Monday, November 22, 2010

What's your neighbourhood like?

Last Thursday night my partner Marc and I decided to get out-and-about and we headed towards funky Collingwood, where the Design Files together with Lamington Drive Editions were launching their Neighbourhoods Calendar.

It was great to see some creative people about and gorgeous illustrations of some of Melbourne's neighbourhoods by talented illustrators Kat Macleod, Kat Chadwick, Beci Orpin, James Gulliver Hancock, Good Wives and Warriors, Pauline Matthewman, Rik Lee, Jane Reiseger, Marcela Restrepo, Madeleine Stamer, Neryl Walker and Webuyyourkids.

One gallery wall featured a beautiful illustration by Kat Chadwick of Melbourne and its surrounding suburbs. The gallery visitors were asked to decorate a flag and spike it on the map, pointing out which 'hood they belong to.

I also spotted limited edition prints by Kat Macleod, who's work I truly admire. Her beautiful illustrations captured my heart many years ago.

I think the calendar is a great idea, and it even includes a cute illustration of our new hood- Yarraville- by Jane Reiseger, so I had to buy one for myself of course! What a wonderful way to (re)discover Melbourne in 2011.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Reflections after the VCA Graduate Certificate Exhibition

So, just over two weeks ago in the midst of moving house and collecting large shipments of my stuff from Canada at Melbourne docks, I somehow managed to finish up at VCA and graduate!

This is how it all began - painstakingly blowing up my mini illustrations through a projector into large-scale ink drawings.

I simply have to express my excitement and the thrill of actually creating these works! I absolutely love the whole process and am extremely happy with the outcome. And I'm not done yet!

Four of my pieces, which I have called Repetitive Nature made it to the prominent spot of the Graduate Exhibition, upon entry. They are mixed media collages of my drawings combined with ink on paper. I'm very proud of the work I have accomplished this semester, sad and excited simultaneously to finish up. I will miss the dirty corridors (smeared with creativity) of the VCA, but am grateful for the experience and invaluable things I have learned. Especially, that the art must go on - and constraints only make it better!

Below are some photos from the highly successful exhibition, which was opened by Kate Daw and Jon Cattapan and curated by our lecturers Tony Garifalakis, John Meade and Nadine Christensen. The exhibition featured the work of all the post grad students who graduated with me: Maria Simonelli, Michael Fromhotlz, Carolyn Mc Lennan, Mary Baker, Judith Firkin, Garry Norish, Michelle Payne, Michelle Collivas, Alison Kennedy, Catherine Dale, Jeff Kosew, Chui Lee Yap, Namaryta Muss, Jenni Parsons, Claire Welsh, Annie Enez, Stella, Minh Phan, Carol Swain, Traicee Evison-Griffith and Katarina Widderington-Oliver.

Well done and good luck to everyone!

- Maja Wolnik
art : illustration : design

Photos courtesy of Kasia Wolnik and Michael Fromhotlz.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Printmaking update

Sorry I've been VERY slack with my blog lately, but ironically, this is a good sign because I have been actually VERY productive making art (and not documenting it).

Life at VCA is keeping me very busy... tonight I am presenting my body of work to the class so I'm excited to hear their feedback and reactions. But more on that later.

Today, I'll give you an update on what's been happening in my Printmaking Elective. It appears that I've gone abstract, and have been using my copper plates to create mono prints instead of etchings and aquatints.

But, I'm loving my happy accidents and experiments. Here are two examples of the kind of images I've been producing: I'm actually using a very small plate (5cm x 15cm) to create my images, adding or removing ink as I see fit. In the first image I inked up the whole plate with a roller and then used an old phone book to smudge the ink and remove some sections. I really like the tones that I'm getting from this effect.

The second image was created similarly, but this time I used a spatula (normally reserved for tradesmen who fix up holes in walls) to spread the ink around and create this ribbon effect.

I'm having a problem with the ink smudging onto the paper beyond the plate - you can see it at the bottom or top where the print is supposed to end. I think this is because the plate is so small, when I place the heavy press blanket onto the paper, the slightest movement can sometimes affect. It's very frustrating because these are mono prints - one offs! I can't just go and re-print another one, each is unique and original. So what to do? Well, in the next few weeks I think I will try to move to a bigger plate and see what happens. It will be a bit easier to work with anyway.

That's it from me for now. Please let me know what you think of the prints?

Creatively yours,

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Back into the thick of it...

So.... where do I begin? For starters, I'm back in Australia, in the marvelous city of Melbourne. I've thrown myself into the thick of it straight away, by going back to university to finish my postgraduate studies, almost the moment I got back.

I am attending the Victorian College of the Arts and Music and am having a wonderful time! Critical and theoretical (art history) class is keeping me busy writing essays, but I'm having the most fun in my printmaking elective as well as developing my work in my Contemporary Art Practice tutorial. Luckily, I have one lecturer, Tony, who was teaching me three years ago and he remembers my previous work... it was so great to show him how far I've come in the last few years!
As an example, here is some of the work I was doing in 2007... I found these in my old 'studio' - my parents house which is a bit of a storage right now!

