Alice Oehr · Open Studio at Harvest Workroom

Lucy Feagins
Lucy Feagins
6th of June 2013
The workspace of Melbourne illustrator / designer Alice Oehr, who is artist in residence at Harvest Workroom in Brunswick this month.  Photo - Sean Fennessy.
Alice Oehr printing at Harvest Workroom during her residency this month.  Photo - Sean Fennessy.
Alice's printed paper creations and cushions! Photo - Sean Fennessy.
AMAZING window painting by Alice Oehr for her residency at Harvest Workroom this month!  Photo - Sean Fennessy.
Ok, so Alice PRINTED and STITCHED these pants with her amazing tiger / leopard print on them - especially for this portrait, I am led to believe.  TOP effort!  (The quilt behind is made by Alice also).  Photo - Sean Fennessy.
We are quite good at spotting promising new creative talent around here, and we are firmly convinced that young Melbourne illustrator / graphic designer Alice Oehr is destined for big things!  She's one of those busy young things (God I feel old saying that) who just has so many amazing self initiated creative projects on the go at any given time, all whilst holding down two jobs - she is a studio assistant to the incredible Beci Orpin, and she also works for Rae Ganim at Ganim's Store in Fitzroy.  Safe to say Ms Oehr (pronounced 'AIR', lets clear it up once and for all!) is adept at multi-tasking, and never afraid of a bit of hard work! This month Alice continues on her path to creative cult stardom with a residency at Harvest Workroom in Brunswick.  Her time there over the past few weeks has been spent printing a range of distinctive colour-popping prints on paper and fabric, resulting in a small range of cushions, tote bags and limited edition art prints.  We love the intense colour and quirky characters Alice creates... just don't call them 'cute'! (Jeez Alice do you know how hard it is for me to write a blog post without using the C word!?) Alice has a very cool website which really is the best showcase of her work in all it's hypercolour glory!  DO check it out - it is like a sugar-hit for your eyeballs. Other places you might have seen Alice's work lately - she created our Brisbane city guide map a few months ago ('the opportunity to put faces on fruit is the kind of thing I live for' says Alice of this collab!), she designed an amazing 'cowboys and indians' stationery range for Smiggle which hits stores earlier this year, and she also designed a folio website for my dear editorial assistant Lisa Marie Corso, launched just last week! This coming weekend Alice's residency draws to a close, and she will be at Harvest Workroom on both Saturday and Sunday, demonstrating her process and chatting to visitors about her work.  You can have a flick through her sketchbooks, and can even pick up a limited editioned print or one of Alice's new screenprinted homewares for sale.  There's also a low-key closing party planned for Sunday afternoon from 3.00pm! We asked Alice a few questions about her work and her creative projects to date -
Tell us a little bit about yourself – what did you study, what led you to graphic design and what led you to what you’re doing today?
I always knew something along the lines of a 'professional face drawer' was something I wanted to do, but after school like many other 18-year-olds, I was lured away from the books by the things particular to that age. So I did an Arts degree, this may have seemed like a time-waster back then, but it turned out to be excellent for providing me with some level of worldliness/allowing me to drink lattes all over Carlton. I returned from 4 years of that leisurely lifestyle reborn as a TOTAL nerd, and hit the study hard at RMIT Brunswick TAFE (the best graphic design course going round in my opinion!). I felt much better equipped to study design with those years spent 'training my eye', and could just about handle the workload. This is my first year out and I am experimenting with where I fit in the industry, and if I have the stamina to freelance. Beci Orpin is someone who I've looked up to forever and now it is my honour to work for her. I am also lucky enough to work for Rae Ganim at Ganim’s Store, so I really am surrounded by inspiring women.
How did the residency with Harvest come about? What are you currently working on and what can we expect to see at your Open Studio this weekend?
A lust to learn textile design and desire to get off the computer led me to a screen printing course at Harvest in 2012. The Harvest ladies were kind enough to ask me back for a residency this year - an extremely flattering punt on their behalf. During my month here I am working on things on both fabric and paper. I think screen printing is a really beautiful means of creating artworks for the wall, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to use Harvest’s huge print table, so I have also been making a number of homewares with my prints on them, including a few tote bags, decorative cushions and tea towels. This weekend at the open studio I will be selling these homewares, as well as a limited edition range of hand printed artworks.
How would you describe your general design aesthetic?
My work is typified mostly by it’s heavy use of colour. I usually try and pare it back but even then, it can border on being offensively colourful! I lean towards character-based work rather than abstract or geometric, and I would be depressed if my work crossed the line into ‘cute’. I like things that are a bit weird or surreal. I love working on the computer, but the textural dimension of print and textiles is hard to beat, so for me variety is where it’s at.
What are you looking forward to?
I am very much looking forward to applying my style across as many different (and potentially weird) jobs as possible. I hope to poke my fingers into a lot of pies and to be able to work across fashion, homewares, graphic and textile design. This collaborative style of working is very suited to my generation I think, and I’ve already been lucky enough to do a range for Smiggle, and some items for Douglas & Hope. Right now I am loving working for Beci and observing how the master does it! Alice Oehr · Open Studio and Pop-up Harvest Workroom 512 Lygon St Brunswick East Victoria 3057 This Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th June 2013.   You can also buy Alice's work in her online shop, and her blog is well worth a visit too!
Prints on paper by Alice Oehr at Harvest Workroom.  Photo - Sean Fennessy.
Details from the studio of Alice Oehr at Harvest Workroom during her residency this month.  Love her printed face totebags (right). Photo - Sean Fennessy.
Ladies of Harvest Workroom, I really think you should leave the amazing open mouth painted on your front door even after Alice's residency is over.  It looks rad!   Just saying.  Photo - Sean Fennessy.

Latest Stories

Recent Illustration