Curious facts to inspire awesome Aussie artists

One of the most enjoyable things about being part of The Book Of Everyone team is getting to collaborate with such a wide range of incredibly talented artists.

For the launch of our new Australian books, we got in touch with six of our favourite artists from the Land Down Under: Vladimir Stankovic, Billie Justice Thomson, Martina Martian, and Lisa Dino.

We’re all about personalisation, so we made each of the artists their very own copy of one of our personalised books. Skimming through the pages, we knew they’d find something that would inspire them to create a design for our Instagram.

All six created beautiful artworks in their own unique style, each inspired by their books.

Take a look…

Vladimir Stankovic’s creature features

Vladimir is a Sydney-based Serbian artist who creates captivating illustrations inspired by his love of science and nature. He’s especially drawn to what he calls the “grotesque elegance” of bugs. So his work often features all sorts of charming creepy-crawlies.

For our Australian launch, Vladimir chose to bring together several things he discovered in his personalised book to create a piece that’s a beautiful visual summary of the man himself.

“As a Gemini, there really are two distinct sides of my personality (sometimes more!), and the sun and the moon are symbols of that. My Chinese sign is the ox and apparently my lucky plant is the lily-of-the-valley. I had a lot of fun combining all those different elements which were hand-painted with watercolours and then digitally arranged.”

Vladimir’s no stranger to The Book Of Everyone either. He’s previously lent his talents to the pages of our books. You can take a look at his “New Life” page and read a little more about the design here.

Billie Justice Thomson’s dreamy milk bar

Billie lives in Adelaide. She usually works with paint on perspex or glass, and says her art reflects a love of “kitsch, nostalgia, iconic food imagery, domestic simplicity, and the day to day miracles of existence”.

Luckily for us, her book was filled with food for thought. Billie took her inspiration from the receipt page, which shows the price of some typical shopping basket essentials from the year she was born.

Billie explained, “I’ve gone with an illustration of a classic Australian milk bar to reference the price of milk in 1985 being 78c! I wanted it to be nostalgic and a bit dream-like, while also being very Australian”.

Her piece accomplishes this perfectly with it’s gauzy framing, as though Billie’s milk bar is emerging from within a fond memory. In your mind’s eye, you can practically read the headlines on the newsstand and feel the curtain strips part as you make your way inside in search of a carton of cold milk and some snacks.

Martina Martian’s ocean of gems

Martina is a globe-roaming Aussie who explores the world whilst making illustrations that are alive with her signature style and bold use of colour.

Taking a look through her book, she found herself entranced by her lucky gem: the cooly evocative sapphire.

While the gems can actually come in all sorts of colours, sapphires are most commonly associated with deep oceanic blues. The word “sapphire” is believed to be derived from the Ancient Greek word for “blue”.

Martina explained, “I’ve always felt most at peace surrounded by water and being immersed in blue.  Sapphires remind me of the ocean and that feeling.”

Her piece definitely conjures up the tranquility of a softly rolling sea. With its gorgeous simplicity and contrasting shades of marine blues and greens, Martina’s illustration makes me feel like I’m looking down at swimming turtles or flying over a tropical island chain.  

Antra Švarcs’s playful tamarin

Antra is a Melbourne-based illustrator who creates gorgeous work using a pastel palette that gives her designs a playful atmosphere. They invite you to jump right into the image and have some fun.

Reading her book, Antra was excited to learn that she was born the year that the black-faced lion tamarin was discovered on the islands and coastal forests of Paraná state in southern Brazil.

Among the smaller members of the monkey, these little guys can be identified by their golden-orange bodies, black faces and leonine manes. Unfortunately, they are endangered, and conservationists estimate that there are only 400 of them alive today. Interestingly, females usually give birth to twins.

Inspired by all of this, Antra created a playful animated gif. Forest leaves part – as though you were wiping the sweat from your brow and pushing through the undergrowth yourself – revealing a cheerful black-faced lion tamarin smiling back at you, arms wrapped around a tree.

It’s playful, joyful, and charming: exactly Antra’s style.

Lisa Dino’s ’90s neon clouds

Lisa is our second Melbourne based artist. She’s a multidisciplinary designer with an ethereal visual style that makes experiencing her work feel like being immersed in a colour-saturated dream world.

When it came to creating her piece for us, Lisa took inspiration from the fact that her age coincides with the number of Nobel prizes in medicine that have involved rabbits (it’s 26 in case you’re a curious leporidae lover).

She also incorporated some of 1991’s most powerful fashion statements: puffa jackets, babydoll dresses, and – fittingly for Lisa’s vibrant style – neon colours.  

Looking closely, there are subtle nods to other tidbits Lisa learned from her personalised book. That badge on the woman’s lapel? It features a DIY nail, because there’s enough iron in Lisa’s body to make a 3 inch nail. The clouds in the background and the use of golden yellow hues? References to 1991’s best selling book – Cloudstreet by Tim Winton – and the fact that Lisa was born on Play in the Sand Day.

And you can bet the Walkman’s playing the song that was number one the day she was born: Bryan Adams’  Robin Hood Prince of Thieves soundtrack classic, (Everything thing I do) I do for you.

Lavanya Naidu’s tranquil dragon lillies

Lavanya  is our final artist and, like Antra and Lisa, she’s a Melburnian too. Lavanya’s an animator and illustrator whose creations are warm and filled with a sense of wonder.

She was inspired to explore some of the things she learned in her book while creating something beautiful for us. Lavanya’s piece references the joint Soviet-american effort in 1988 to free two gray whales trapped by pack ice in the frozen waters near Point Barrow, Alaska.

Lavanya’s piece also acknowledges that she was born under the Chinese sign of the Dragon – making her strong, ambitious, assertive and fiery. Her dragon nestles curled up in the middle of a firecrest lily as the whales circle it beneath the water.

Fast-growing firecrest lilies usually have 29 petals (one for every year of Lavanya’s life so far) and are admired for the contrast between the light pink colour of their petals, the fiery red-orange of their stamens, and the bright green of their pads.

So there you have it 

Six brilliant artists and their awesome work inspired by the all-new Australian edition of our personalised books.

And if you want to check out more art, take a look at the other wonderful artists and designers we’ve worked with here.

1 Comment

  1. Peter Holme Reply

    Some additional folklore weather reports from Cumbria in England
    “If the cuckoo alights on a bare bough keep your hay and sell your cow”
    but “If he lands on the blossom in May keep your cow and sell your hay”
    “A green Christmas makes a fat churchyard ” which suggests a severe winter
    “If Candlemas Day be fair and clear there’ll be two winters in the year”
    “If the thrush sings before Candlemas Day, it does nowt after but repent and pray”
    finally “If ice at Martinmas bears a duck the rest of winter is slush and muck.”

Leave A Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.