A VISUAL LIFE | Creative Direction + Design

Tag: surry hills

MASTERSTROKE // poster poetry

Banksy has become world famous for his political street art but the mystery behind his identity garners just as much interest as his art. I’ve come across posters around the streets of Sydney with profound words but the creators remain anonymous. Sometimes the messaging is simple or has a satirical take with dark humour but the reader can interpret it to their own lives. It’s such a shame that council often removes them, like this second photo I took in Surry Hills years ago which is sadly gone. I came across the first poster recently on a wall in Oxford Street near the cinema, so I’m hoping it stays there for people to see. Coming across these poetic gems not only makes your journey more interesting but also gives you something to think about.


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.

INSTA-JAM // 2016 countdown

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I know it’s like wishing time away but I think we all agree that 2016 has been a very interesting year that has been punctuated by loss and turmoil. Now that the end of the year is counting down, I’m looking forward to a new year of hope and beauty. I’m sharing some moments from my Instagram as a reminder of brighter times and moving into the future. Wishing you all a peaceful, fun holiday break and may 2017 shine!

TYPE-RIGHTER // message in a tile



The design trends of all things genuine and handcrafted has also seen the resurgence of the traditional art of signwriting. I love historic shop fronts with faded hand-painted signs or gold leaf typography, but they are fast disappearing. Another clever signage method is using tiles to mosaic the message which gives a fun and whimsical result. There’s not many around so I’m on the hunt…

MASTERSTROKE // poster posers




The simplicity of a striking image or a written passage can portray so much on something as simple as a poster. With all the exposure we have to so many digital platforms it’s nice to see how the beauty of a printed image on paper still stands out on the street. Whether it’s to capture our attention or convey a message or to just be an artwork on it’s own.

STREETSCAPES // surry hills



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The Surry Hills Festival seems to grow bigger every year and this time there were various activities throughout the whole area. There was plenty on offer with food and market stalls to indulge in while listening to the live music and entertainment. The artistic side of the suburb shined through with creative projects celebrating and supporting this urban community.

I loved the film projection shown in the alleyways and in the window of the library and community centre. Local creative studio Esem Projects created a stunning piece using historic images including rare footage from the ABC documentary called Living on the Fringe from 1965. Classic images depicting the people of Surry Hills, Darlinghurst and Redfern on the streets. This was a period when these areas were poor and defined as the slum fringes of inner city Sydney. This heritage is emotionally moving especially since there have been radical changes to the social and economic demographics after this era. Time does move on but it is always good to reflect on how we have changed – and ideally where we want to be in the future!

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