Five Australian Illustrators Injecting Some Much-Needed Colour Into Our Eyeballs
Talent aplenty.
Entertainment 2y

Words by Lillian FlexMami Ahen

Whoever said art collecting was a luxury solely for sophisticates probably forgot about the impulse of a millennial with a thumb that can’t stop scrolling, eyeballs that won’t stop consuming and a mind that will not stop realising things.

This coupled with a mental text replacement tool that converts the phrase “shouldn’t buy” into “add to cart” and an urge to own objects that accurately represent them – in the most superficial albeit honest way possible – you’ve got yourself a connoisseur.

While we were making abstract toys with our connector pens, there were a few individuals who got the gist of colouring between the lines, turning mere drawings into distinct pieces of art.

Somewhere between Mondrian and the street artists gifted with the amazing ability to finesse passerbys into seeing 3D images on completely flat surfaces, we found the middle ground of illustrators, set to challenge your views on tradition one pen tool at a time. These game-changers have showed us that art is not less awe-inspiring when you understand it.

MARTINA MARTIAN

Sydney-based Graphic Designer/Illustrator/Avid Ariana Grande Fan Girl


Known best for her distinctive, bold, sugary sweet-yet-strong colour palates, Martina Martian is serving us a fierce serving of 80’ s and 90’s inspired art, which has us itching for seconds.

Gaining notoriety for her ultra-modern rendition of classic embroidery, this vibrant game-changer has parked her initial passion aside to explore the of graphic pattern designs. Her vivid creations serve as a tool to deliver a message of feminism, body positivity and powerful femme figures on a technicolour platter.

Having created for the likes of Nasty Gal, Cotton On, Laser Kitten, Local Heroes, you’ve likely seen or own one of her next level pins, postcards and patches. If not, what are you waiting for?

What has been your favourite creation to date and why?

A bunch of positive postcards I designed for Minga London, solely because I like making things that could cheer up a gal.

Most ideal atmosphere to create?

A long, pretty train ride somewhere. I do most of my work on trains, actually.

Name the most underrated thing of 2016?

Definitely a toss up between Gyoza, Thai Milk Tea, First Dates – actually, basically any Aussie reality TV show about love.

Favourite Instagram account?

@illegalciv because it’s a stream of inspirational messages and bright colours.

If you’re not designing where can I find you?

Eating dumplings or at one of my man Phil FRESH’s shows.

KINAI WONG

Melbourne-based Artist and Dragon Hunter

Where Hannibal Lector meets Pho. If you were looking for the perfect middle ground between gore, sex appeal and a good feed: meet Kinai.

She’s a refreshingly raw representation of the inner workings of a creative mind, candidly illustrating the cloudy eco-system of self-destruction through the yearning to express craft. Her art is an honest outward projection, graphically mirroring her grim yet alluring taste for self-reflection.

Dedicating a solid amount of time to her creative endeavours while finessing at the club – Kinai and her work are a testament to the hype results of indulgence and determination.

Describe your design aesthetic?

Oriental Gore. I illustrate the dreams I have and the ways I feel, slowly venturing into a darker, more personal realm of self-demolition.

What has been your favourite creation to date and why?

‘Air Max Blood’ – because, TNs.

Name the most underrated thing of 2016?

Teen Wolf is so fucking underrated. I started watching it as a joke but now I’m on Season 5, episode 17.

Most ideal atmosphere to create? 

On a mountain of decomposing bones.

Not for sale in any form

A photo posted by ORIENTAL GORE : 高尔寺 (@kinaiwong) on

BIANCA BEERS

Sydney-based Artist/Designer A.K.A The Bald Bitch With Big Earrings

@evohair callin out the bullsh!t ??? ITS A FREEVOLUTION PEOPLE! #freevo

A photo posted by ????BIANCA BEERS???? (@biancabeers) on

With her love for bold hues and clean lines, Bianca Beers has developed a distinctly lush style that floats consistently between caricature and intricate dot work: a mature and refreshing nod to colour.

Having kicked off her career in early 2015, she’s been commissioned to create custom designs for Nike, Platypus Shoes, Haus of Dizzy and viral comedian HiJosh, huge collabs which have allowed her to cultivate her signature design ethos, marrying traditional techniques with digital tools.

With an aura that projects vibrancy and art that induces happiness, if you’ve got a penchant for hip hop, sneakers and well-curated Instagram feeds – dive into the sea of the positive energy that is Bianca Beers’ art.

What has been your favourite creation to date and why?

My Robin Williams portrait! I used the Pointillism technique, which is when you paint in a bunch of small, distinct dots. It’s really therapeutic and I needed that while drawing him, because it was just after he died which I was really, really upset about. He was like everyone’s favourite crazy uncle!

What/who are some of your core creative influences?

Prints and patterns, geometry, nature, fashion, pop culture.

