This is the first post in a series I had planned to write many months ago. As I said recently on my Instagram, I’ve had some mental health challenges that have prevented me from really getting back into my writing (and you know, functioning beyond survival mode), but I’m pushing through to share with you a few interesting people I’ve met since starting studio Nikulinsky.
Tracey Gibbs, a.k.a Lalleuca, is as bright as the art she creates. We met on the internet (so many of my favourite people / artists / writers / friends – also my husband – I have met on the internet, thanks internet!). I’m not sure the circumstances under which we started chatting but it was probably something to do with our mutual love of Australian flora.
I recently visited Tracey at the Perth Upmarket (and I’m now the proud owner of one of her giclée prints, art cards and Christmas ornaments!), so for me it is a perfect moment to share a bit more about Tracey and her fabulous work.
Tracey wakes to the sound of a “Labrador percussion” as her dog beats his tail on the wall adjacent to her bed. She works full-time for herself, predominantly screen-printing, mostly with stencils hand cut from paper. After graduating from university with a degree in graphic design, Tracey found a job in publishing that enabled her to, foster deep creative roots:
Many designers find themselves buried under real estate pamphlets and corporate annual reports so I definitely had a great job as a designer,” she says.
Despite this, Tracey always had a yearning. “I felt like I was always facilitating other people’s creative babies to be born into the world and I always felt the niggle that I was playing it safe,” she says. “Eventually I realised – if not now, then when? So I took the leap, refreshed my skills over a year or so in screen-printing (a medium I had always loved and dabbled with since high school) and began building a visual language.” Nowadays, she says it feels good to be producing work that aligns with her intention.
Tracey says her point of difference is colour, which comes as no surprise to me or anyone familiar with her work. “My work is bright and bold and unabashed,” says Tracey. “It leaps forward and grabs the eye without asking for permission.” There are bold blues, vibrant oranges and sunshine yellows – colours perfect for children. In Spring next year, Tracey is releasing a children’s book through Fremantle Press. It is a counting book that features rhyming prose and screen-printed works, and she hopes that there will be an exhibition to coincide with its release.
“I find meditative space in nature and I think I have a special, almost child-like wonder for the natural environment” says Tracey.
You should also know Tracey is soon to be selling a new series of an original artwork to raise funds for WIRES NSW and GIVIT QLD.