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 -
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.
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.
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.
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
512 Lygon St
This Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th June 2013.