I created maybe 7 of these repetitive black and white paintings... I'm still reflecting on them, but I guess i was trying to express the idea that there is no black & white in this world, just shades of gray, and I was trying to create some sort of order out of this.

It was pointed out to me that there is a comparison between these to the work I did in Costa Rica with the leaf forms. Here is a new one I have just completed. What do you think? There is definitely that repetition and black and white streak happening...

I'm going to keep going with these and see where they take me. I'm loving the abstract forms in them, and hope to develop this further through collage and print making. I'll keep you posted on my progress.

In other news, I'm inspired by the buzz of Melbourne - I've only been back for three weeks and I was able to attend the huge Melbourne Art Fair at the beautiful Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton. My head was spinning as my lovely mum and I got to trawl through two levels of art with over 900 artists represented by 80 national and international galleries.

Later in the week I was summoned by my friend Kat, amazing designer of Live Like Kat boutique jewellery, who was showcasing at the Life In Style exhibition at Flemington Racecourse. This boutique trade event featured over 300 selected exhibitors featuring homeware, giftware, lifestyle and kids products. I could not believe the talent and energy in the rooms, such amazing creations in one hub - I was so inspired by everything that I was madly jotting my own ideas when I got home!

And now, I'm off to do more ink drawings and essay writing. I wonder what Melbourne will bring me next - hopefully less rain!

Please note my etsy shop will be down until some time in October as I wait for all my belongings and art to arrive by ship from Vancouver. Thanks for waiting!

Creatively yours,


Monday, June 28, 2010

Red Hot Red Dot - The Cheaper Show No 9

Oh what a night!

Last night, Cheaper Show No 9 was a huge blast!! When I arrived not long after 6pm, there was a line up outside West Cordova Street all the way down the block... I just couldn't believe it!

Inside, hundreds of people were rushing to buy art at the very affordable price tag of $200 - there were red dots everywhere. I'm really proud to say that I got a red dot too! Thank-you, whoever you are, for purchasing Aging Gracefully 2.

It was simply an incredible night, loaded with energy and so many people coming out to look at the amazing artwork that was on display. All the art showcased was so different and interesting, my friends and I spent hours going over and over again all the pieces.

I'm so thrilled to have been a part of something so huge and to be able to gain such exposure.

Thank-you to all the people who made the Cheaper Show 9 happen, thank-you to my boyfriend Marc-Andre for his continued support, and my friends Sarah, Alex and Leo who came along and cheered me on. And thank-you to all the people of Vancouver who came out to support artists and especially those who purchased the art.

I wish I could do it all again... it was such a fun night!! Here are some more photos from the evening.

Follow my heART!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Exhibition Photos

So, the rain Gods decided to be fickle on Sunday at Arts Off Main, where I was exhibiting my work.

Unfortunately it was a dark, grey and miserable sort of day, with rain spitting ever so often. Because it was outside, I had to keep taking my artwork down so it wouldn't get ruined and putting it up again when the rain disappeared.

Luckily, my wonderful boyfriend Marc-Andre was on hand to help me out and keep my spirits up! He was working hard to get the crowds (if only!) to walk down the boulevard and take a look at my work.

All in all, it was worth a try, we had fun and I got two leads from it!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Exhibiting this Sunday @ Arts off Main - Boulverd Days

Sorry for the last minute notice, but the rain gods were not on my side all month!

But finally, the sun has poked its pretty face onto Vancouver which allows me to exhibit my work this Sunday at a cute little gallery called Arts off Main. They've developed a program called Boulevard Days, where rotating local artists show off their work on the boulevard leading up to the gallery - outdoors! There is a lot of space to hang art on the outside wall so I'm looking forward to having all the quirky people of Main Street stop by and check out my work. I hope to clear some old favourites from my studio - time to move onto new projects!

Please join me or spread the word: Sunday June 6th, 216 East 28th Avenue, Vancouver. I'll be there from 12 to 4pm so stop by for a chat and perhaps some nice art for your wall? It should be a sunny 17 degrees - unless Vancouver reverts to its usual demeanour.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Illustration Friday - Slither

This week, I started my illustration classes at Emily Carr University - how exciting! I thought I would combine my homework for the class with this week's IF challenge - slither.

I once had a dream that I had a pet snake, which would wrap itself around my arm. It was during a time in my life when I was going through a lot of personal change and realizations... The black silvery snake represents that very dark side of me, that even I hate. I guess I was subconsciously coming to terms with it, letting the snake become my friend and stayed wrapped around my wrist, to remind me that I can be poisonous, but I can tame that. I later learned through a dream dictionary that snakes represent transformation - funny that!

This image was created using pencil, and I used ovals instead of normal shading to give my composition form. I think it adds something unique to this image, very fitting for snake like textures.


