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International Artist Feature: Australia

For this article in the international artist series, we turn to Australia, featuring six artists who create fantastic work, from illustration to graphic design and more! I asked each artist how their country and culture inspired their work, and they delivered fantastic answers. Enjoy!

Melissa So

Melissa So is a graphic designer and calligrapher based in Sydney, Australia. Her work focuses on beautiful handmade typography that is bold and elegant. Check out a small selection of her work below or see more in her portfolio.

InstaType Volume 2

I love the unique Australian sense of humor. We have a tradition of
mocking ourselves and each other. I find this type of cheekiness to be
very enriching in my day to day life. There’s always a good laugh to be
found with an Australian!

The other great thing is the landscape. I live in the city where
it’s bustling, but there’s always a picturesque pocket of nature to
escape to. It’s just beautiful.

Instagram Typography by Melissa So
InstaType Volume 2

Get Brewing

Get Brewing Typography by Melissa SO
Get Brewing

Aww Yeah! Neon Sign

I live in Sydney and am fortunate to be surrounded by amazing museums
and galleries featuring some fantastic contemporary art. I like visiting
these places because I can view the world through another artist’s work. What has influenced my
work the most is the street art. When I walk to work I always see a new
mural, poster, or a message scrawled on the wall. I like how fleeting
street art is and always pause to think about what that artist is
telling the public. I am a letterer and all my work involves words so
I’m always thinking about what type of message I’m putting out there.

Aw Yeah Typography Neon Sign by Melissa So
Aww Yeah! Neon Sign

Greetings From Spewcastle

There’s a great sense of ambition in the art community here. I have a
great respect for artists who really go for it and just make art because
it’s in their blood. I love going to solo and group shows and seeing
the support of the art community there. It’s very encouraging.

Greetings from Spewcastle by Melissa So
Greetings from Spewcastle

Chris Phillips

Chris is an animator and illustrator based in Sydney, Australia. His colorful illustrations tell unique stories with a comedic flair. Check out a small selection of his work below or see more in his portfolio.

Gif Collection 2016

I lived in London for 2 years and it’s amazing what a
little blue above you does for the mood. I love the
relaxed, relatively slow pace of Sydney and even though I’m not really a
beachy person (I’m about as pale as an A4 sheet of printer paper) I
love knowing that the coast is right there.

Gif Collection 2015

CommBank – Guaranteed Annuities Explainer

I grew up on the
coast but I was always more obsessed with books, cartoons, and computers
than what was going on around me. Australia is a wonderful mish-mash of
many cultures and I love that, but the influence of American exports is
probably the biggest inspiration when it comes to my work. Aussie kids
grew up on American cartoons in the 80s and 90s, and I’d say that was my
biggest influence along with video games.

CommBank - Art by Chris Phillips
CommBank – Guaranteed Annuities Explainer

Intel – Ultrabook Explainer

The animation community is quite small, but the illustration community
is much, much bigger. My agency (The Jacky Winter Group) has their own gallery in Melbourne called Lamington Drive which I’m keen to
check out at times. In Sydney, there are a variety of performing arts
spaces, film and theater schools, and seasonal world class events like
Vivid Festival to get involved in.

Intel - Ultrabook Explainer
Intel – Ultrabook Explainer

Sophie Miller

Sophie Miller is a digital artist based in Sydney, Australia. Her work features amazing pop culture digital paintings as well as gorgeous personal pieces. Check out a small selection of her work below or see more in
her portfolio.


I love everything about living in Australia, but I particularly love how
beautiful it is. I have traveled to many different parts of this
country and I am still amazed by how stunning the scenery is. Respecting
nature and taking care of the land is very important to Australians,
and I love that.

Mermaiden Digital Art by Sophie Miller


region can be very inspiring. I live in an area that is close to a big,
beautiful, national park. I find that being among the serenity of
nature assists greatly in sparking my creativity even though I don’t
feature nature in my art.

Shhalex Digital Painting by Sophie Miller

Raye Boyce Commission

Raye Boyce Commission
Raye Boyce Commission

Buffy and Willow

The art community here is very strong and supportive. There are two
large galleries in my area and quite a few art schools. There are
also lots of cafes and restaurants that display and sell art, and there are always local artists at markets. There’s art pretty much everywhere, it’s great!

Buffy and Willow Painting by Sophie Miller
Buffy and Willow

Bobby Haiqalsyah

Bobby is an illustrator and designer based in Melbourne, Australia. His love of typography translates to his exciting work of unique handcrafted designs. Check out a small selection of his work below or see more in his portfolio.

