You’re ¼ of the typographic girl gang “The Letterettes” - Can you please introduce yourself and share what you have gotten out of being apart of The Letterettes?
Hello! I’m Carla, a brush letterer from Melbourne. I was bitten by the lettering bug way back in 2013 when I did a hand lettering workshop in Berlin. On returning to Australia, I set up my studio where I started honing my skills under the guidance of my mentor, Barbara Enright a former showcard and ticket writer. We now teach the skill in workshop in Sydney, Melbourne and more recently Europe and the US!
Working for yourself can be lonely, so teaming up with The Letterettes has been super amazing to open myself up to pushing my skills and sharing in the highs and lows of freelance life. We’re better together!
Where do you see yourself and your art headed in the next few years?
Hopefully I can continue to keep doing what I am doing whilst juggling being a new Mum! I feel like I am emerging from the first year of raising a new human. Luckily, my work is quite family friendly and Raph drops into our workshops to win everyone over from his cuteness. I’m hoping to ramp up the showcard and signwriting with the help of my mentors and keep working on fun and challenging work with The Ette’s and our agent Jacky Winter.
Have you been met with any challenges as an artist along the way? (Personally or professionally)
I would say that having a baby whilst trying to maintain your business has been a huge challenge! I’ve had tremendous support from my partner and The Letterettes who have been amazing at picking up my slack and being there for me when I was suffering from PND during the first year of my babies’ life. I am feeling a lot better now with some sleep and more time to do what makes me happy - picking up my lettering brush is the best therapy!
What does body confidence mean to you? Is it something you’ve ever struggled with and why?
Sure have! I think what I’ve seen in the mirror hasn’t matched the reality of my body throughout my entire life. I look back at photos and think, I actually look good! But my brain does not tell me that and I have always been quite self conscious and covered up.
Since having a baby, my body has gone through such changes, carrying a baby, giving birth and breastfeeding, I have come to appreciate the amazing job it did!
What’s your favourite part about your body and why?
I think it’s my lips! I have a nice cupids bow on my top lip.
Praise You isn’t just about raising awareness for eating disorders and celebrating body positivity – it’s also shining the light on female support in the creative community, in saying that, what does inclusivity and its importance mean to you?
The Letterettes is a great example of what can happen when women band together instead of competing against each other in silos. It’s really important for me to share my skills with others through the workshops we put on.
What inspires your style of art? What are the best ways you've found that have refined your practice?
Looking at old signage around the streets of Melbourne and when I am travelling, building up a bank of images. Practice, practice, practice is the only way for your confidence and style to develop! Plus, watching over the shoulder of my mentor.
Do you have any mantras or words to live by?
Practice, patience and perseverance
What the biggest risk you’ve taken to date? What were the pressure points and was it worth it?
Undertaking a world tour of brush lettering workshops whilst 3 months pregnant! Selling all the tickets and the logistics from here nearly broke me, but I am so glad I took the risk and pulled it off. Travelling to cool cities for work is really living the dream AMIRITE?
How has your work and practice developed over time?
Lettering is one of those things you can look back and see huge improvements from the hours of practice you have done. Your consistency of shapes and letterforms and your own personal style really start to shine through. You can almost see the confidence coming out on the page from your brush strokes. There is always room for improvment and more to learn!
What or who have been some of your main creative influences?
At the start, I was inspired by Jessica Hische, Martina Flor and Mary Kate McDevitt. They showed me that lettering could be a real job! Since then, I really look to my mentor Barbara, who has been lettering for over 40 years. Even she feels like she is still learning and it excites me that I have a journey of the love of lettering ahead of me to grow and learn!
As you’ve gotten older – how has your perception of your body and confidence changed?
I think my head has always thought ‘one day I will have the perfect body that I imagine in my mind’, but that has shifted to accepting the body I am in right now! One that has let me do hiking, rock climbing, dancing, yoga and giving birth!
Social media has been on a pretty interesting journey over the past few years - where do you see it now as opposed to two years ago?
I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I think it started out as a place for sharing your life, but now it has turned into a place of highly curated imagery. You now have to post art to get work, it acts as a portfolio. Don’t get me wrong, I think this has made it easier for clients to find you, I just think it’s interesting to think how Instagram has made us create art for the sake of empty ‘likes’.
Anything else: I created an online course so you can learn brush lettering at home learnbrushlettering.com