regional roundup

regional roundup: melbourne [part 1 of 4]

by anne

regionalroundupmelbourne.jpgin this day and age of the internet it’s easy take advantage of the fact that everything is right at our fingertips. in starting research for our latest regional roundup, it was clear we’ve seen a handful (but by no means all) of the great the work of many fantastic australian designers before, but just perhaps not in the context of australia. so the new regional roundup: australia seeks to take a deeper look of this growing and inspired design scene. it starts all this week with mebourne designers, asking the designers themselves the questions who we are, what we do and what inspires us. CLICK HERE to check out our first five designers belinda hellier {blink design}, kareem rizk, lara cameron, cindy-lee davies {lightly} and madeleine stamer {little circus design}. don’t forget to check back tomorrow for our next set of melbourne creatives (psst…we’ve done a city roundup {portland, maine} and a country roundup {iceland}, but this time we’re conquering an entire continent!). –

click here for today’s full roundupblinkname.jpg

1. Where are you from? Where do you live now?I am from Melbourne and that is where I live now.2. Describe your workPrint and pattern oriented homewares and childrens things (toys and teeshirts). The aesthetic is fun but also quite sophisticated.3. How is your work influenced by where you live? Well being a designer in Australia has limitations on availability of materials – for example a lighting designer i spoke to yesterday had wanted to make lamp with coloured electrical cable which you can get in Europe but they were unable to get here and could not use the imported type because of our very strict safety laws. Now that nearly everything is made offshore there is even less variety of basic materials for sampling so it is harder for independent designers to get started if they don’t have capital to go OS.4. Where do you go in Australia when you want to feel inspired?I love to go camping to Wilsons Promontory – a pristine National Park on the coast about 2hrs from Melbourne and go bushwalking there. It’s very beautiful and there is a lot of wildlife and great surf.5. How would you describe the Australian design scene?The Australian design scene has grown so much in the last 15 years now it is much more part of the general consciousness. There has just been a Design Week here which is phenomenally popular and gives great support and exposure to local designers.6. If you could go anywhere where would you go?Well basically I like going anywhere. Maybe now i’d go somewhere that might not be quite the same in 20 years or so like the Antarctic.For more of Belinda’s work [Blink Design] click .kareemname.jpg1. Where are you from? Where do you live now?I’m from the Mornington Peninsula on the southern coast of Victoria. I’m currently living in the town of Mornington – about 1 hour from Melbourne.kareem1.jpg2. Describe your workRawness and grittiness juxtaposing orderliness. Technology juxtaposing nature. My work is very much about contrast and the relationship between opposites. Juxtapositions of every kind are evident all through out my work and the idea of dissimilarity has developed into a common theme.My handmade work is very textured and often multi-layered. There is a prominent theme of what I consider nostalgic or vintage and the work is often made to look weathered. My works are often vibrant with colour, while others display a very refined and often muted palette.My working methods also extend to digital collage. Many traits from my handmade work will cross over into my digital work. I often aim to create very gritty images with a realistic display of texture and layering. My digital work is very much an experimentation in blurring the line between what is handmade or tactile and that which is digitally constructed.kareem4.jpg3. How is your work influenced by where you live? The peninsula is generally a very pleasant area – lots of beaches, parks, hills and trees. Most people on the peninsula live at a slower pace. Many artists live on the peninsula where the atmosphere is very relaxed and peaceful. Its probably one of the most ideal locations for artists and writers or basically anyone who wants some time to think and to be inspired. I suppose while being surrounded by so many more natural things, there is more opportunity and freedom for inspiration to develop.There is also an abundance of antiques stores, thrift shops and flea markets where you will find a huge range of ephemera and collectible items. My most prized finds at these kinds of places are old magazines, postcards and almost any form of vintage printed matter.4. Where do you go in Australia when you want to feel inspired?A trip down the Esplanade by car or on foot can often be an escape in itself. The coast is very scenic and it often presents new findings of nostalgic architecture and sites with every town you pass through. Taking time to clear my mind while enjoying the coastal scenery is often enough inspiration for me to keep being creative after returning. But the metropolitan areas of Melbourne can be equally inspiring with a buzzing atmosphere and a huge selection of thrift stores, op shops and markets where vintage items of every kind can be found.kareem5.jpg5. How would you describe the Australian design scene?Multi-disciplinary. Diverse. Worldly.I think the Australian design scene is distinctive in that it has some of the most diverse sources of influence and inspiration, particularly in terms of its culture. There are so many different cultures and backgrounds converging and intermingling in most cities that the creative fields benefit very much from a growing number of contrasts.I think my own application of collage is very much a literal expression or manifestation of this diversity and contrast. It may often be subconsciously, but an artist is always influenced by their location and particularly the culture of that location.kareem6.jpg6. If you could go anywhere where would you go?Outer space. Maybe visit another planet or even travel to another galaxy!Visit Kareem’s website and find more work on or in his .cameronname1.jpg1. Where are you from? Where do you live now?I’m a Melbourne girl born and raised :) I currently live in an apartment with my boyfriend in the suburb of North Melbourne.cameron1.jpg2. Describe your workA combination of organic and playful hand screen printed textiles. Designs are printed with environmentally friendly inks onto organic cotton/hemp or cotton/linen fabrics.3. How is your work influenced by where you live? Melbourne is a fantastic city for creative people – there’s so much support for small creative businesses & artisans and as a result there’s inspiration everywhere.cameron2.jpg4. Where do you go in Australia when you want to feel inspired?Either into the city (for old architecture, laneways and tiny cafes) or into the country/bush (to relax and be inspired by botanicals and wildlife). The latter doesn’t happen as often as I’d like though.5. How would you describe the Australian design scene?Really fantastic and diverse. So many people doing so many amazing things, considering how small our population is :)cameron3.jpg6. If you could go anywhere where would you go?At the moment I’d love to visit the Northern Territory to be inspired by the amazing landscapes, colours, nature and art. It’s the only place in Australia I’ve never been.Visit Lara’s , , , and interview on .cindyleename.jpg1. Where are you from? Where do you live now?Western Australia originally- Perth now Melbourne – lived here 9 years.2. Describe your workDesign company – homewares, lighting, mirrors and accessories.cindylee1.jpg3. How is your work influenced by where you live? I draw the memories of loved ones and domesticity as a source of inspiration for my work, launching the company in 2005 in homage of my grandmother, Rosemary Estelle Lightly, with the popular signature lace and doily inspired range. We take techniques used by loved ones or past crafts, and modernise them. Lightly collections capture the beauty and delicacy of lace patterns and crochet challenging the boundaries of acrylic and playing with light, shadows and silhouette. Lightly products are objects of desire, visually tactile to the senses and whisper the tales of times gone by. I am not really inspired by where we live as my inspiration a lot comes from person experience than location but I think the isolation pushes you as a designer to get the product out, it also assist in giving you a little more space to think.cindylee2.jpg4. Where do you go in Australia when you want to feel inspired? Antique stores, my grandmothers house or just a big green field for a breathe of fresh air, I love clouds.5. How would you describe the Australian design scene? Melbourne is the cultural capital for the design scene in Australia so we have some great design festivals and stores and designers here in both product, fashion and furniture, Sydney is also a large market for design. Public are becoming more educated about design which is great.cindylee3.jpg6. If you could go anywhere where would you go? Right now, well today I think Costa Rica on a beach.Check out more of Cindy-Lee’s work [Lightly].circusname1.jpg1. Where are you from? Where do you live now?Born and bred in Melbourne, Australia. This is my home.2. Describe your workMy illustration is heavily influenced by Mexican and European folk traditions and styles with a touch of Australiana. My work tends to tell a story or is metaphoric in one way or another. I use bold black lines and silhouette type imagery with sometimes painterly coloured backgrounds, often using monochromatic colours.circus2.jpg3. How is your work influenced by where you live? User friendly space and low maintenance materials influence me. Ceramics used to be my thing, but since starting a family I have turned my sights to illustration. Working freehand with ink, watercolours and gauche gives me much pleasure and satisfaction. It is easy to pick up from where you last left off compared to ceramics. This is a when you have a little one (and another on the way) As any parent knows, little folk demand a lot of attention and when you are working there are many stop start interruptions…circus1.jpg4. Where do you go in Australia when you want to feel inspired?I must admit I’m a bit of a stay-at-home type but I love going to the markets, all types… fresh food markets such as The South Melbourne Market and second hand markets such as The Camberwell Market, both local, both brilliant. My ultimate inspiration escape would be to pack up the family and the car, cruise over to Tasmania on the ferry and drive around for a week or two. The air is SO fresh over there and the grass is so green, great food, beautiful architecture, amazing nature and cool walks. Basically it is heaven on earth.5. How would you describe the Australian design scene?Very healthy. Melbourne in particular has something for everyone. Any uninitiated visitor should begin in the City at Federation Square, have a stroll around, peak down the old lanes for a good dose of graff and stencil art, step into some galleries, go on a studio tour, meet the artists… you wont be disappointed.circus3.jpg6. If you could go anywhere where would you go? Mexico is my dream destination, I’d make a bee line for the town San Miguel de Allende.Click for more of Madeleine’s work.

