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    La La Land Blog

    Interview with Carmen Hui

    Interview with Carmen Hui

    Hello Carmen, thanks so much for taking the time to speak with me about you and your art. I imagine being an artist is a pretty amazing ‘job’, can you tell me what you love about it?

    Hello! Thanks for having me. :) It is a pretty amazing job, I still pinch myself every time I think about the work that I do! I love everything about my job, from thinking up a concept, working on the layout to the mundane things like packing up an order. However, the best part would definitely be meeting the people who buy my art, seeing the smile on their faces and hearing about their stories and how a simple drawing can touch their lives.

    How would you describe your art?

    My art is very much inspired by nature and the story behind each flower or animal. I work mainly with coloured pencils and my drawings are soft and delicate with a touch of old world charm.

    Yes your subjects are predominantly flowers and animals, and these are two things that inspire happiness pretty much universally. Is that feeling also what inspires you to illustrate them?

    Yes! I love animals and flowers, it is what I’m drawn towards. I love reading about the historic meaning of each flower and the quirky personality of each animal. I often imagine what kind of lives my characters would lead while I illustrate, and what funny adventures they tend to get into.

    Okay what is your favourite flower right now?

    I have recently discovered pin cushion hakea, it is a native plant from south-western Australia. It totally looks like something from a storybook and I look forward to the day I’ll see it in real life.

    Carmen do you have any particular habits or routines that you follow while you work?

    I always draw with natural light as I find it really hard to see the subtle colour variations with artificial light and I always make sure I have a big cup of tea and a bunch of podcasts on standby.

    Awesome. Your illustrations have so much detail! How long would it take you to complete a piece like ‘Girl With Flowers’?

    Hehe, forever! I seriously do not have a life! A drawing could take anywhere from 4 to over 30 hours. For ‘Girl with Flowers’, I think it took me a total of 22 hours to produce.

    Wow! That’s so much work! Alright, what’s the most important thing art school taught you?

    I never went to art school, I studied design at uni, but funnily enough never took up a drawing major while I was there. Everything I do now is self-taught. The design course encouraged a lot of conceptual rather than practical skills, so I guess it taught me to think outside the circle and not be hindered by what is possible or not possible.

    Great lesson. And what is the most important thing life has taught you?

    To not be so precious about what you do, you can never achieve perfection and everything is about what you learn along the way.

    What is your idea of happiness? I took this from the Proust Questionnaire haha

    Hehe, pretty simple. I want to be able to draw all day and be able to make a career out of it. Extra points if I could live in a little cottage by the forest surrounded by lots of flowers and animals.

    And lastly, if you could give anyone in the world your La La Land ‘Abstract Pink and Purple Florals’ card, who would you give it to and what would it say?

    I would give it to the first person I see that looks like they needed cheering up. I would tell them everything is ok and people do care. :)

    That made me smile :)

    Click the below to see and shop Carmen Hui for La La Land :

    https://lalalandshop.com.au/collections/carmen-hui


    Photo by Tamara Graham

    Interview by Michelle Edwards

    The Power of Thank You

    The Power of Thank You

    It started when you were a kid. Please and thank you, the magic words. You were being taught that these small tokens of good manners will get you what you want. More so than bad manners, or a lack of manners at all.


    And when we grow up we come to understand that it is not just about what we can do for ourselves, but also what we can do for others. That how we act toward another person is how we make them feel.


    Think about the power of that. How such a simple thing has the potential to influence the way we make people   see themselves and also us. As the writer Maya Angelou famously said,


    “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”


    Let me ask you a question…


    Go back to the last time somebody took the effort to call or write or stop by to offer, in return, a personal and heartfelt thank you for something that you did. I hope that it won’t take too much rattling your brain to remember such an occasion. Now I want you to consider how this made you feel. Did it make you happy? Did it leave you with a greater fondness for the well mannered thanker? Did it make you want to do more for them based purely on their gratitude? Did it make you want to do more for other people too?


    Imagine how these words, if used well, could change the dynamic of your workplace, your family, your relationship, your friendships. Imagine how it could change the day of a kind stranger whom may have troubles that you will never know. Imagine how it would change yourself.


    This is the power of thank you.


    And in our fast paced, contactless, machine driven age, there is more value in your time than ever. Stop. Give some of that time and effort to someone who has given you theirs. An actual phone call, a visit, a gesture of heart and time and consideration that lasts. Not an email but a letter. Not a text but a handwritten card.

    Don’t let your thank you’s become lost when the browser closes or the text stream rolls on.


    Make them beautiful, powerful. Make them often. Make them magic again.

