Original Interview: January 2014

Eliza Svikulis

We chat to our little keen bean, Melbourne grad Eliza Svikulis. She took part in THREESOME with Luke Lucas this year, is about to team up with fellow type lover Nathan Ashworth for a new blog and is currently looking into a sign writing apprenticeship. Her extra curricular activities got her freelance work with House, and Hudsons Coffee. Little legend!

What are you studying and when do you graduate?
I have just finished my Diploma of Graphic Design at RMIT, Brunswick, and graduated in the annual Etihad stadium extravaganza (RMIT graduation) on the 18th of December.

What extra curricular activities have you taken part in while studying?
My final year, was a busy one. I was lucky enough to be selected to participate in TDK’s Threesome exhibition, and even luckier to be teamed with one of my typographic heroes, Luke Lucas. He was a terrific mentor, and took the time to really give specific feedback to improve my piece. The whole experience was lot of fun, and being selected for it was a real confidence boost, and a great indicator that I was on the right track.

Chalk lettering has always been a hobby for me, while waitressing during my studies. This year I took it a bit more seriously, devoting some time to chalking more considered typographic illustrations at a friend’s new cafe. Unbeknownst to me, this lettering served as a permanent advertisement for my services, and I received many opportunities out of it; mostly further chalkwork, including the new Hudson’s coffee store in Collins Square. The most exciting thing to come from the cafe work was being poached by “House” (homewares retailer), to create designs suitable for a new range of mug and saucer sets. Juggling this with schoolwork and studio placement was a serious challenge. Lots of lists, and sleep deprivation. Luckily I had some very lenient teachers who understood how much I had on my plate.

What’s your plan for when you finish?
First and foremost, I finally jumped on a plane to embark on my first overseas adventure! Upon my return in late January, I’m looking forward to a few collaborative projects, including plans for a shared blog with my fellow letter-loving graduate, Nathan Asworth (@nashworth). I plan to collaborate with St. Gertrude of Little Gold Studios on a couple of letterpressed works also. Launching a personal website/ online portfolio at some stage in the new year is a priority, as well as applying for Graphic Design internships/ freelancing/ lettering practice. Finally convincing an ‘old timer’ signpainter to take me on as an apprentice is also high on the ‘to do’ list for 2014. 

Eliza Svikulis

Eliza Svikulis

Dream job in Australia?
The ultimate dream for me would be to have a constant stream of freelance work. I’m happiest when I’m multitasking both graphic design and hand painting/drawing. Ideally, I will continue to gain a mixture of commissions that cater for this duality. In saying this, having just graduated, I think it would be beneficial for me to first spend some time in a studio environment to gain the experience to push my creative abilities further, and to put my Adobe knowledge to use. There are multiple studios I would jump at the chance to spend some time in, and a place like ‘Letterbox’ would be the ‘dream’ internship. Further on, I hope to be skilled enough to be represented by an agency like The Jacky Winter Group.

Where do you go for inspiration?
Depends on what I’m making. Sometimes it’s directly related to letterforms and typography for which I have a collection of helpful books. For ideas in general, or visual styles, I just saturate my eyes with all kinds of imagery/ Google image searches, the occasional Pinterest peruse or Youtube marathons (which usually always result in a completely unrelated Louis Theroux documentary spree). The most organic inspiration for my work comes from encountering things; old textile patterns, stain glass windows with harmonious colour combinations, vintage packaging, porcelain trinkets in op shops, anything with ornamentation- much to the annoyance of whoever’s with me at the time.

Eliza Svikulis

Eliza Svikulis

Any personal projects you have to share?
Signpainting! About half way through the year, I decided bite the bullet and give it a go. I bombarded a Melbourne signpainter with many specific questions, and he graciously invited me over for a 30 minute lesson. I bought some MDF, locked myself in my bedroom (not a good idea around all those fumes), and painted 11 signs which I then exhibited at Fawn Gallery in Collingwood in a group show. Old School New School featured that work in their post about women in design called Let Her Eat Cake. Leading up to Christmas, I also painted over 50 personalised Christmas baubles which was a harrowing task, but helped to better my brush control.

What would you be/ do? If you weren’t a designer?
Teaching/Psychology, or a mixture of the two.

Instagram: eliza_svikulis

Eliza Svikulis