For this article in the international artist series, we turn to Australia, featuring six artists who create fantastic work, from illustration to graphic design and more! I asked each artist how their country and culture inspired their work, and they delivered fantastic answers. Enjoy!
Melissa So is a graphic designer and calligrapher based in Sydney, Australia. Her work focuses on beautiful handmade typography that is bold and elegant. Check out a small selection of her work below or see more in her portfolio.
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I love the unique Australian sense of humor. We have a tradition of mocking ourselves and each other. I find this type of cheekiness to be very enriching in my day to day life. There’s always a good laugh to be found with an Australian!
The other great thing is the landscape. I live in the city where it’s bustling, but there’s always a picturesque pocket of nature to escape to. It’s just beautiful.
Aww Yeah! Neon Sign
I live in Sydney and am fortunate to be surrounded by amazing museums and galleries featuring some fantastic contemporary art. I like visiting these places because I can view the world through another artist’s work. What has influenced my work the most is the street art. When I walk to work I always see a new mural, poster, or a message scrawled on the wall. I like how fleeting street art is and always pause to think about what that artist is telling the public. I am a letterer and all my work involves words so I’m always thinking about what type of message I’m putting out there.
Greetings From Spewcastle
There’s a great sense of ambition in the art community here. I have a great respect for artists who really go for it and just make art because it’s in their blood. I love going to solo and group shows and seeing the support of the art community there. It’s very encouraging.
Chris is an animator and illustrator based in Sydney, Australia. His colorful illustrations tell unique stories with a comedic flair. Check out a small selection of his work below or see more in his portfolio.
Gif Collection 2016
I lived in London for 2 years and it's amazing what a little blue above you does for the mood. I love the relaxed, relatively slow pace of Sydney and even though I'm not really a beachy person (I'm about as pale as an A4 sheet of printer paper) I love knowing that the coast is right there.
Gif Collection 2015
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I grew up on the coast but I was always more obsessed with books, cartoons, and computers than what was going on around me. Australia is a wonderful mish-mash of many cultures and I love that, but the influence of American exports is probably the biggest inspiration when it comes to my work. Aussie kids grew up on American cartoons in the 80s and 90s, and I'd say that was my biggest influence along with video games.
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The animation community is quite small, but the illustration community is much, much bigger. My agency (The Jacky Winter Group) has their own gallery in Melbourne called Lamington Drive which I'm keen to check out at times. In Sydney, there are a variety of performing arts spaces, film and theater schools, and seasonal world class events like Vivid Festival to get involved in.
Sophie Miller is a digital artist based in Sydney, Australia. Her work features amazing pop culture digital paintings as well as gorgeous personal pieces. Check out a small selection of her work below or see more in her portfolio.
I love everything about living in Australia, but I particularly love how beautiful it is. I have traveled to many different parts of this country and I am still amazed by how stunning the scenery is. Respecting nature and taking care of the land is very important to Australians, and I love that.
The region can be very inspiring. I live in an area that is close to a big, beautiful, national park. I find that being among the serenity of nature assists greatly in sparking my creativity even though I don't feature nature in my art.
Raye Boyce Commission
Buffy and Willow
The art community here is very strong and supportive. There are two large galleries in my area and quite a few art schools. There are also lots of cafes and restaurants that display and sell art, and there are always local artists at markets. There's art pretty much everywhere, it's great!
Bobby is an illustrator and designer based in Melbourne, Australia. His love of typography translates to his exciting work of unique handcrafted designs. Check out a small selection of his work below or see more in his portfolio.
'Sydney' for Piece Out
I migrated here from Indonesia in ’98 along with my family so living in Australia offered a new refuge to us and a window to a new world to learn from. It was a place which I knew had a rich history of contemporary art and design. In that period of time, I actually studied western art and design history, but also got heavily involved with a cultural education group where I later taught Asian art all around Australia.
State of Origins
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I have to say Australia is lucky to be situated so close to Asia because the two can work together to thrive and learn from one another. I know that the decorative aesthetics of South East Asian traditional art is something that I was influenced by because it was such a big part of my childhood, however, it was in conflict with the minimalist Swiss style that I was taught. Somewhere along the line I discovered a generation of local and international typographers that were creating art that had similar aesthetics and through following their work, I discovered a visual heritage that comes from calligraphy.
The small community that we have here is close and super supportive of one another. I tried to contribute to the scene by creating the Melbourne Lettering Club as a platform where letterers can share knowledge and inspiration. We have over 1000 members on Facebook now and have worked together on group projects. It’s super rewarding to see that some of the kids that never painted before are now doing murals left and right.
Mei is an illustrator and print designer based in Melbourne, Australia. Her beautiful print designs are playful and feature dreamy palettes of color. Check out a small selection of her work below or see more in her portfolio.
L'Apothicaire de Aureum
There's so much to love about Australia! Apart from pointing out the obvious, such as the beautiful weather and beaches of Sydney, and the creative arts culture of Melbourne, what I love most about Australia is that it's a melting pot of such diversity and culture from around the world.
Painterly Abstract - Continued
I'm glad that I can find inspiration easily within the city or outdoors. I could take a tram up to the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) for exhibitions, walk around the beautiful Botanical Gardens, or stroll down the lane ways of Melbourne and be inspired. It is exciting living in this city for someone who is involved in the creative industry because inspiration is just about everywhere.
Two Dukes & A Cat
There's such an atmosphere of harmony within the art community here. The best part is that many of the designers themselves are so lovely and down-to-earth that you cultivate a stronger, personalized bond with the maker of the product. You can also find short courses in design and lectures for anyone interested in knowing more about a specific art field. Not only is the art community amazing, but I would say that it's very encouraging as well.
Max is a freelance illustrator based in Sydney, Australia. His illustrations feature vibrant colors with the ability to tell unique stories. Check out a small selection of his work below or see more in his portfolio.
Finder and Seeker
Australians like to mingle and chat to different people, you're never alone when you're in Sydney.
Since Australia's mainstream culture is still quite young it tends to be more borrowed from other cultures, so a lot of what I grew up with tended to be from foreign films, cartoons and comics.
Goddess of Misfits
The Suspects NYC
At the moment there is a great divide in the art scene between your more profitable artists. Which is a shame because there's a big hungry scene waiting to get out there but it's hard when the opportunities are so few and far in-between. I guess that's why we need to be kicking it harder to get it going in Sydney because it has the potential to have a thriving art scene for everyone!
Many thanks to the artists above, who took time to answer my questions and share a bit about themselves and the impact their country and/or culture has had their work. You can check out more of their work in the links below:
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