A VISUAL LIFE | Creative Direction + Design

Tag: illustration

TYPE-RIGHTER // vintage pub art

Pubs in Australia are part of the suburban landscape and iconic to our culture. It’s a shame that so many are disappearing and being redeveloped into high rise apartment blocks due to the land size and good locations. Luckily there are some that are bought and revamped but it’s a fine balance of keeping the heritage while bringing them to the modern age. The architectural styles of the buildings can vary like Federation or Art Deco but I also find the signage used at the time interesting.

Vintage posters and beer branded signs were commonly displayed because the breweries had major influence over pubs by controlling the choice of beers they sold. Tooth & Co dominated in Sydney and eventually bought out Resch’s, which led to them owning the majority of city pubs. Tooth’s branding is still seen around such as this painted mural at Terminus Hotel in Pyrmont. Posters advertising beer brands were also popular and can still be spotted in older areas like The Rocks. I particularly like this Victoria Bitter one at the Royal Hotel in Bondi as the surfer represents the beach area and the graphic style is reflective of the era.

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STREETSCAPES // goddard street

There are plenty of streets and laneways in Newtown filled with street art but Goddard Street is one of my favourite spots. I love how the whole walls are covered in artworks all lined up like an art gallery space. Works by various artists with different styles and themes create an interesting mix. They do change around so it’s always worth having a stroll to see how it’s evolved from the last time. These photos were taken awhile ago so I’m definitely due to do another shoot soon.

TYPE-RIGHTER // presence

As a graphic designer I have a love for typography and I’m fascinated with the process of creating type. Typographers can have creativity but the successful ones also need the technical knowledge and finesse to make it work. Sydney illustrator and artist Gemma O’Brien has become famous for her font-based artworks and large-scale picturesque murals. She also uses the pseudonym Mrs Eaves for her social media and has had many commercial successes. Respected and recognised for her work, she has presented many talks on typography at design seminars worldwide. Her works predominantly mix lettering with illustrative elements to create visual illusions between the written word and intricate line patterns.

This weekend she had created two large hand-painted installations on the gallery walls at China Heights for her show Presence. The word JOY is almost illegible even though the letters are bold but it is delicately intertwined with flowing lines and botanical references. The other wall is blank except for black script with the phrase Desire Seeks Mystery as a simple statement. These may seem conceptual but the message reflects her personal view of feeling good in an age of global uncertainty. Only on show for three days before being painted over forever, the limited time gives the pieces an energy and performance art effect due to their temporary nature.

DEAR DIARY // the big design market

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In perfect timing for Christmas, The Big Design Market was on at The Royal Hall of Industries over three days this weekend in Sydney (Melbourne is on 2-4 December). Starting in Melbourne in 2012, this is the first year it’s come to Sydney and I think it’s debut was a success. Showcasing the best of local and international art, craft and design with over 200 stands of unique, exclusive products. There’s an emphasis on ethical production, sustainability, quality, originality and good design. This shopping mecca caters to all ages with a huge choice of everything you could ever need – or just really, really want!

There’s also a limited number of showbags on offer with a selection of pieces from the designers involved. Another innovative extension to the stalls are the creative workshops hosted by stallholders and renowned designers such as Sibella Court, Beci Orpin and Home-Work. With free kids activities and areas to sit and relax, it’s an enjoyable day out for the whole family. You may need to refuel for energy, so there’s plenty of delicious food and drink from all your favourite local taste-makers.

MASTERSTROKE // frida loves diego

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Frida Kahlo has been adored as an artist worldwide and as a national treasure in Mexico. Her work and life is celebrated in literature and film, and she is still influential as a feminist icon today. Suffering injuries from an accident she began to paint while recovering in hospital. Initially fame came to her when she married the acclaimed painter Diego Rivera, but her auto-biographical paintings eventually gained her the respect and recognition she deserved.

Frida’s art chronicled her physical hardships and relationship betrayals. In particular her self-portraits feel intimately real but as if she were hiding the secrets of her personal life, with Diego even nicknaming her ‘the great concealer’. Diego focussed on painting the serious problems of the world and they both became involved in politics and the issues facing their country. 

The exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW was so popular that it was extended. The artworks are from the collection of Jacques and Natasha Gelman who were their friends, although this friendship was complicated with extramarital affairs. Photographs and letters were also on display, which gave an insight into the family dynamics and the problems they faced. The bond between these two colourful characters is undeniable when you watch them lovingly interact in the Super 8 film footage shown on screens at the end of the exhibit. The couple had an intriguing relationship but ultimately their artistic world endures as well as their revolutionary and modern views.

STYLE FILE // collette dinnigan

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‘Collette Dinnigan: Unlaced’ at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney is the first exhibition to showcase the breadth of her work and design process. Featuring distinctive pieces from the archives grouped in a series of themes, the vignettes are offset by a video wall with continuous footage from catwalk shows. She is an internationally acclaimed Australian fashion designer with a career spanning more than 25 years and a celebrity following. Photographs from editorial spreads and campaigns reiterate the label’s feminine designs and romantic aesthetic.

The highlight for me was the vision and creativity behind the scenes which is on display with a variety of moodboards in different colourways. It was interesting to see how inspiration was born from artistic influences, cultural travel, vintage details and natural elements. At the end of the exhibit you get a chance to play and sketch your own designs on paper cutouts which are then displayed in an illustrated Parisian backdrop. Overall it was an escape into the fashion world and an insight into the stages of how ideas evolve and transform into a collection.

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