Favourite Instagram account?

I genuinely don’t have a fave! But a few I always enjoy @dazed, @printalloverme, @kliuwong and @flex.mami – Haha!

Most ideal atmosphere to create?

Somewhere where I’m surrounded by happiness, love, acceptance and support. Ideally!

@icecube pins comin in hot ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ In-store @workshopmakery and online biancabeers.com ???

A photo posted by ????BIANCA BEERS???? (@biancabeers) on

ESTHER JANE OLSSON

Melbourne-based Painter and Illustrator

????Happy face ????

A photo posted by Esther Olsson (@estherolsson) on

If you ever have the pleasure of meeting Esther, anyone can attest to the fact that she’s vibrant hyper-charged ball of A+ energy. She’s vivacious, colourful and talented as heck.

Making the unconventional transition from Graphic Designer to Fine Artist, her paintings serve as a visual reflection of herself, everyday life and those she encounters. A stimulating aesthetic that might read as busy at first glance but upon further review, it’s a measured symmetrical approach. A welcomed change from the historical constraints of what is considered Fine Art.

When she’s not creating art to rival the best, she’s at the club pulling out the worm on a beer-covered dance floor and if that’s not a lifestyle you want to invest in, then I don’t even know.

What has been your favourite creation to date and why?

My newest work, made for a small show put on by the girls at Ladies Of Leisure aka LOL. It was my first painting after a little break, I was listening to some great playlists, just having an awesome time and not thinking about the outcome too much.

What/who are some of your core creative influences?

Definitely my friends, but hip-hop keeps my flame burning and always inspires me. My favorite source for new tracks is The Weekly Drop by The Combat Jack Show and Rosenberg Radio.

Name the most underrated thing of 2016?

Food: Twisties
Beverage: Goon
Movie: Man on Fire
Artist: not underrated but a massive legend whose drawings capture light like no other ­– Evie Cahir

Favorite IG account?

@aliceoehr – her feed is always on point
@buffet_baby – my sister Amelia who currently lives in Japan

If you’re not designing where can I find you?

At the beach, but if it’s a Wednesday night then I’m always at Mellowdias Thump at Boney Melbourne.

Most ideal atmosphere to create?

Pre-party dancing with my girls Kimbo and Hannah.

This work will be in Modern Times Group Show ‘HOME’ – 27th Oct -SAVE THE DATE ❕#moderntimeshome

A photo posted by Esther Olsson (@estherolsson) on

TEA ROSE WRIGHT

Sydney-based Illustrator in the streets and Artist in the sheets

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A photo posted by Tea Rose (@tearosewright) on

Tea Rose is undoubtedly a bundle of warmth, coated in sprinkles and strength and sunshine. Her art is testament to the power of femininity through visual commentary on the nuances of sisterhood, friendship and feelings.

Her distinguished body positive protagonists often referred to as ‘plus-sized sweethearts’ are the bridge between the fantasy world of illustration and the minutia of the ‘real world’. Her art speaks to the girl who relishes in self care through dressing up for life’s sake, so if that’s you, then reward yourself with a lovely Tea Rose print. You’ve earned it.

What has been your favourite creation to date and why?

I think my favourite would be ‘I Dress Up For Myself.’ It was inspired by a quote that said, “I don’t dress up for boys, I dress up to stare at my reflection as I walk by store windows.” I’m a girl that loves to paint my face and it’s important to consider that different things empower different people. ‘I Dress Up For Myself’ is a message for everyone about self-love and nothing makes me feel nicer than seeing babes from the Internet really relate to it.

What/who are some of your core creative influences?

The queens of my heart are Mel Stringer and Gemma Flack, both incredible illustrators with beautiful concepts and well-refined techniques. They work so hard and it makes for absolute magic. Dizzy Little Dotty is another illustrator I admire who creates stunning little worlds but also uses her photography and self-portraits to place herself there.
In the realms outside of illustration Chloe Killip, also known as Cat Guts, is a photographer, YouTuber, blogger and IRL undertaker. Chloe has created the Cat Guts universe with the most gorgeous aesthetic inspired by old things, dead things and everything cute in between. The detail and time put into the things that she creates is so inspiring and I strive to create content like her.

Name the most underrated thing of 2016?

Gogglebox Australia should be considered a national treasure and I should be on it because I am also a national treasure.

If you’re not designing where can I find you?

I’m a nurse IRL – so you can find me in the hospital saving lives, or making cups of tea for sweet elderly ladies.

Most ideal atmosphere to create?

I used to love drawing on the train to and from Sydney because it was so relaxing. Since traveling less my new favourite space is in bed where I let my pet mouse out to run around and critique my work. She’s brutal but she encourages me to be my best self.

A closer look ???

A photo posted by Tea Rose (@tearosewright) on

December 7, 2016
Editors Pick