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Ilustration Friday - Early

This week's creative challenge for Illustration Friday is "early". I went blank for a minute with this one until my boyfriend suggested I draw a clock. Then my imagination went wild as it brought back memories of a funny old alarm clock I used to own as a child. It looked almost identical to the one that I have drawn, but I think it was pink. It used to have a life of its own... It would start ringing at the early hours of the morning, even though I set it for a more decent time!

I created this drawing by hand in my sketch book, scanned it and converted to vector, and then coloured it in Illustrator. I am really enjoying this process of drawing-scanning-colouring. Makes the work look hand drawn but professionally finished at the same time. I love Illustration Friday!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Journals - Vancouver Series

Do you love a good journal? I do, especially one with a really cute cover on it, that motivates me to pick it up, start writing and share my most intimate thoughts.

I love how a beautiful journal can make you feel, so I've taken on a little personal project, to create some of my very own journal designs.

I am working on a collection of these, inspired by the one and only city of Vancouver... and all its little quirks... like the relentless rain... Here is a sneak peek of the first two designs:

I illustrated the images by hand, scanned them and converted them to vectors, then applied colour using Illustrator. I'm having SO much FUN creating this series!

Would you pick up one of these in a store? Please let me know what you think? I would love to hear your feedback!


Friday, May 21, 2010

Illustration Friday - Equipment

This week's topic for illustration Friday is " Equipment".

In my case, I am surrounded by my boyfriends music equipment. I'm fascinated by all the buttons, turn dials, knobs, figures and cables.

He is recording his new album and I can't wait to hear it.

This sketch is of ...well, I'm not sure, but I think one of them is a pre-amp. I did this on the fly and then coloured it in illustrator.

Here's to pre-amplifiers and other high tech music equipment...

Monday, April 26, 2010

In my sketchbook - life drawing

It's been probably about a year since I last went to a life drawing class! I received a wonderful book for Christmas from my parents titled Mastering The Art of Drawing & Painting the Human Figure by Sarah Hoggett and Vincent Milne.

I thought I'd take some of the tricks I learned from the book and put them in practice at a local life drawing class at Blim. Here's a few of the better sketches from the session.

The model had a beautiful figure and I really like the strength of the poses she made, but I had the most trouble drawing the hands and head...I will definitely need to go back and practice some more!
Eventually, I'm planning on creating a painting, or a series of paintings with the nude figure stylized, on a light coloured background - here is my first go at it on a 10x10 canvas board. Not quite there yet!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Accepted: the Cheaper Show No 9!

I'm very proud to announce that I have been accepted to be one of 200 artists to participate in The Cheaper Show No.9. They had 950 submissions so I am really excited that I made the cut!

Happening on June 26th, the Cheaper Show is one giant art exhibition featuring 200 artists with 400 pieces of artwork, at $200 each. I think its an amazing concept that allows emerging and established artists to showcase their work side by side, and introduces art to a public that might not know much about buying art, at an affordable price.

According to their website, last year they had an incredible 5,000 people attending the massive warehouse in Gastown, Vancouver - I'm thrilled for the possible exposure and opportunities, and I can't wait to see all the other talent. Save the date and join me!

I'm so happy and grateful to be a part of something so fun and so big :)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Recently published illustrations

I've come to realise that I have not shared some of my successes of recent times: a number of my illustrations have been published!

Here is a sketch I did for a Summer Haircare article in the Summer Issue of alive Australia, followed by the final illustration done in Illustrator.

I also had the opportunity to illustrate some exercises, which was a bit tricky, but fun!

And lastly, I was thrilled to do 8 original illustrations for the Autumn Issue of alive Australia for a fantastic article about bush foods. I love drawing flowers and plants so this one was an absolute joy to create and they looked wonderful once printed!

I'm in the studio today working on some Vancouver inspired illustrations - I'll reveal them soon!


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Illustration Friday - Dip

"Wiggly worm saw a dip in the road..."
I did a quick sketch in my notebook for this week's Illustration Friday topic - dip.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Messed up studio!

I've spent the last three days trying to spring clean my studio, and I'm almost there. My man found a free desk that we've dragged into the studio, which is great because I get a NEW desk to put more artsy stuff everywhere, but not so great because sadly for me this means even more room to spread the mess... This brings the studio total to 3 desks!

Before launching my new etsy shop, I spent a lot of time trying new designs on lino and softer type squares to print onto greeting cards. Unfortunately, there are days where things just don't work - my prints just wouldn't turn out. I tried using a professional baron, which didn't work, then I tried a marble rolling pin, nothing, a wooden spoon which was probably the most effective method. I even tried the piano and kitchen stools to press the lino onto my paper! The ink would not come off evenly. A very frustrating and exhausting process.

So while I look into new printmaking equipment, I spent this week being inspired by the gorgeous cherry trees in and around Vancouver. They are so pretty, with their pink flowers bunching up on branches like popcorn or fairly floss, the soft petals blowing through the wind. Spring is here! So to celebrate, I created 4 greeting cards which I am selling on etsy. Here is the whole collection on my new desk. I created the illustrations using diluted ink.

Stay tuned to hear more about the printing dilemma.