I am a little bit in love with Kareena Zerefos right now. She contacted me a little while ago asking if Mr Sparrow would be interested in stocking her prints or jewellery, but it wasn't until I received the package from her this morning that I realised just how amazing the work of this Sydney-based artist is.
The Greek-Australian 27-year-old studied at the College of Fine Arts and worked as a graphic designer for a while before taking the plunge into full time art and illustration two years ago. She has worked for clients as diverse as Bob Evans, Mambo, KMS California, EMI and Sportsgirl, as well as receiving a number of awards and grants and participating in numerous solo and group exhibitions around Australia.
Kareena's work is inspired mostly by the nostalgic things she has hoarded over the years: a collection of old super-8 footage from her dad’s childhood in rural New South Wales, vintage postcards and photos, children’s books and delicate fine bone china tea sets. From these she pieces together her own sometimes-shadowy little worlds in a delicate and bittersweet illustrative style. These dreamy worlds are inhabited by all kinds of curious creatures as well as children lost in their own imagination.
Kareena works using a variety of media, including pencil, gouache, tea and ink, and often combines traditional drawing with contemporary digital graphic techniques. Her process is unique and ever-evolving. She says, "Before I start drawing, I make collages from photocopied bits and pieces to plan out the composition and to find all of the right elements to bring into the work. Then I use my collage as my reference to draw from. I always work with a really light and loose outline layer in pencil, work up a couple of layers by spilling and dripping ink, gouache and tea and then work over it all with the detailed pencil lines.”
She sells her beautiful art prints, posters and jewellery under the name Olive & Willow, and has also collaborated with jewellery designer Zoe Sernack to create a limited edition collection of silver charms with coloured enamel stripes under the name ZM925 ♥ KAREENA.
Two of Kareena's signed art prints - Bumblebee Girl and They Defeat the Mean Giants - are now available in the Mr Sparrow online store. Also online are the beautiful Elephant and Carnival Horses posters. These are all available online only (not in the Subiaco store) so make sure you take a look.
Also in the store and online are the full collection of sterling silver charm necklaces. These are absolutely stunning - a nice solid silver charm with super-sweet multi-coloured stripes hangs from a delicate silver chain and they come packaged in a fantastic little tin. The hardest part is choosing from the deer, the elephant, Sebastien the goldfish or the hello owl!
And now for the most exciting bit of all! Kareena was sweet enough to include one of her Petits Travaux giftcard sets with my order and I've decided to pass it on to one of you! There are four beautifully illustrated cards in the set (featuring four different artworks), printed using vegetable based inks on 100% recycled card, with 100% recycled paper envelopes. The set is valued at $25. It's going to be hard to part with these but Kareena's work is so beautiful I wanted to share it! To be in the running to win these lovely cards just leave a comment on this post and I'll pick a winner at 5pm tomorrow. Thanks!
PS Sorry, no "happy Friday" post today (I forgot to take my weekly photo - oops!) but I do hope you have a lovely weekend! :)