Colourful Language: Alice Oehr on meditative art
WORDS BY MAX BENGTSSON IMAGES BY SAM WONG
Alice Oehr is an artist, illustrator and designer from Melbourne, who works closely with local businesses and international clients to help bring their vision to life with her incredible art! She’s super productive, which is evident with work spanning across art, advertising, commercial projects, textiles, homewares, magazines and books—including a recently launched book called ‘The Art of Cake’ that you seriously need in your life.
Alice is best known for her beautiful interpretations of food — designing in a way that makes you look and think about tasty treats in a whole new light. 'As a kid I was a pretty fussy eater, so I think ever since I hit my twenties, I’ve been making up for lost time and obsessing over food. It all ties back into travel, tasting new and weird food, which I document with a diary journaling process'
You should draw what you imagine, not what you see. So if you're looking at something, you should interpret it in your own way.
We spoke about the idea of digital versus analog art with Alice, and there was lots to unpack. 'We always have to make this differentiation between digital and analog media. And people love to label me as a digital artist, which is sort of a dirty word, I think, because people associate that the computer is drawing for you, which it’s not.' She uses the example of an iPad, which has lots of simulated brushes and effects that in a way imitates traditional media. She has the creative freedom and flexibility to try lots of those mediums and techniques without having to commit to buying a whole bunch of new tools, as well as keeping the space around her conveniently mess-free.

Alice thrives when she’s able to screen print. She explains it by saying 'it's like a beautiful old fashioned way of printing an artwork that’s using custom coloured inks. It's totally different to digital printing. And the reason I choose it is because it looks better. But it's also more of an artistic process to make the actual print.' One of her latest screen prints was used as inspiration for the Colourful Language project she decided to take on: painting a timber frame to help the artwork pop and give it a completely different life.
The interesting thing about when you do something by hand is you realise how meditative and important it is to do things with your hands and how satisfying that can be.
She spent lots of time thinking about how the frame connects with the work that's in it. Being able to create a custom coloured frame gave Alice the luxury of being in control of the creative process from start to finish. But deciding on a colour that suited the artwork was the biggest challenge, 'there were so many beautiful colours and I love lots of different colours!' For Alice, it’s all about creating contrast between colours, and a lot of those are usually quite bright. It’s about finding the perfect balance, because she believes if more vibrant tones are used, then they need to be slightly muted.

The idea behind her work came from how we consume fruit and vegetables with so much packaging. So this was 'based on the reality of those sort of very high-end citrus fruits that cost about $10 each. And they're all wrapped in tissue paper.' We think the combination of the Tinted frame against the blood orange creates a beautiful conversation piece that truly speaks to her style. If you’d like to see more of Alice’s artwork, follow her on Instagram @aliceoehr. or visit her website to get your hands on 'The Art of Cake'.
We absolutely loved chatting with Alice and hearing about her creative process, digital art and seeing her Tinted frame come to life! Stay tuned for our next Colourful Language featured artist.
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