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The Must-Know Breakout Australian Creatives Of 2022

Creative People

One of the best parts of our job here at TDF is finding emerging creatives and sharing their incredible work with the rest of Australia. We’ve met some outrageously talented artists, ceramicists, furniture makers, painters, weavers, bakers, and textile designers (the list goes on) along the way! 

Here, we’ve rounded up the 10 breakout creatives of 2022 that need to be on your watchlist!

6th January, 2023

Pastry chef Patti Chimkire at her Thornbury studio, Mali Bakes. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Patti spent hours practising piping techniques to nail her signature 60s aesthetic. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Patti’s studio is almost as sweet as her cakes! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

‘I love the retro aesthetic, but also wanted to put my own spin on it,’ says Patti. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Patti’s cakes are filled with mouth-watering jam fillings. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Patti Chimkire, The Thornbury Pastry Chef Making Retro-Inspired Cakes! 

When pastry chef Patti Chimkire lost most of her work in 2020 due to the Melbourne lockdowns, she decided to make the most of her free time and explore a new source of income baking cookies and cakes from her small share house – and boy, are we glad she did!

Soon after she launched Mali Bakes, Patti was producing countless sweet treats each week and experimenting with cake colours and flavours. Her delicious retro-inspired creations – that look almost too good to eat – have been met with overwhelming demand, and now she has her own adorable Thornbury store.

Get to know Patti Chimkire here.

Artist Tiarna Herczeg in their studio. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files.

Tiarna’s artistic style is characterised by expressive brush strokes and big swatches of colour that often resemble aerial maps. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files.

Tiarna says, ‘I prefer to use board and acrylic as a material for painting.’ Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files.

Nganka / Blossom’by Tiarna Herczeg. Photo courtesy of Hake House.

Ngalkal / Outside‘, by Tiarna Herczeg. Photo courtesy of Hake House.

Tiarna Herczeg, The Kuku Yalanji Artist Who Creates Colourful Maps Of Country

Tiarna Herczeg’s art practice is like a ‘ritual’; deeply personal and intuitive.

The proud Kuku Yalanji and Hungarian artist’s abstract artworks often share similarities to maps, capturing Country with vibrant, happy colours and fluid motions.

While their creative career might have coincided with an incredibly difficult mental health journey, a growing confidence in their identity has helped shape Tiarna’s expressive style of painting – and it’s just one of the reasons their star is on the rise.

Get to know Tiarna Herczeg here.

Step inside Poppy Templeton’s home studio! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

‘Everything I do seems to be a bit of a mystery to people who have never made stained glass themselves. Some of my friends still think I work with glass in a hot, liquid state,’ Poppy says. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

‘I work with a huge range of materials and equipment, unfortunately a lot of which is either toxic or otherwise dangerous; glass, solder, lead, copper foil, patina, polish, glass paint, glass grinders, soldering irons, beads and jewellery findings,’ she says. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

Poppy Templeton, The Stained-Glass Artist Who Has Found Beauty In A Lost Craft

Artist Poppy Templeton was first introduced to stained glass when her mother did a lead-lighting course in the ’80s. But it wasn’t until last year that she decided to follow in her footsteps and take up the retro art form for herself.

Poppy had been searching for her own creative outlet for years, and glass art happened to be the perfect match! Her hand-crafted pieces often incorporate found mirrors and vintage glass – giving them a beautifully nostalgic quality.

Get to know Poppy Templeton here.

Secateur Me Baby makes funky plant stakes from recycled plastic! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Mike Sullivan is the coffee buyer turned product designer behind the clever venture. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

‘The curves visually grab the eye; however allow for plants to rest, nestle, cling, weave, and wrap around the structures,’ Mike says. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Mike Sullivan, The Melbourne Designer Who Found His Niche Making Sculptural + Sustainable Plant Stakes!

Fun, sculptural and colourful aren’t exactly the words that jump to mind when you think of plant stakes. And yet, it’s the perfect way to describe Secateur Me Baby’s wavy, creative products designed to support plant growth!

Melbourne-based Mike Sullivan started making his own colourful stakes after his love for houseplants turned into a bit of an obsession during one of 2020’s many lockdowns.

Now the self-taught product designer has turned the traditionally boring plant stake into something that’s equal parts practical and playful, using recycled plastics and all sustainable materials!

Get to know Mike Sullivan here.

Libby Haines’ beautiful paintings capture the messy nature of everyday life. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

Melbourne artist Libby Haines in her home’s spare room, which has become her painting studio. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

Thoughtful details and real-life clutter characterises her works. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

‘Because the scenes are taken straight my life there is often an erratic look to the layout, a cluster of random objects and air of mess. From there I try to reimagine the scene through vivid colours and textures to create a feeling.’ Photo – Courtesy of Libby Haines

Libby Haines, The Melbourne Artist Whose Still Life Paintings Are Instagram Famous

When Libby Haines posts a picture of her still-life paintings on Instagram, they sell out within seconds. In minutes there’s an endless stream of comments saying ‘SOLD’ in a rapid-fire attempt to claim the Melbourne artist’s beautiful vignettes for themselves.

