Besides having one of, if not THE, best name I’ve heard in awhile, Oona Pritchard is an amazing mixed media artist. Her designs and illustrations at first glance seem simple enough and make you feel as though you should take a stab at an illustration or two yourself. But you’ll soon learn that what appears simple, is actually explicit attention to detail and the natural artistic talent coming from Oona cannot easily be duplicated. There’s a sad drawing on a piece of paper that is now in the trash somewhere after realizing this lesson. I’m getting beside the point now, but her illustrations made me want to create something, and that alone is enough.
Get to know her and her work below. And if drawing never came naturally to you, maybe don’t try it yourself. Or do, and show us how it turns out.
How did you get into mixed media art?
Growing up, I had always been really interested in art, but I think my interest in mixed media really started in high school. I was kind of obsessed with printmaking for a while, along with photography and a little graphic design. Once I got to college, I really made an effort to try my hand in a bunch of different mediums and at that point, I just naturally drifted towards 2D mixed media design and especially digital design.
What inspires you?
At the risk of sounding painfully cliché, literally anything and everything. I’m constantly stopping in the middle of the street to take a picture of a small shadow or writing down ideas in my phone as they come to me because I find it really hard not to be inspired by the things around me. Even little things like subtle color combinations or the composition of particular fonts on a magazine page. I’m always on the lookout.
What inspires your work?
A lot of the inspiration for my illustration work stems from things I see online (in proper millennial fashion…). My Instagram’s Saved Collection page is filled with a combination of artwork from some of my favorite artists (Blanda, Wesley Bird, Eugenia Loli), snaps from favorite fashion bloggers (@the_salty_blonde, @tezzamb, @rocky_barnes), and photos of some of my favorite surfers (Kelia Moniz, Josie Prendergast and Ivy Thomas). I’m constantly on the lookout for images of people that could easily inspire fun illustrations – things with exciting compositions or really interesting features like cool sunglasses or an elaborate pair of shoes. While there is a fairly specific style that exists within all of my work, I always want to try and push myself to draw new and eye-catching things.
Do you have a favorite piece of work that you've done? What is it, and why is it your favorite?
That’s hard… I think some of the pieces I’ve made as commissions or for gifts. There’s a personal investment in the work that makes things a little nerve-wracking at first but exponentially more rewarding once the pieces are finished. I just graduated from college and so I decided to make of a bunch of light-hearted portraits of my friends as a way to kind of commemorate that period in my life. It surprised me how much fun it really was to draw people that I knew so well and it was really awesome and gratifying to hear their reactions once they saw the work. I think those are probably some of my favorites.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to get their work out there but is struggling to do so?
I’m still very much in that bubble of trying to get my work out there so I’m not sure how much authority I necessarily have on the subject. I’m fortunate enough to have work that lends itself well digitally across platforms like Instagram and Society6.com so that’s been really helpful for me. I just think it’s important to love the work you’re making, first and foremost. I think sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in what you think people want to see from your work rather than what you really want to make. I’ve always thought of myself as a fairly introverted, modest person and so I’m still having to remind myself how important it is to be confident about my own work and the direction I’m headed, especially in public settings when I’m trying to reach larger audiences.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Hopefully happy, healthy and enjoying life. I’d love to be at a job where I can be creative, collaborative, and experimental. I just really want to be in love with what I’m doing and to feel like I’m contributing to a larger creative community a positive way.
What's the coolest project you've worked on?
I was in a printmaking class this past year and the whole concept was about taking physical prints that we had made – monoprint, collograph, drypoint – and then manipulating them digitally to create new designs and prints. I think this challenge really ignited my interest in forming collaged compositions and meshing the analog and digital worlds together. I feel like some of my most interesting work has been created as a result of this newfound mindset.
Anything exciting in the works?
I’ve been working on a lot of commissions lately; people either ordering them for themselves or as gifts. It’s really fun to see the pictures that people send in for me to base my designs off of. A lot of the time, people send in these awesome, unique images and I get so excited to start working on them because I feel like they are going to turn out so well.