It was a sold-out affair at our June CWC this past Saturday. Beci Orpin was a fantastic speaker, and with a slideshow of her work and work-in-progress/studio photos behind her, she gave an honest and often amusing talk about her career path to date. If there was a poster child for the saying "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life", Beci would be it!
Here is a little re-cap:
- Beci didn't have a clear idea of exactly what she wanted to study after high school, but she loved drawing and eventually found a course in textile design at RMIT which she became very passionate about. She worked hard and began to develop a distinctly bold graphic style.
- Early in her career, a keen interest in skate culture and streetwear (which was only a tiny subculture in Australia at the time) meant she was 'in the right place at the right time' when new fashion labels such as Mooks, Mossimo and M-One-11 started in Australia.
- During trips overseas she would make an effort to meet people whose fashion and design work she admired and leave a portfolio sample with them... this led to ongoing work with New York designer label Built By Wendy and streetwear labels in Japan and the USA.
- In designing clothing and accessories for her own labels Princess Tina and Tiny Mammoth, she is inspired by people on the street and in public and what they wear, rather than other designers or catwalk trends.
- Other early fashion work for PAM and Dangerfield came through friends and her strong portfolio of work.
- These days, Beci's main line of work is commercial illustration and graphic design including branding for small businesses and more corporate graphics work through her agents at the Jacky Winter Group. She likes that the 'business side' of this work is taken care of by her agent.
- She enjoys advertising work for the challenging and interesting client briefs, and thrives on a tight deadline.
- Having her own line of products keeps her creative juices flowing (she always has lots of ideas for new things to add to her range!) and she sells them via her online store and wholesale.
- She loves participating in gallery shows - not to sell work, but rather to experiment with new ideas and enjoys the challenge of developing her own brief and seeing it to completion.
- After a recent job art directing for children's performer Justine Clarke, Beci is keen to explore more lead art direction roles.
- Her strong portfolio and distinct style means she is now in demand to produce work that looks like her own style.
- Beci is extremely committed to her work and loves being busy, and thinks she often creates her best work under time pressure. But, she is careful to structure work around time for her family.
- She admits it is tricky to juggle working while caring for her two sons, but she loves her work and is okay with late nights and not a lot of sleep!
- She believes young designers and illustrators who are just starting out should do as much work as possible to build a strong portfolio, even if it means doing it for little or no money (but be sure you're careful about not being ripped off).
- Beci loves that her 'job' doesn't feel like a job, and deems herself very lucky to be able to do what she loves doing every day.
On behalf of everyone who attended on Saturday I'd like to say a big thanks to Beci for her generosity of time and advice to our group. We also raised over $200 for Stephanie Carello and her SIDS & Kids Victoria pledge.
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