Local Artist Series // Carla McRae
Who are you and what do you create?
My name is Carla, I’m an illustrator and artist based in Melbourne, originally from the Sunshine Coast. My practice is quite broad, and kind of split in two. My commercial illustration practice rambles across the realms of editorial, publishing, branding, animation, mural painting and teaching programs. As an artist, I also exhibit my work in galleries and self-publish.
What materials and techniques do you use?
I’m constantly exploring new ways to make work – it keeps me energised and interested in the drawing process. My old favourites are black ink pens and coloured pencils, but recently I’ve also been playing with oil pastels, calligraphy ink nibs, wooden sculpture and paints. I also use a lot of digital techniques for my commercial illustration work.
What kind of inspirations go into your work?
I like to observe and people watch, for me there is endless inspiration and excitement for everyday things. I like to make games out of simply ‘looking’ – seeing shapes in nature, matching forms to metaphor, beautiful and unexpected chance colour combinations. A lot of my work is about an appreciation of the small everyday moments and gestures of every life that can bring joy.
In what space do you like to create most?
My studio is my favourite place to work. I feel so lucky to have a space that I can go to that’s not in my home, with all my materials and things to make with, and a door I can close behind me. I can put my headphones on, get into the flow of work, wriggle and move and let go of any self-consciousness. I’d say around 90% of my interests are related to or flow back into work, so it’s become important to me to be able to walk away from it at the end of the day too.
What has been your favourite or most important work to date?
A couple of years ago I got to paint some big murals at Remedy Kombucha’s brewing and bottling warehouse. I had to get my EWP licence to operate a scissor lift, and spent a week and a half painting alongside the builders who were still constructing the site. It was a great challenge and they are some of my largest paintings to date. The scale pushed me to explore new kinds of forms and abstractions, and I am still so proud of the finals works!