One of the new kids on the VG block is local label PHOEBE PARADISE. Its arrival has caused quite a stir and we've sold out of first runs of items already. We thought it fitting to hit up head honcho Phoebe for some inside knowledge into her label.
Hey Phoebe, great to meet you. So first, tell us a little about yourself?
I run the label Phoebe Paradise out of my home in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane. I also play in the band Pleasure Symbols.
How did you get started in drawing and illustration?
I’ve been really lucky in that my parents have been just insanely supportive of my creative interests since I was a kid. When I was really little, Dad would strip back the paint on the walls of our rental houses so my brother and I could draw on them. Lots of my friends in school were discouraged from being interested in art or writing because it wouldn’t ‘get them anywhere’, but I’ve always had that encouragement – it made a big difference for me.
Sounds like you had a super dad. What did you like to draw most as a kid?
Just monsters for days. My brother and I would sit around for hours drawing up these long, detailed character sheets for monsters or mythological creatures we’d come up with, and draw their environments and write stories about them. It was really fun. Our parents had heaps of sci-fi and fantasy books lying around the house and we’d just use ideas from the covers. I also used to draw pokemon religiously and try to sell the pictures at school for a buck each.
Husslin at an early age, nice one. Your work is heavily influenced by inner-city life, what is it about the city that you love/hate and what is it in particular that inspires you to draw?
Brisbane has a really pronounced griminess to it, especially in Fortitude Valley – which I think is just so much fun to draw and work with. I think that my work is currently influenced by the inner-city imagery because that’s where I’ve been living for the last few years. As my lifestyle changes to a more domestic one, I think that the subject matter will also change with it.
What do you think is it about Brisbane and its people that set it apart from other cities?
We’re so lucky in Brisbane, because you can drive 20 minutes in any direction and you’re just out in the bush or lush suburbs. It feels like a small town and that has a very real impact on the way people live here. Visually, I think Brisbane is so unique because you have this mid-sized city that is growing at an alarming rate and trying to become this metropolis, but the natural environment just permeates wherever you go. We’re built on this big stinking mangrove, next to a river that is ready to swallow the city the moment it rains, surrounded by giant fig trees that break up the roads and buildings with their huge roots. People from interstate complain about the ugliness of Brisbane but I couldn’t disagree more. Everyone hates the giant concrete structures that look like batteries and the rotting timber houses on stilts, but pair those images with the landscape of tall palms, figs and giant ferns – I think it’s really striking.
Yeah, true. Is there anything else that is also inspiring you at the moment?
The Dirt City collection was a reflection of life in the city, I’m working now on pieces that are a little more domestic. As it warms up I am creating textile designs based on the Queensland home in summer; backyards, flies, dead bats, beers and the architecture of where I grew up.
Haha, sounds like my childhood. What prompted the decision to showcase your artwork on apparel?
I think there’s definitely a disconnect between people who enjoy visual art and illustration, and those that are willing to buy prints or originals. I wanted to create pieces that would exist as art prints, but do it in a way that was accessible to everyone. In addition to this, people are simply more likely to purchase a design made by an artist if they can share it with others. Apparel was the logical step.
Smart choice! Are there any other mediums that you would like to experiment with?
When I one day get enough time, I’d really, really love to do work with Ceramics.
And If you weren’t making art, what else do you think you would be doing?
I’d probably still be stuck working in an office, let’s hope it never comes back to that.
Yeah, I hear you! Any future projects in the works?
I’ve teamed up with the incredibly talented Vanessa Flynn from Flynn the Label to create dresses, skirts and bags for future releases. Keep an eye out on my Instagram and Tumblr for our collaborative work.
That sounds amazing. We know Vanessa and love her stuff. What are your top three places in Brisbane to eat, drink, and chill out?
For a more high-end drink and meal I couldn’t recommend Gerards’ Bistro enough. I’ve had a few breakfasts’ there and the menu is INCREDIBLE and the drinks are really good too.
For beers and burgers you’ve gotta try YardBirds Alehouse in the valley. I always seem to end up there with pals to destroy my body with beers and sweet potato fries.
The best cheap dinner in Brisbane is The Vietnamese on Wickham St. Their pho is so cheap and so good. Lots of veggo options.
Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions Phoebe!
posted by robgreen
PHOEBE PARADISE IS AVAILABLE IN VIOLENT GREEN ALBERT STREET STORE + VIOLENT GREEN ONLINE STORE
SHOP THE COLLECTION HERE
*FREE SHIPPING ON DOMESTIC AND INTERNATIONAL ORDERS
*conditions apply, see online store for details