Walking into the space of Melbourne artist/illustrator Rena Littleson is a little bit like stepping into a circus… or at the very least the remnants of a rave. Packets of candy litter the floor, fluro beads and jackets and clothing and artworks cover every surface of the attic-like space and juxtaposed with this cacophony of colour are low-fi print outs of pop heart throbs like Justin Bieber and Macaulay Culkin. Pop culture and the tripped-out bizarre meet in her work. Her technicolour paintings pop from the walls and her smooth lines and quirky faces and phrases burst from her sketchbooks. It is like stepping into a cartoon world and something tells us, that’s just the way Rena wants it.
This cartoon–like aesthetic comes through in Rena’s sketches. Almost like picking up a comic book, her one-liners accompanied by a funny character or repeated pattern have an undeniably pop aesthetic. Notes on projects to come or costumes in the works also line the pages. Tiny thoughts with the promise of bigger things to come. These works on paper are what inspired us to feature Rena as one of the creatives for the Take Note series. Presented by high-end stationers NoteMaker, the feature series sees us give a number of local creatives a Moleskin and a collection of pens and other tools. We then revisit them in a month to see what they came up with in those four weeks and talk to them about the importance of getting ideas down and ‘taking note’.
Rena marks the last profile feature in the Take Note series, and to celebrate we’re giving away Rena’s customised Cahier notepad (pictured in the spread) and a one year subscription to ACCLAIM to a lucky reader, head on over here to enter.
How would you describe your creative practice to a stranger?
Pastel dreams and neon chaos.
At what point did you realise you were going to pursue a career as an artist?
I’ve always wanted to be an artist, though I don’t see it as a career anymore, but rather a way of being.
What are some of your main weapons of choice?
At the moment I’m really into leather paint. I’ve started painting a series of leather jackets – which are both functional as fashion-wear but also amazing pieces of art.
What are some things that trigger your creative process?
Surrounding myself with colourful, creative people has kept the inspiration flowing.
When do you feel most creative?
When I’m awake.
Describe your creative process, how does one of your artworks begin?
It has to start with an idea, followed by more ideas. The artwork will then be put on hold while I struggle to decide what medium to carry out the artwork in. I will then get distracted by another idea. Weeks later I will find something imperative to that initial idea and it will finally just ‘happen’, almost by itself.
How important is getting ideas on paper? How do you formulate ideas?
If I don’t get my stuff down on paper, it will definitely be forgotten amongst many other ideas that have not been written down. I like to sit down and brainstorm ideas, but it’s also good to have an intention in the back of my head throughout the day and then the ideas can just pop into my head like magic.
How do you feel when you first start a drawing?
Sometimes, so uncertain that I don’t even want to draw it – (so I) just write it down for another time.
If you get an idea on the go, how to record this?
Just on any scrap piece of paper I can find and then stuff into my bag.
Where do you seek inspiration on a daily basis?
Describe your workspace? Where do you feel most comfortable creating?
My studio room is pretty spacious, so I can surround myself with heaps of colourful toys and fabrics and make a bit of a mess. I need to be surrounded by bright colours, patterns and textures in order to create.
What tunes are on heavy rotation when you’re at work?
Pretty much just Jedward right now…
Are there any particular subject matters that you always seem to be drawn to?
I’m pretty fickle with my interests and like to change my style a lot. My belief is to go with whatever feels good at the time.
What is your typical day?
Usually I get up and try to figure out where the hell I am and how the world got so messed up, but then I get distracted by pretty colours and all the wonderful things I could make to create my own reality.
If you were not an artist, what would you be doing?
I would probably not be alive to talk about it.
Rena used the following items for the week…
-UNIBALL UNI PIN FINE LINE PEN – 0.3 + 0.5