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  • Oooh, some awesome Melbournians there! Thanks for covering our great little city! Our design culture is very much alive here :)

  • living in melbourne, im very proud of our aussie designers. i recently went to the melbourne design market- where some of these designers flaunted thier creations along with many others. i only wish my wallet had been a little heavier that day.

  • I have just returned from a weekend in Melbourne (for Indesign). What an inspiring city! I live in Sydney – make sure to visit soon with a regional roundup Sydney style!!

  • Yay! Thanks for featuring our little Melbourne town. It’s great to find out about new designers, and see some familiar faces too :)

  • Thanks Grace for featuring my home city. Melbourne has an amazingly vibrant and diverse design scene. I love your blog – read it weekly and refer all my friends to it. It was fantastic to discover the Melbourne focus this evening :)

  • FINALLY! I never thought I’d see a roundup of Melbourne, I was always so jealous that they were usually in the US. I’ll be sure to look up these artists locally.

  • Visually appealing work but something about it… perhaps the lack of theoretical, philosophical foundation… my impression is that these designs have at best a temporal appeal and not truly great designs.

  • All wonderful stuff! I’ve just arrived down under to do some writing at my uncle’s house and spend time with family before hitting the road to update the Rough Guide to Australia (I’m Australian but I’ve lived in the United Arab Emirates for over 10 years). I’m based in a quaint town called Eaglehawk, near Bendigo, a couple of hours from Melbourne, and there are lots of wonderful stores here too selling antiques and bric-a-brac and local art. I can see a new-found pride in ‘Australiana’, which the designers mention above, which didn’t exist among Australians in Australia when I lived in the country a decade ago. What I’ve also noticed is that there’s also more of a willingness to incorporate the traditions of our ancestors (after all, everyone is from somewhere else) and multicultural heritage, and you can see that coming through in the designers you’ve chosen here, from the Russian motifs to Mexican folkloric influence. Fascinating stuff!

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