ARTIST OF THE WEEK – MIRANDA LORIKEETFebruary 18, 2015
The illustrations of Australian artist Miranda Lorikeet are both alluring and unique in two ways. First and foremost, her drawings display a mystical ability to take your mind to a distant, far away land that resembles freedom and paradise. Secondly, the entire collection of images that you see before you have been expertly crafted in MS paint.
It goes to show that in an age where design software has developed into tools of extreme complexity, the simple charm of a program designed for windows ’98 can still capture the imagination of a talented illustrator, and offer amazingly executed pieces of art.
We caught up with Miranda to find out about her journey into illustration, and what inspires her creations.
UO: How and when did you discover you wanted to be an illustrator?
MIRANDA: There’s never been a time that I haven’t been drawing; it’s something I grew up doing. My mum is a really good artist and my earliest memories are of watching her paint, draw and sew. When I was seven I told my parents “when I grow up I want to be an artist or a ballerina” and I remember my dad telling me that it was actually really hard to be an artist, and that maybe I should be a palaeontologist instead.
I drew all throughout primary school and high school but it wasn’t until around a year ago that I found MS Paint. I’d never thought about digital art before that, I’d always avoided it because it looked too hard. I used to do a lot of hand-drawn illustrations, so drawing on a computer was totally new territory for me. I think it’s really important to try out new ways of making art.
UO: How is it you figured out that using MS Paint was the best way to go about creating your art? Are there challenges involved?
M: I used to draw these big, detailed illustrations with black fine liner. I’d scan them to my computer, and for ages I was just using MS Paint as an editing tool. I’d use it to fix up blurry lines, edit out ink smudges, things like that.
Eventually I just thought, “what the hell am I doing” and ditched the pen and paper entirely and immersed myself in MS Paint. It can be a really difficult program to use; you have to treat it like a problem solving activity. You don’t always use the tools for their intended purpose, you just sort of have to fumble your way through all of them, get to know the program really well and hope for the best. I’m still working out how to use certain aspects of MS Paint to my advantage. Some really basic editing tools just don’t exist so I’ve learned to work with what I’ve got.
UO: Is there a particular theme you like to portray in your illustrations?
M: Even though my drawings constantly change, I always seem to return to the same theme; the two tiny naked girls in this vast, pastel universe full of rolling hills, deep oceans and huge cliff drops. Those drawings are about feeling like a tiny person living in this insane, intimidating world. Everything I draw is roughly based on things I’ve seen in my dreams or worst nightmares. Large bodies of water, towering rocky mountains, any landscape where water meets land.
I’m happy with whatever meaning people find in my drawings though, they’re open for interpretation. Not all of them having an underlying message. Sometimes it’s just a pretty picture.