge smile on my face and gained her a little bit of a fan-girl following; and this is definitely something she should be proud of. IG: @soggysavoy
Photographer Mclean Stephenson
NSW Swamp to Sahara artist, Lola Scott has recently made a move into the big, wide world of ‘solo artistry’ and we for one, could not be more excited! Making a name for herself amongst the Australian music scene, Lola Scott shakes off her country roots and creates a uniquely raw sound that we haven’t heard before. Through the sweet ethereal synths and strong beats arises an angelic voice with the strength to pull at your heart strings, yet keep you on your feet dancing and swaying all night long. Lola Scott’s debut release ‘Hush’ acquires all the material for a number one hit, mixed with the professionalism of a seasoned artist. The
track is recorded and co-produced by Dave Hammer (Washington, Nicole Millar) with drums by Miles Thomas (Montaigne) and with all other instruments played by Lola Scott herself. Influences include Wolf Alice, Emma Louise and Lianne La Havas, proving a truely unique and original blend of sounds. Her debut single follows a toxic love story twisted with jealousy and fear and introduces a lighter side through the melody and vocals that adds the perfect balance. HUSH releases 23rd March, 2018. www.facebook.com/lolascottmusic
There’s something significant that I can relate to with artist Vanessa Vanderhaven, and it’s not that we can both put pencil to paper to create a little something called ‘art’. It’s the incredibly hard and tumultuous way that we both started our careers in the creative industry, and the way we found ourselves on the path we ultimately needed to take after taking a detour around the path expected of us. Going against the norm is always a hard route to take, especially when those people setting the expectations are your family and peers, and ultimately, yourself. Who you thought you would be is not who you’re meant to be; and that’s a hard pill to swallow, especially as a growing artist. Vanessa grew up with her mother as a fashion designer, and wanting to follow in her footsteps, she attended Fashion School to meet that dream. However, things didn’t go the way she thought they would. Class after class, she found that fashion was just not her thing. “I failed in basically every area of making actual clothes. There was one class that I was ‘OK’ at though, which was fashion illustration.” The bravery it takes to accept that you’re not made for something you built yourself up believing for YEARS, is tremendous. A lot of people will spend a lot of their lives trying to make it work, thinking that the only path in front of them is the one laid out for them, and won’t even think about paving a new path for themselves built with love, passion and dreams. But that’s exactly what Vanessa did. “I poured everything I had, every morsel of
energy and hope left over from face planting my childhood dream and built up a new dream. In less dramatic terms, my sense of self is very much about my creativity and creating beautiful things. Always was and always will be.” Being a sustainable, environmentally friendly, worldsaving business is all the rage these days, and if you don’t have the right pro-environment, pro-humanity message built into your business plan your audience is most likely to come and go as quickly as the 2017 doughnut trend. When asked what illustration means to her and how she will tackle this issue, she answered: “More recently as an adult, I really care about what my art does for the world. I am not saving lives, so I’ve been thinking about how I can make a positive impact otherwise - and that is to inspire. Inspiration can be so impossible for us sometimes, and if I have any power in building that up for someone, then that’s a wonderful thing for me too.” Like all creative ventures, Fashion Illustration is something that takes time (lots of it), and a whole lot of drive to succeed in; traits that Vanessa has in spades. “I have always been a hands-on creative person with a deep-rooted drive to succeed. Coming from a family of small-businesses, entrepreneurship has been in my heart since day dot. The combination of creativity, drive and a head full of ideas I guess is what drives me to create and develop my work.”
Not only is this creative entrepreneur a celebrated illustrator, she has also paved her own path toward teaching others the tricks of the trade. Always had trouble drawing noses or mouths? Still attempting to get past the stick-figure stage of your life? Vanessa’s your girl. Leading master-classes in fashion illustration is something that this incredible young woman feels is a way to connect a service to others to inspire them to create beautiful work alongside her. As well as this public service, she has also dabbled in public speaking, with a panel speaking position for We Teach Me, Master Series in Creativity and Where It Comes From, in 2017. “Public speaking is something I’ve always fantasised about doing, to stand up and share my story and inspire others in any way I can - so I was determined to break through any barrier to achieve it. And I can say, it was terrifying the first time, and the second time… but such an overwhelmingly wonderful experience. I love the rush, and feeling so vulnerable, connecting with others on a genuine level, it really pays off.”
The mix between digital and traditional art within her works is something that has set her aesthetic apart from other illustrators, setting her apart from her peers in the way of stepping out of a comfort zone of sorts. The self-awareness that this sort of determination brings is astounding and is not often spoken about so openly. “The transition from black and white illustration to more colourful mediums and styles was one bred out of pure boredom and feeling limited. I felt like I was evolving as a person and my work was no longer fully reflecting that - so I turned to experimentation to find out how to add more colour and flare to my work.” Working toward a series of new projects, including collaborations with other Australian artists (watch this space), Vanessa isn’t showing signs of slowing down anytime soon. Aiming higher and pushing her dreams as far as they can go are the accolades in which this talent thrives, which in itself is the most inspiring story I’m yet to come across as a creative entrepreneur myself.
