Melbourne-based artist, illustrator and designer Neryl Walker is all about girls! girls! girls!
Neryl Walker has women on the brain! Whether it’s sultry semi-nude ladies draped languidly over sofas, beehived beauties rocking out on guitars, or buxom broads dressed in pussycat outfits – she draws them all!
Hers is a distinctive style which recalls commercial illustration from decades past but has a dash of rock’n’ roll as well as a B-grade retro bent.
Her work reminds me a little of Shag– a contemporary of hers. Both artists have exhibited at Melbourne-based Outre Gallery, the home of contemporary lowbrow, pop surrealism, and underground art.
While she’s best known for her strong, playful girls who ooze sexual empowerment and sass, Neryl’s graphic design background has seen her collaborating on branding, typography, surface design and publishing projects.
She’s worked for clients including Bare Escentuals, Seafolly, Angostura, Stella Artois, Chronicle Books, Hardie Grant, Bloom Cosmetics, and Ena Products.
Her prints and paintings have been exhibited internationally and she is included in Lürzer’s Archive top 200 Illustrators. She is represented in North America by Snyder New York and in Australia by The Jacky Winter Group.
The Australian artist makes no secret of her love of mid-century pop culture–which seeps into her artwork in the form of vintage pyrex dishes, anodised atomic planters and kitsch Vladimir Tretchikoff prints.
When she’s not doodling away in her sketchbook, she plays guitar in a 60s garage rock’n’roll band or you can find her at the vintage markets hunting down her latest score.
Want to find out more about Neryl? Read on….
You’re an artist, illustrator and graphic designer – which came first?
I think ‘artist’ encompasses all of my creative outlets. I studied Graphic Design at Curtin University WA with a minor in Illustration so I guess technically that came first.
Were you always creative as a youngster?
How would you describe your particular aesthetic?
Definitely vintage and mid-century inspired.
What is it about retro ladies that makes you love to draw them?
I just love 50, 60s, and 70s style, the fashion, big hair, the music, the dancing. What’s not to love!
What are your creative inspirations and influences?
A myriad of art and music. My daughter. My partner and I are also big collectors. I love things that have had a life already and a story to tell.
What are some of your career highlights so far?
Illustrating Bare Escentual’s ‘Buxom Lips’ lip gloss range. I created over 100 different girls for 100 different shades of lip gloss. Dream job.
I’m also collaborating on a new project called Modnlovr with my partner Tim Haynes. We’ve designed a mid century inspired range of planters. We’re launching in the United States soon so I’m super excited about that.
Tell me about the process involved in making each of your artworks…
It always starts with sketching an idea on paper. I usually scan this and work on colour in Photoshop. Then I am back to hand drawing a more finished version to scan back in to the computer to rework, adding texture and layers.
What materials do you use? And how long does each work take to finish?
My illustration work is hand drawn and/or painted, then scanned and built in Photoshop. The length of time is normally dictated by a deadline. My artwork for group and solo shows is usually hand painted acrylic on paper, canvas or plywood.
It really does depend the size and detail as to how long each artwork takes. Some works fall easily into place while others are still sitting half baked in my studio.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
Working for myself and setting my own hours. That said, I probably work more than a regular ‘9 to 5 er’ but I’d say that is the case for most people running their own business.
How has your techniques/ subject matter evolved over time?
You play in a garage rock band, can you tell us more about that?
It came out of a DIY situation where a group friends were hanging out and learning to play, literally in the garage.
I love the creative collaboration of rehearsing with a group as opposed to being an artist which is an often solitary pursuit.
Who are some of your customers/ clients?
Where can people learn more about your work or purchase their own pieces?
Modnlover Instagram: @modnlovr