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Meet Raych Urquhart - An Australian artist and illustrator with a beautiful blog and tumblr. She is a little bit gypsy, and a whole lotta rock 'n' roll! Drawing inspiration from the southwest, cactus, feathers and fashion, her personal style and art captures a sense of wild, mystic and earthiness. She came runner up for illustration in our global advocate art search, where she had pieces exhibited in our Advocate show. We are thrilled to bring 3 great prints to life in ourrange this season.

We took the time to ask Raych, what makes her feel 'In Her Element'....

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background? How has your background and life events influenced your work?

I grew up in a rural-coastal area on the mid-north coast of NSW, where I spent most of my free time wandering around in the bushland, collecting feathers, stones, leaves, flowers, bones, mushrooms, seed pods, shells … anything unusual. Growing up in those surrounds strongly influenced the imagery that appears in my work, as well as the way I process ideas or spiritually relate to people, things, creativity, the natural world. I also lived in Brisbane while studying journalism, and am now based in Melbourne – both of which introduced me to different people, artists, ideas, possibilities …

2. How would you describe your artistic style?

Mostly illustrative, and I vacillate between kind-of sketchy, colourful, rough work, and very clean black-ink line-work, depending on my mood.

3. When do you feel ‘In Your Element’?

Definitely on the property where I grew up – specifically, when I’m drawing at the big table in the heart of the house, with the doors open to let all the bird sounds in, hair still damp from swimming in the freshwater creek, and I can see family and friends coming and going out of the periphery of my eyes while I work: mum making a huge lunch with homegrown vegies and local produce, my sisters coming back from the beach or a surf, our husbands and partners heading out fishing or talking about building bonfires, dad coming in from the paddocks at midday, the dogs sleeping in the shade of the veranda, lots of pots of tea or tins of cold beer … it’s the only time I like there to be activity around me while I work, it’s the best.

4. Can you tell us about your simple life pleasures and how you spend your ‘me time’?

Simple pleasures: hugging my dog when she’s sleepy; Mexican food; lazing around reading and not having to do anything else; camping trips with my partner; drive-in movies; stealing flowers from my neighbours’ gardens; finding sea urchin shells; cider or spiced rum; exploring; loud guitar music; swimming; lying in the sun at the end of winter …

5. If you could leave at the drop of a hat to travel anywhere, where would it be?

Madagascar or the Galapagos Islands – strange lands with stranger animals.

6. Where do you regularly turn to for creative inspiration?

Nature – collecting natural artefacts and plants/flowers always fills me with wonder; books – Cormac McCarthy, HST, Tom Wolfe and Tom Robbins; music – lately Ted Nugent, the Black Angels, John Lee Hooker; and photography – I’ll often glimpse something in a photograph, be it composition, reference or colours, that I want to take a step further in illustration.

7. Tell us about some of your favourite moments which have occurred during your career as an artist? (e.g. exhibitions, art school, people buying your works etc.)
Seeing my work on fresh white walls in art shows still feels weird and amazing – I held my first solo show at a friend’s gallery earlier this year, and that was so much fun. My favourite thing is probably just meeting different artists and people – even though I’m quite shy – because it’s so lovely to share something created in solitude with someone else. Also, I’ve recently been painting on denim jackets, and they’ve been bought by/given to people who I’m really stoked to have wearing my work.

8. What are you looking forward to and what’s your next big project?

I’m working on a few personal projects/series pieces – the one I’m most excited about is a kind-of unauthorised collaboration with my parents’ 40-year-old photographs – so hopefully I’ll be able to get through that and create either a zine or show, or both … other than that, I’m looking forward to having a break at the end of the year, moving to a new suburb, working on some interesting commissions, maybe one day catching up on sleep …

9. What type of environment do you need to create your work and get in the right mind frame?

I like to work early in the morning, preferably with tea and silence, maybe with crime-show-white-noise in the background, or maybe with a playlist I trust not to disrupt me with jams that are too powerful to resist. I’m pretty much useless if I’m tired, sick, hot, cold, or hungry. And I like to walk my dog first, otherwise she interrupts me by dragging her slobbery face all over whatever I’m doing.

10. What is your ideal way to spend time over a 24-hour period?

Waking up early and drawing/drinking tea/wandering aimlessly for a few hours, then cooking a tasty brunch with my partner before we take the Weenie Mutt dog down to the beach for swims and sun, maybe some surfing attempts. Hopefully I’d find some sea urchin shells. Maybe we would stop off at an antique store or markets on the way home. After that, it would be a lazy afternoon of reading in the shade, maybe another swim in a freshwater creek. And at night: bonfires, clear skies, spiced rum and dry, woodfired pizza, and funny stories with friends and family.

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