WE CHATTED WITH TO PEARL TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT HER ARTWORK, INSPIRATION AND HER PRINT-MAKING PROCESS.
Can you share how you began your artistic journey?
I have always been drawn to creativity and art and have been creating things since anyone in my life can remember and have always been supported and encouraged. I have memories of drawing on my childhood home walls and my mum not wanting to cover them up because she loved anything I made (although maybe I was discouraged not to do that). While growing up I have not shied away from any mediums which I think has helped me develop a love and curiosity for making art and finding new ways to express myself.
How did you find your painting style?
Although I am always growing and exploring my style, I believe my artwork revolves around my daily influences and what is affecting me at the time. My granddad is a very well accomplished Indigenous artist, so growing up I looked up to him and the art he would create. He has never seemed to lose his motivation and interest in creating art, which I think has been passed down to me. I enjoy using complimentary colours and using elements in new and unique ways and experimenting with both traditional and more contemporary art techniques. I always want my artwork to catch people’s eye.
Does living in the Northern Rivers influence your approach to your artwork?
Yes. I am surrounded my so many artists of every kind where I live, and the natural environment is rich in many ways which inspires me. The artwork used in the garments were inspired by the elements of the land on which we live and also symbolise many natural aspects. Living in the northern rivers I have access to the sun and rain, mountains and sand and most things in-between so I wanted to show some of that through the pieces and invite others to as well by wearing them.
Can you share the story behind the art and print work created for Kozii’s spring collection?
The artwork I have created for Kozii swimwear is some of my first Indigenous pieces I have created. I mainly wanted to design something that many people can enjoy and appreciate, and to bring recognition and acknowledgment to the Indigenous people and culture that still exists today and to further the reach of contemporary Aboriginal art and design into today’s society. The pieces have symbolism and represent the natural elements of the earth, with a focus on water, hence the name Jabil Collection, meaning “water” in Bundjalung language. I’ve also named some of the prints using Gamilaraay language, which is my personal Indigenous heritage because I wanted to have a connection to the artwork and stories being told throughout them.
What materials did you use to create this collection?
I started by sketching many ideas onto paper then deciding which ones had the best potential to become artwork. I mainly worked digitally as that’s what is needed for the swimwear prints to be created, but using my iPad I am able to create detailed and realistic painting techniques like seen in the soon to be released Gali Mirii print. By working digitally, I am able to use parts of artwork and change them very easily, like colour and size or add or takeaway parts which helps to design more choices for the swimwear. I like to work digitally because of the ease of use and also the many choices and ways I can adjust the designs into exactly what I envision in my mind and convey the story I would like.
Can you tell us a bit about the printing process?
Printing artwork the right colour, contrast, size, enough detail etc is always very tricky and usually takes a lot of attempts! Also working at Kozii we use high quality and recycled swimwear fabrics that all react differently to the sublimation process. (This is the process of transferring the ink into the fabrics.) To produce the same artwork that I am seeing on screen or on paper onto the swimwear we have to use spot colours and precise measurements. This involves me setting up many various samples of the prints each with slight tweaks so the team can decide on the most accurate or best one! Sometimes this process takes a few weeks as the printing process can be a bit unpredictable, and we strive for the best artwork.
What is a usual day in the studio like for you?
I usually grab a coffee with the other girls in the office then go over some notes on what we will be doing today and things to catch up on. At Kozii we also work with many surf clubs around Australia and other parts of the world. This involves testing colours, prints and various garments while working alongside the clubs to achieve their unique and high-quality designs! Then I may start sketching new ideas for upcoming retail prints, while choosing colour palattes and the themes behind the design, while also finalising more refined prints and getting feedback from the creative team.
How does it feel to see you work translated onto swimwear?
Quite surreal. Like I said I’ve always had a passion for art and design and some fashion creation too, so to have the opportunity to create and see my artwork being used for garments and swimwear is awesome. It feels great to know people are enjoying my artwork enough to wear it!
What’s next for Pearl Campbell?
I would love to elevate my art and really find my style and keep working on surface design. Having achieved my diploma of graphic design in 2021 I would also love to expand my portfolio to more typography and print works, and possibly creating designs for the music industry and continuously incorporate my Indigenous artwork into more fashion and digital designs that can be used for future projects.
Photography and editing by Leisa Hale