Beci Orpin, Designer & Artist


Do we need to introduce Beci? I mean, really? She's the model we think of when we we're talking about badass women working hard and making nice. You've all seen and admired her work, so it will be no surprise to learn here how passionate, hard-working and clever this woman is! She wears all the hats (as you'll see) and wears them well - we are stoked to have her on the team. Thanks Beci!

What do you do?

Something in between design, illustration and craft.

Do you have a maxim that you live and work by?

A few that I can never remember at times like this. My mum always told me the worst thing I could be was boring. That's a pretty good one?

What are the three milestones that have led you to where you stand?

* Discovering and completing BA Textile Design. I thought Uni wasn't for me until I found that course.

* Working freelance for few big overseas companies that I really admired. It was dreams-come-true stuff, that I actually made happen!

* Making books.

What projects do you have in the pipeline?

I've always got a lot of pots on the boil - that's how I do my best work! I'm in the finishing stages of a new kids book with Scribble, developing a kids holiday program for a Melbourne shopping centre, some DIY projects for Lunch Lady magazine, 2 big murals in Melbourne CBD, and work for two groups shows and a solo show at Lamington Drive at the end of October.

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What is your dream project?

Designing a playground or anything to do with kids on a larger scale. Or a hotel with my partner Raph (he can take care of the hospitality part and I'll do the rest).

What’s something surprising about you, that we might not know?

I don't drive and I have many excuses why (they are all lame).

What places are important to you?

Melbourne because it's my home and it's given me a lot. Tokyo because it's pure inspiration. LA because food, architecture, hazy sunsets and strip malls.

What is one facet of your field that you want to see change?

I feel like my work is often under-valued because what I do usually involved bright colours and can be naive or child-like. It still takes the same amount of brain power to design as more serious-looking work, but because it looks fun and optimistic, it's sometimes not taken as seriously. That has annoyed me forever.

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What is the best advice you’ve been given, or wish you had been told sooner?

"You don't have to be everyone's friend" - ironically given to me by one of my closest friends when we first met in Uni.

Do you have a supportive female network in your field? Was it always this way?

100% yes. Most of the people I go to for advice and support are female. I wasn't always surrounded by females - when I was working in the street wear industry it was predominantly male. I think as my work has evolved, that has come with more female involvement.

Can you share a creative experience that you have found defining?

In the early 90's I became obsessed with clothing label X-girl, which was designed by Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth and an off-shoot of the Beastie Boys clothing label X-Large. The way it combined clothing, music and street into something wearable blew my mind. After that all I wanted to do was design tee-shirt graphics within that industry, which is pretty much what I did once I graducated.

What are you listening to, reading, watching of late, that is inspiring or entertaining you?

Listening : Frank Ocean, The Stooges, Abra, Steve Lacy, Phillip Glass, Le Tigre

Reading : 'In Wild Air' Weekly newsletters are great - 'The World without Us' by Mireille Juchau was a beautiful read. I'm trying to get through 'Lolita' at the moment too but it's so creepy.

Watching : Mad Men (I resisted before but now I'm hooked), Top of the Lake, Vice TV. I just re-watched Fantastic Planet too. That's was fun.

Looking : 'Ville de Calais' by Henk Wildschudt is incredible, plus a bunch of other art books recommended to me by Kim at Kinokuniya in Sydney. She's the best - go see her.  


What do you want to be asked about that no one ever asks you?

This one got me stumped. Whatever it is I think you have covered it here.

How can we find our more about your work?

I don't have a website and haven't for five years. I'm working on it, but who knows! So instagram is the best place, or Jacky Winter folio for my more commercial work.

Who would you most like to answer these questions next?  

Kathleen Hanna.