Whimsical characters covered in deliciously sweet colours with a punch of childhood nostalgia. We chat to Brisbane based illustrator LAUREN CARNEY’ on her inspirations and fiery passion for the art industry.
Based in Brisbane, Lauren graduated from Queensland College of Art with a Bachelor of Animation yet has gone on to pursue a career in illustration.
Her quirky and adorable illustrations have been projected on large-scale walls, hung in galleries and sold in international stores. With awesome collaborations under her belt including Azealia Banks, Angus & Julius Stone, Delta Goodrem, Australian music festival Splendour in the Grass and our iconic fashion label Blackmilk Clothing, this polly pocket sized artist is the epitome of following your passion.
Hi Lauren! When did you first get into illustration?
I was always into art as a kid, nothing made me happier then creating. So I figured, why not make a thing of it in the grown up world. Spending every day drawing had a real appeal to me, and it’s pretty much what I always wanted. I went on to do a Bachelor of Animation at Griffith QCA but didn’t really have the heart for creating moving images, so took what I learnt and chased the dream of being an illustrator.
What made you take illustrating more seriously and make a career out of it?
Ha-ha, to be brutally honest hatred for my job at the time gave me motivation to leave and kick off my artist career. Retail sucked the life out of me and I thought ‘Now is the time to really take things seriously, if you want to leave this place, you have to make it work’. I wanted so badly to be an illustrator but didn’t know if the whole thing would
flop, but I put in the hard yards and things fell into place.
Your art is quite bold yet soft and delicate at the same time with your choice of pretty colour schemes. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I can’t really explain it – I always think my colour palette is quite ‘Spring’. After I create an image I know what the colour scheme is. I love wearing blues and cool tones, but I’m drawn to warm colour. Japanese culture really embraces pastels and soft tones for their fashion and
advertising campaigns, so I guess I’m trying to do the same with my work.
How does it feel when you are illustrating?
It kind of feels like you’re reading a book. You’re physically sitting there looking at a block of paper with words on it, but you’re mind transports you into another world. Your eyes are used as the show reel, and your brain is the cinema, having this story played out in front of you. For me, it’s reversed where my brain is the show reel, and my hands are making that story come to life. My mind chops and changes scenes every few minutes or so. It feels like the thoughts are bouncing off the walls and trying to get out onto paper even if they don’t make sense - for instance, I’ll start off drawing a skeleton, vomiting rainbows, with a girl dressed as a cat on his back. I guess that’s why some of my drawings seem a bit surreal.
Read the full interview in our MAY/JUN issue here