    Article written by Michelle Edwards

    Conversation with the artist - Melissa Hartley

    Conversation with the artist - Melissa Hartley

    Hi Melissa! First of all, thanks for taking the time to let us learn more about you and your art. It’s so nice to have your beautiful works as a part of La La Land. Speaking of your time, how long would it take you to paint an artwork such as Antony or Remington?

    Oh thank you so very much it's fantastic to be part of La la land with so many amazing artists! My paintings really take as long as it takes. I know it’s a vague answer, but I get so caught up in the details that time just passes. So I don’t see it as how long it takes as to knowing when to actually stop!


    And you are self taught - that’s incredible! What was the point or the particular artwork that made you realise you could be a working artist?

    I've always been very creative for as long as I can remember and have been a Graphic Designer for over 18 years now. Around seven years ago I got to the point where I wanted to do something more hands-on and step away from being in front of the computer all the time so I went back to my love of painting. When I started doing it though it was purely for me and my enjoyment only. I never dreamed it would get this far, but with social media I started putting myself out there and getting some really positive feedback. I guess for me "Tempestuous" was the piece that gave me the confidence to really go for it.


    Your style is very poetic, as you say. Do you come up with a concept for a painting and then begin to work on it, or does it all come together in the process of creation?

    I always come up with the full concept before I begin painting. I might do a rough sketch of my idea first and then I'll do a photo shoot. A lot of it I have visually stored in my head. From the photo shoot I then use this as my reference point to start painting.


    The titles of your paintings are often also very poetic, like ‘Ghost In The Shadows’ and ‘Living on Borrowed Time’, and are as open to interpretation. How important do you find the titles in initiating thought or discussion of what the viewer might draw for themselves as meaning within your work?

    Well I don't like to give too much away, I prefer the viewer to come up with their own interpretation as everyone will come to a painting with their own ideas and background. I use a lot of symbols in my work that had been used in art through history, so there is a familiar language there that people should already be comfortable with. The titles are just a little hint or window into the real meaning behind them.


    Your artworks have a very classic quality. Which classic artists have inspired your techniques?

    I'm inspired by so many artists, but the ones that immediately come to mind are Hieronymus Bosch, Salvador Dali and the Dutch Masters of the Golden Age, in particular Rachel Ruysch and Willem van Aelst.


    Okay best time of day for creativity - early morning or late night?

    Definitely mornings!


    What is a sure fire way for you to get a fresh burst of inspiration?

    Inspiration is everywhere! Nature just astonishes me. If I go into a florist that is a sure fire way of getting inspired for sure!


    Any habits or rituals in creating your art that you can tell us about?

    I don't really think I have any habits or rituals when it comes to creating. I like to just focus on the one painting and get engrossed in the details. I love to listen to music while I'm painting, and the music that I play is heavily dependent on my mood and the type of day it is.


    Favourite colour?

    Well I'm going to have to quote my six-year-old niece here for her stroke of genius. She always says when someone asks her her favourite colour, "the rainbow". I have to say I totally agree, I couldn't possibly decide on a favourite colour, there are too many!


    And your favourite quote?

    "Be yourself: everyone else is already taken". Oscar Wilde


    What are you most proud of from your journey and work as an artist?

    I'm always amazed at the lovely and beautiful comments I get from people. I feel blessed to be able to do this and be able to touch people this way.


    Okay, and lastly, if you were going to give anyone in the world your  ‘Cleopatra’ La La Land greeting card, who would you give it to and what would it say?

    That’s quite a tricky one. I guess I would say my too adorable British Shorthair cats for their birthday. Cleopatra was apparently such a beauty I know my two boys would be totally in awe of her:)

    Interview by La La Land's word wizard Michelle Edwards 

    How to update your logo

    How to update your logo

    Whether your business has finally decided to upgrade the logo, or simply there’s more room in the budget for a facelift, you’re likely to find yourself with the some-what challenging task of re-working and establishing the all-mighty ‘Re-brand’. We’ve put together our top tips along with our own story for how to successfully update your business’ logo without losing sight of brand’s image along the way.

    ESTABLISH WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU WANT

    First things first, you have to ask yourself some core questions to establish the correct direction to head in. Start by questioning why you want to change your original logo in the first place. It might be that the demographic for your brand has evolved and therefore your image must too.
    Or maybe its because your product or service has altered and changed directions. Along with this, re-evaluate your business’ core values too. For us, it was remembering that we strive to inspire happiness and creativity whilst supporting artists and illustrators and aim to supply the market place with unique, beautiful gifts. Our logo was almost five years old so we thought a face-lift was due. Make note of these values and thoughts and keep them close to refer to as your branding journey may need a little reminder along the way as to why you’re here in the first place!