‘Sydney’ for Piece Out

I migrated here from Indonesia in ’98 along with my family so living in Australia offered a new refuge
to us and a window to a new world to learn from. It was a place which I
knew had a rich history of contemporary art and design. In that period of time, I actually studied western art and design
history, but also got heavily involved with a
cultural education group where I later taught Asian art all around Australia.

Sydney for Piece Out Art by Bobby Haiqalsyah
‘Sydney’ for Piece Out

State of Origins

State of Origins
State of Origins

Lynx + Red Cross Peace Campaign

I have to say Australia is lucky to be situated so close to Asia
because the two can work together to thrive and learn from one another. I
know that the decorative aesthetics of South East Asian traditional art
is something that I was influenced by because it was such a big part of
my childhood, however, it was in conflict with the minimalist Swiss style that I was taught. Somewhere along the line I discovered a
generation of local and international typographers that were creating art
that had similar aesthetics and through following their work, I discovered a
visual heritage that comes from calligraphy.

Lynx  Red Cross Peace Campaign by Bobby Haiqalsyah
Lynx + Red Cross Peace Campaign

Harley-Davidson® Apparel

The small community that we have here is close and super supportive of
one another. I tried to contribute to the scene by creating the Melbourne
Lettering Club as a platform where
letterers can share knowledge and inspiration. We have over 1000 members on Facebook now and have worked together on group projects. It’s
super rewarding to see that some of the kids that never painted
before are now doing murals left and right.

Harley-Davidson Apparel by Bobby Haiqalsyah
Harley-Davidson® Apparel

Mei Tan

Mei is an illustrator and print designer based in Melbourne, Australia. Her beautiful print designs are playful and feature dreamy palettes of color. Check out a small selection of her work below or see more in her portfolio.

L’Apothicaire de Aureum

There’s so much to love about Australia! Apart from pointing out the obvious, such
as the beautiful weather and beaches of Sydney, and the creative arts culture of Melbourne, what I love most about Australia is that it’s a melting pot of such diversity and culture
from around the world.

Lapothicaire de Aureum by Mei Tan
L’apothicaire de Aureum

Painterly Abstract

Painterly Abstract by Mei Tan
Painterly Abstract

Painterly Abstract – Continued

I’m glad that I can find inspiration easily within
the city or outdoors. I could take a tram up to the National Gallery of
Victoria (NGV) for exhibitions, walk around the beautiful Botanical
Gardens, or stroll down the lane ways of Melbourne and be inspired. It
is exciting living in this city for someone who is involved in the
creative industry because inspiration is just about everywhere.

Painterly Abstract Art  by Mei Tan
Painterly Abstract

Two Dukes & A Cat

There’s such an atmosphere of harmony within the art community
here. The best part is that many of the
designers themselves are so lovely and down-to-earth that you cultivate a
stronger, personalized bond with the maker of the product. You can also find short courses in
design and lectures for anyone interested in knowing more about a specific art field. Not only is the art community amazing, but I would say
that it’s very encouraging as well.

Two Dukes  A Cat by Mei Tan
Two Dukes & A Cat

Max Prentis

Max is a freelance illustrator based in Sydney, Australia. His illustrations feature vibrant colors with the ability to tell unique stories. Check out a small selection of his work below or see more in his portfolio.

Finder and Seeker

Australians like to mingle
and chat to different people, you’re never alone when you’re in Sydney.

Finder and Seeker by Max Prentis
Finder and Seeker

Astro Knight

Since Australia’s mainstream culture is still quite young it tends
to be more borrowed from other cultures, so a lot of what I grew up with
tended to be from foreign films, cartoons and comics.

Astro Knight by Max Prentis
Astro Knight

Goddess of Misfits

Goddess of Misfits by Max Prentis
Goddess of Misfits

The Suspects NYC

At the moment there is a great divide in the art scene between
your more profitable artists. Which is a shame because there’s a big hungry scene waiting to get out there
but it’s hard when the opportunities are so few and far in-between. I guess
that’s why we need to be kicking it harder to get it going in Sydney
because it has the potential to have a thriving art scene for everyone!

The Suspects NYC by Max Prentis
The Suspects NYC

Many thanks to the artists above, who took time to answer my questions and share a bit about themselves and the impact their country and/or culture has had their work. You can check out more of their work in the links below: