Nothing stands in the way of creativity for Pip Kruger—a local artist with a talent for turning life’s most insignificant moments into timeless illustrations. Describing herself as “a keen observer and an obsessive notebook carrier”, Kruger’s most humble daily encounters are reinvigorated through vibrant pen and ink doodles, quirky cat brooches, homewares, and textured decorations.
Celebrating the personal touch and embracing the imperfections of wobbly lines, Kruger creates wearable and practical art that is entirely unique and adorably quirky. Since completing a Masters of Design at UniSA, Kruger has established herself as one of Adelaide’s rising artists, with her work being featured at a range of local and interstate galleries.
With a collection full of cat and cacti brooches, animal tote bags, quirky greeting cards (you’re the dip on my chip), custom portraits for her admirers, and offbeat tea towels to garnish your kitchen, Kruger is leaving us wonderstruck with each creation. We seriously can’t get enough.
We caught up with the local lady at the Bowerbird Markets to chat about her range, how to get those creative juices flowing, and what the new year holds for her artistic endeavours.
You’re no stranger to the Bowerbird markets! What is your favourite thing about the event?
The best thing about Bowerbird (and markets in general) is meeting my wonderful happy customers face to face, they’re the ones that make this business of mine possible. My favourite thing is to hear stories about a special card someone received and how much it meant to them, or seeing people wearing my brooches. Everything I create comes straight from the heart, the thought of selling it or putting it in a shop is a secondary thought, so seeing people relate with my work means the world to me. Bowerbird is also big, very well curated and organised in my opinion, and an absolute gold mine for Christmas shopping, no need to hit the malls!
How would you describe the style of your work?
As a keen observer and an obsessive notebook carrier, the world around me is constantly recorded in pen and ink drawings. These hand-drawn elements are then combined with digital collage, fabric patterns and textured decorations. I am inspired by seemingly insignificant moments of beauty and humble moments that make you smile. My illustrations are feel-good, quirky and positive.
Your artwork extends from mere drawings to appear on stationery, bags, homewares, paper goods, jewellery, and more. Can you tell us about your motivation behind creating a such a diverse range of wares?
I began my greeting card range in my final year of Uni (Masters of Illustration). I had a total of 5 designs, I ‘door-knocked’ around Adelaide and soon found myself stocked in Urban Cow Studio. I quickly fell in love with the process of giving my illustrations purpose and meaning in the form of a simple greeting card; seeing people react to them and smile! My card range grew quickly, extending my illustrations onto textiles and jewellery was a very natural process for me, I would just get these light-bulb moments and embrace them whole-heartedly. I started getting invited to participate in group exhibitions, which was how my line of prints first got developed. I never designed with the thought of ‘will this sell’ or ‘what do my customers want to see’, I just drew the way I would if I were the only person ever to see my work, my brand just came so naturally which is why it is such a pleasure to work on now, I never forced it. I love to try new things, expanding onto tea-towels and tote bags was just so much fun, as a lover of stationary and illustration based homewares, I’m in heaven doing this kind of work.
You celebrate the personal touch and free-hand lines. Why do you find it so important to emphasise human skills and embrace the imperfections of wobbly lines?
The analogue practice of collaging combined with my digital approach brings a sense of nostalgia to my work. Favourite childhood knitted sweaters are given new life, alongside patterned pooches and wedding doves featuring doilies my grandma stitched. Working with illustrations directly from my sketch-book, means the work is never sterile or forced, it's beautiful just the way it is the first time around. I almost never labour over my work for too long when I’m creating it, the process is smooth and I don’t like to get too fussy or pedantic because it’s the wobbly crooked lines that to me, are the most unique.
When I first designed my brooches, I wanted them to sit seamlessly alongside my paper based illustrations. The shapes are created with a laser-cutter, but despite this, each brooch is different and unique, no two are the same. I wanted them to possess the natural imperfections that are inherent in something made by hand, to achieve this out-come I hand-draw each individual brooch and then have these shapes laser cut.
What are your top tips for getting creative?
I always nut out my ideas in my head before I put pen to paper, I have a crystal-clear image in my mind of what I want my work to look like, then it’s simply a matter of creating a physical illustration to be in-line with my vision. So, day dreaming and sitting and staring or taking a slow moment is when I am most creative (when it looks like I am being most non-productive)! Creativity comes at the most unexpected of times, but if I have a dead-line to meet and I need to switch on fast, a tidy desk, a pot of tea and an early start to the day is the perfect combination for me.
What upcoming creative projects can we look forward to seeing from you?
I’ll settle into the new year before launching anything new, but I do have some digitally printed wall hangings in the works that I am so so excited about! I’m also booked in to a few group exhibitions for Adelaide Fringe too.