It’s an overwhelming response that Libby says she never expected when she returned to her childhood love of painting at the start of the pandemic. And she credits social media for giving her the power to become a full-time artist — a dream that once seemed ‘impossible’ to her!

Get to know Libby Haines here.

Ceramic artist Lucy Tolan! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

In addition to some upcoming exhibitions, Lucy’s also has a new collection launching at Jardan in November, which consists of three vessels in some exciting new colours! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

And it’s easy to see why her playful pieces are often popping up in our TDF home features! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

Lucy Tolan, The Innovate Melbourne Ceramicist 

Lucy Tolan’s beautifully handcrafted ceramics are instantly recognisable – and they’re constantly appearing on the carefully curated coffee tables, consoles and shelves in many of our home tours!

The local artist has created a signature style that’s completely her own, thanks to the intriguing ‘seams’, textures and bold colours of her one-of-a-kind vessels. And in just a few short years, this distinctive ‘visual language’ has quickly made her of Melbourne’s most beloved creatives.

Get to know Lucy Tolan here.

Caro Pattle with one of her larger pieces. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

Her most recent works feature stretch velvet material handwoven into bowls and amphora. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

Inside Caro Pattle’s studio! Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files

Caro Pattle, The Artist Creating Sculptural Vessels With Fabric, A Paperclip + Tweezers! 

Having studied ancient history at university, artist Caro Pattle is fascinated with the idea of objects as ‘messengers’ – sharing stories of bygone eras. But it wasn’t until the pandemic gave her the time she needed, that she began making her own sculptural forms.

Hours experimenting in her studio led to the Melbourne maker to her unique ‘soft vessels’ made from ripples of fabric, which she handcrafts with nothing but a paperclip and a pair of tweezers!

Get to know Caro Pattle here.

Artist Billy Vanilli works on his latest piece in his Fitzroy studio. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Clockwise from top left; ‘Lemons‘, ‘Affogato al Freddo’, ‘Will This Nightmare Ever End?’, ‘Aphrodisiac’, and ‘Wet Produce‘. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Billy’s painting career started with a lot of late night colour mixing, and trial and error. ‘In 2020 I just picked up the tools, started putting paint to canvas, mixed a lot of the wrong colours, asked a million questions to other artists and eventually my paintings started to take shape,’ he says. Photo – Amelia Stanwix for The Design Files.

Billy Vanilli, The Melbourne Artist Creating Hyper-Real Paintings That Look Good Enough To Eat

Through a year of isolating at home during the peak of the pandemic, Billy Vanilli – who trained as a photographer and graphic designer – began exploring oil painting. Creating hyper-real scenes of food kept him company throughout Melbourne’s lockdowns, whilst separated from friends and family.

From fresh produce draped in translucent materials, to baroque dinner parties set with cheeseburgers, fries and candelabras, Billy’s decadent, delectable scenery vibrate with colour, energy and flavour. 

Get to know Billy Vanilli here.

Alana Crosby’s Collection 01 is live now! Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

Alana in her home studio. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

Cleo lamp (dark)Cleo lamp (white) and Ledge lamp. Photo – Alisha Gore for The Design Files. Styling – Tess Thyregod

Alana Crosby, The Interior Architect With an Impressive Side Hustle – In Ceramics

Alana Crosby seems to have an endless supply of creativity. The interior architect works for award-winning interior design firm YSG, dabbles in painting, and has recently launched a collection of hand-built ceramic lamps.

She spends over 30 hours hand-building each of these individual pieces, which measure up to 50cm in height, from her home studio in North Bondi.

Yet, surrounded by neighbouring tree-tops, and with the sun streaming in, Alana couldn’t be happier to sit and create her time-consuming pieces.

Get to know Alana Crosby here.

A collection of Marina Rolfe’s dreamy, semi abstract landscape paintings.  Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Marina Rolfe in her VCA studio. Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Photo – Amelia Stanwix.

Marina Rolfe, The Melbourne Artist Creating Captivating Landscapes

Art has been a constant in Marina Rolfe’s life. Attracted to painting at the age of five, she says she spent most of her time with colouring-in books as a kid. Now, she’s an artist and student currently completing a Master of Contemporary Art at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA).

Join us for a tour of Marina’s serene studio space in The Stables at VCA, where she creates her captivating abstract landscapes.

Get to know Marina Rolfe here.

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net