You might recognise Georgia Perry’s fun and colourful designs, which have become an iconic fixture of Melbourne’s cultural scene. And it’s not just us Aussies who are fans of her work with Interview magazine, the New York Times, Man Repeller and Refinery29 also featuring her pieces. We caught up with Georgia – who lists Sesame Street as her biggest design influence growing up – about inspiration, the road to becoming an independent artist, and her latest venture, a quirky accessories collaboration with KitKat.
It’s been a big year for you. Three years after launching your eponymous accessories range in 2014, you’ve opened your first retail store, Kiosk by Georgia Perry, in Fitzroy and designed an accessories range for the KitKat Chocolatory just a few blocks away at Melbourne Central. How did the collaboration come about?
The KitKat Chocolatory team in Australia reached out to me to collaborate with them on their first ever accessories collection after being fans of my pins and scarves. The project then came together quite quickly after that, and I created a suite of illustrations (and collaborated with KitKat Chocolatory on custom KitKat flavours) that represented celebration, discovery and adventure. Collaborating with such an iconic brand and working with head chocolatier Connie [Yuen] using all the different KitKat flavours in the store was so fun.
What are your favourite pieces from the range?
It was a super-fun little project, and I think the products all turned out beautifully. The silk scarf, in particular, is so luxe and is probably my favourite (but the pins are super cute too). It never gets old seeing something you’ve created on a computer screen come to life in the form of a 3D product you can touch.
Who else is on your collaboration wish list?
My ultimate collaboration would be to work on a project for Sesame Street. It was my favourite show when I was growing up and I’m sure it informed some of my design aesthetic.
How long did it take you to establish yourself as an independent artist?
I suppose in a way the process really began as soon as I started university, which is now 14 years ago. Every assignment I did, every little freelance gig and graphic design role I had, were all small steps towards my end goal, which was always to work for myself.
What did you do before you left full-time work to go freelance four years ago?
I’d worked as a graphic designer/illustrator in the design industry for five to six years before going out on my own. I’d always wanted to work for myself, but I was lucky enough to cut my teeth in a few really great smaller design studios first, such as Debaser and Boccalatte in Sydney, as well as freelancing for various advertising agencies. I learnt so much from working that way and slowly gained the confidence and skills to feel like I could successfully go out on my own.
Describe your style in three words.
Colourful, fun, chic.
You’ve lived in Melbourne for a few years now having moved from Sydney. What do you think the two cities could learn from each other about the creative scene?
I love living in Melbourne, but I still love Sydney too. I’d never pit them against each other, but it does feel as though more value is placed on the creative industries in Melbourne. I’m not sure if it’s the government, cost of living or just the liveability of the city itself, but it does feel like your dreams are a little more within reach here in Melbourne.
You’re a self-confessed travel lover and souvenir collector. What’s your favourite piece you’ve picked up overseas?
I always like to buy vintage silk scarves when I travel, as they’re easy to transport and always feature beautiful colours and illustrations. I have a favourite that I bought in Japan that features hand-drawn maps – they’re endlessly inspiring to me.
What inspires your work now?
I love Broad City – it has the best opening graphics – and I’ve just finished reading David Sedaris’ Theft by Finding, which was so great. Inspiration is everywhere for me – in listening to music, looking at art, reading books, watching TV and travelling to new places. Just staying present and keeping my eyes open in the world around me.
The Georgia Perry for KitKat Chocolatory collection is available in-store until September 30.
Photography by Tim Grey