With a homewares business, wedding stationery, conceptual design business and more collaborations with fashion and beauty brands (with the focus on self-care and empowering others) as well as publishing books on design and illustration being among the goals on this young artist’s to do list in the near to far future. For now though, working on her online master classes and putting her focus into teaching is where she’s hoping to expand, with the odd holiday here and there (because hey, the girl needs a break too). To learn from this super-star illustrator, visit the link below. Upcoming Workshops http://www.vanessavanderhaven.com/ workshops/ IG: @vanessavanderhaven
Tell us about your recent show ‘home comforts’. Home Comforts was a series of drawings I created for the exhibition “Disperse”, curated by Chiranjika Grasby (an amazingly talented Adelaide artist). Home Comforts was about embracing the unique cultural identity of being Asian Australian. The series depicted myself surrounded by the food of home – of my childhood. Food is always a major theme in my art because I bloody love to eat! In this instance, I used food to explore my feelings of distance and belonging in relation to my Chinese background. When I was young, I used to be embarrassed by the Chinese meals my mum prepared. Why did I have to have congee and pickles for breakfast instead of eggs and bacon? Couldn’t we have spag bol for dinner just this once? Now that I’ve moved out, I miss the cuisine and the connection to my heritage. You draw what you know, which is incredibly relatable to almost every human i know. Describe what it’s like embracing your honest self through your art. My personality is equal parts narcissistic and self-deprecating, so I love drawing myself but in a very unglamorous way. My characters are on the toilet or eating a whole bag of chips in
bed, they have stomach rolls and double chins. It’s pretty therapeutic to draw myself as I am. What’s your favorite piece so far, and what meaning does it have to you? My favourite piece is a drawing called “Greed” which is the first thing I’d ever made for an exhibition. I love it because it’s so colourful and full of seafood and also because when I was done I was like “damn, I can’t believe I drew this”. There was a feeling I wanted to capture with Greed – the spirit of your favourite illustrated children’s book but grown up. I think I captured it, and I was very proud. You’re a zine creator! I envy artists like you that can do that. What got you started in the zine scene? I got started with zines because of Zombie Queen – aka the coolest person in Adelaide. Zombie Queen ran an event called Zine Swap and before that I had no idea what a zine was. But now I know anyone can be a zine creator! Zines are just a physical representation of creative energy and they can basically be anything, they are the last true democratic art form.
ban she What mediums do you use in your work? I use markers like Copics, Tombows and Windsor & Martins, and every now and then I’ll make sad attempts at painting and digital. Do you just have sketchbooks everywhere around your home? Yes, but not in a cool artist way, more in a hoarding junk way. Do you struggle with juggling a ‘normal job’ with a creative life? Almost like you’re living a double life? I have a full-time, 9-5 office job – like an actual CAREER job and it’s so, so hard to balance it with making art. I am so tired all the time. Like, I called my last zine “So Tired” because that’s all I could think about. I still have this image of myself as an amazing 70 year old Yayoi Kusama type, wowing the art world and wearing qipaos exclusively with like a perfect bowl haircut. I’ve accepted that I don’t need to make it as an artist while I’m young and I’m okay with that.
What do you think are your main hurdles to jump over as an artist making moves in the scene? I’ve not really made a career out of art, so I can’t really speak to what it takes to truly make it in the art world. However, I can pretty much pinpoint my move to Adelaide (from Sydney) as a major turning point for me in becoming more active in the art scene. I think you’re better off in a smaller city as an emerging artist as it can be harder to gain profile in a bigger city. If you could work alongside or collab with a certain Aussie artist, who would that be and why? I would love to collaborate with Manal Younus (and hopefully will be very soon), a writer and performer from Adelaide. She’s a fantastic storyteller –intimidatingly talented and motivated. She’s a voice that needs to be amplified and I want to be part of that. What do you think is the unique factor in your work? My work is positive, bold and unashamed, but also banal and a tiny bit subversive. Patterns are HUGE in your work, and we just happen to be patterns biggest fans (selfproclaimed of course). Why patterns, and what do they mean to you? Patterns are exuberant, colourful and fun to draw. It gets boring filling in large blank spaces with one colour, you gotta pack as many colours in as possible.
You seem to be a cat person, do you have cats at home? No, I wish I was responsible enough to have a pet. I think I was a cat in another life and my favourite pastime is singing songs where I replace all the words with “meow” sounds. What’s one of your favourite childhood memories that you would love to create in your artwork? I want to recreate the times when I used to make my little brother “race” me to see who could finish our ice cream cones faster and I would always let him win so I could enjoy my ice cream after he’d finished his. But I can’t really draw boys. Do you have to be in a certain frame of mind to create? First, I have to have some free time. Then, I need to waste most of that free time doing absolutely nothing. Finally, I have to feel so sick about wasting my free time that I force myself to sit in the studio and make something. What are you working on at the moment? Fun, personal projects. I’ve been loving shrink plastic jewellery and pins at the moment, and just need more free time to make stuff. What’s next for you? I will be travelling to Japan again mid-year and making a giant travel journal zine about the trip. It’s going to be epic and full of food. So much food. IG: @banshe.gram
K Australian Made, Vegan, Cruelty Free and 10-Free
Australiaâ€™s most innovative ethical beauty brand kesterblack.com 92.
Issue 11 of The Eye Creative welcomes Vera Blue, Alex Dyson, Kelaoke, Hi Char, Lola Scott, James Franklin, Yiying Lee and cover star; Tara W...
Published on Mar 16, 2018
Issue 11 of The Eye Creative welcomes Vera Blue, Alex Dyson, Kelaoke, Hi Char, Lola Scott, James Franklin, Yiying Lee and cover star; Tara W...