On the couch with Lara Allport

Q: RedBubble
A: Lara Allport

Lara Allport’s beautiful vector drawings have made her one of the most popular artists on RedBubble – she is among the highest sellers and her work is continually being added to your favourite lists. Her images are vibrant and fun and have been created in meticulous detail. We invited her for a chat on the couch so you could meet the woman behind the work.

Q. Many of us are not familiar with how to create vector illustrations. Can you describe the process you go through to create one – from inspiration to finished piece?

Basically the computer is just another box of crayons, rather than using pen and pencil – I draw using the pen tool in illustrator. I am embarrassed to admit that I have never master the tablet, and still create using a mouse! It is a bit like drawing with a hockey puck!
I normally start with a composition, a scanned-in sketch or perhaps a photo, then create layers in Illustrator and start to rebuild the image digitally. It is very time consuming and quite pain staking – but it is sort of like meditation for me – you can zone out and listen to a good tune and just draw shapes.

Q. What is it you particularly enjoy about this artform? 

I love the options you have with a computer as opposed to creating something on paper or canvas. It is so forgiving. With oils or water colours, every stroke you make is tangible, it’s there… done. Creating imagery on computer you can change anything at any time – play with filters, lighting effects, transparencies – you just don’t have these options when working in non-digital mediums.

Q. Which of your works on RedBubble are your favourites – and can you tell us the story behind them?

My favorite piece is probably ‘no stopping’ it is quite hard to see on the website as the strokes are pale grey and quite fine. It is a vector illustration of a photo I took of a Paddington back-street when I first arrived in Australia in 1999. We don’t have ‘no stopping’ signs in the UK and I just loved the directness of it. It represents what I love about Australia and its people – just frank, honest and no fuss. It also has quite a strong esoteric message and struck me at the time as a strong symbol. Time stops for no man, there is ‘no stopping’ –  every new moment is surpassed by the next, and it never stops. These signs remind me to really enjoy each moment for exactly what it is (and also that parking infringements are best avoided!)

Q. Where or who do you draw your inspiration from?

I am a massive David Hockney fan, his pools, canyons, sketches are just sublime and they fascinate me every time I look at them. I have quite an eclectic taste in Art generally, appreciating everything from the Dutch masters, Caravaggio in particular, through to more recent artists displaying genius, like Patrick Caulfield, Paul Insect, Banksy & Audrey Kawasaki.

I get inspired on a daily basis by the people who surround me at work. We set up a design collective over a year ago now called ‘the national grid’ (thenationalgrid.com.au). There are five of us here and coming to work is such a pleasure. Simon Barrett (madebybarrett.com), Matthew Conway (matthewconway.com.au), Sio Ifopo and Nick Gascoigne (liquidshape.com) are four of the best designers/artists I know and it is an honour to share space with them.

Journal Comments

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