    GENERATE VISUAL INSPIRATION AND FIND A GOOD TEAM

    When gathering visual inspiration, it is important to consider a wide range of subjects like typography, colour, shape, texture and establish what vibe you want your brand to give. If you have a in-house creative such as an illustrator or designer, let them assist you with helping generate some sketches when brainstorming. Sometime’s the first ideas end up being the backbone to the final design. After gathering as much visual inspiration as possible and establishing what you like or dislike about other logos that may be out there, reach out and find yourself a creative design team that you work and communicate well with. This is crucial! There is nothing worse than delivering your dream concept to a designer and they end up missing the mark big time. In saying that, you can’t expect the designers who assist you to read your mind
    either. We found the best way to share ideas was by sharing images of what we liked and writing down our favorite elements and meeting with the team face-to- face several times, to ensure our vision and concepts were not lost in translation.

    REVISE REFINE AND REJOICE

    By this stage you might have some idea of how you want the end product to look. Most graphic designers will provide two to three stages of rough designs to help narrow down the final idea.
    Your early ideas will help inspire these designs, however it is important to keep developing these concepts through the three rounds of design changes to fine tune the concept. For us, we knew we wanted to incorporate triangles, our four branding colours and a relatively organic, hand written logo. However it wasn’t until we looked back at our initial sketches and ideas that we found the imagery for stars and triangles made from constellations which to us, represent our artists and illustrators we publish. Upon rediscovering this concept we decided to finalise the designs and lock in the new imagery. Our branding firm who assisted in the process then helped
    create a formal style guide to help apply the new imagery to all aspects of the business.

    OBEY THE BRANDING BIBLE

    A style guide is like a branding bible to help keep your rebrand in-tact across all platforms of your business. It is made up of different elements such as; fonts for body copy and headers, branding colours and other imagery and textures, your logo and the different formats for how it can be used i.e. black/white/over-layed and essentially will contain all the branding rules to apply to whatever your business needs such as newsletters, website design, annual reports and invoices.

    APPLY THE GOODS

    Once we finalised the logo and the branding elements, we meticulously went through our own documents, letter heads, business cards, email headers and so on and found the best ways to communicate our new branding. Make sure you replace any older imagery from your previous logo. You don’t want any clients of customers looking at the two different branding types at the same time, as it it will only leave them feeling confused and thinking you’re disorganised.
    This was a slightly longer process for us as we were in the late stages of developing a brand new website to simultaneously launch with the new logo. Most people recommend waiting for an annual event such as the new year or end of financial year to launch a rebrand. As our website had some glitches and set-backs along the way, we found the best thing to do was slowly integrate the branding into our everyday business collateral such as email footers, newsletter headings and slowly share the imagery with our viewers. Then when our website was ready, we sent out newsletters to both retail and wholesale customers communicating the brand update.


    BUILD THE HYPE BY CREATING A POSITIVE LAUNCH

    Its crucial that you share the rebrand with your clients, as many people automatically assume the worst when they see change. Its up to you to communicate to them that this sort of change is a positive thing and to share with them what else is new with you. A good place to start is on social media, building up some hype and promoting that something big is coming! What also might help is sending out newsletters to your clients demonstrating the new branding as well as sharing some positive news that benefits them, allowing them to mentally link the new visual changes with something good. This could be something like a 20% off discount for your products to celebrate the launch of your new branding, or a simultaneous launch of a new product to the public so they have something exciting to look forward to. You want the public to associate this new ‘you’ as a good thing and remove any doubt they may automatically have.

    In short, a re-brand can be an excellent marketing exercise for your business where you can.

    La La Land at Finders Keepers Brisbane!

    La La Land at Finders Keepers Brisbane!

    Happy July! Hard to believe we're officially more than halfway through 2014 - scary really! Another thing that has absolutely crept up on us is Finders Keepers Brisbane, which is this weekend at The Old Museum.
    After the overwhelming response we had from our stall at Finders Keepers Sydney we're very excited to be bringing La La Land to another city and meeting you all. So, if you're free, please come on down and check out what's on offer! We're in for a very busy week preparing the goodies we'll be selling, planning out how our stand will look and flying out from Sydney, but it'll be all worth it to see some happy faces at the end of the week!
    In the meantime, you can check out our photos from the Finders Keepers Markets in Sydney to see what's in store, and please let us know below if there are any products in particular you'd like to see from us at the Brisbane Markets. See you soon!