Rob Price, also known as wanungara on Redbubble, currently resides in Australia. As a teacher of environmental sciences, he feels that his creativity has influenced the way he teaches; encouraging his students to explore their world.
Rob’s art expresses his love of nature, puns and the passion he feels regarding common social issues. Read on to find out more.
"I’m most proud of my work that communicates a message that questions or undermines damaging social constructs, assumptions or prejudices."
What’s the one thing you’re most proud of in your artwork?
I’m most proud of my work that communicates a message that questions or undermines damaging social constructs, assumptions or prejudices. I have a series of warning signs that alert people to things such as stereotypes about beauty (propagated by corporate pop culture) and racist and sexist social conditioning. A lot of people have written to me thanking me for making them, I feel really happy they make a difference to people and help inspire them to communicate about these issues. Some people buy ten of each and go stick them around in their town, when I hear that I feel like my mission is being accomplished.
What is your weapon of choice?
I use a variety of tools in my work including pencil, pens, cameras and even spray paint but the tool that helps me bring it all together is my trusty macbook pro with Adobe creative suite.
How would you describe your work in 7 words or less?
Punderful nature-loving mishmash with subversive aspirations
How has being a teacher changed how you approach creating?
Hmm, well I teach a lot of international university students and so often to communicate something to them (and keep them awake) I use goofy cartoon drawings of nature on the white-board. I also set assessments that require students to illustrate animals and plants to give them a way of observing and interacting with nature in a non-intellectual way. So perhaps it’s more the other way around, my creative inclination influences my teaching.
What has been the most challenging experience you’ve had during your artist journey?
I think just maintaining motivation and focus in the initial stages when the art isn’t paying much and you are distracted by the compelling need to earn money elsewhere to survive. You really need to apply some discipline to making notes of ideas and making time to sit down and create the images.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given as an artist?
Well I think that being advised by friends to share my work was pretty critical. Back in 2008 a few friends urged me to share my organic pattern drawings in various ways. I ended up printing and selling some posters myself but also posted some on Redbubble. Those illustrations haven’t been big sellers but work I posted later, inspired by the possibilities of redbubble, really took off. If I’d never made an effort to share my work that would never have happened.
We’ve chatted a lot about how you were found on RB – Can you share your story with us?
I’ve actually been found multiple times on Redbubble by people interested in using my work. I’ve signed non-exclusive licenses with a German TV station who licensed ‘Flying Duck Orchid’ for a science education program and a construction company that licensed a design for a Tshirt. Just recently a publishing company has asked to license ‘Angry Cloud’ for the cover of a calendar. Perhaps the most exciting contact however was from Maxi Cohen who has work on permanent display in the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MOMA). She asked to include my work ‘Inclusive Restroom’ in an exhibition. We are currently in correspondence about this and I really hope it happens!
Which is your favorite work uploaded to Redbubble and why?
That’s a really difficult question to answer but City Moonrise is one work that had a really easy creative flow and also conveys something meaningful to me. In City Moonrise the city itself is a newcomer in the landscape, less than 200 years old, imposed on Australia’s ancient natural and cultural landscape, destroying or marginalising the first nations of the area. The wildlife and the ancient Araucaria tree lineage from the Jurassic depicted have managed to survive the onslaught of western culture, but many species have not. The people in the foreground are like brief flames against the backdrop of of the life of the city and even moreso against the antiquity of Australia’s first cultures and life on earth. Beyond the city, the moon rises, reminding us of deep space and time, that life is short, that we need to be kind to one another, slow down and enjoy the moment.
"I try and think about what people love and relate to but sometimes also what will help shift attitudes and perceptions for the better."
Do you have a specific memory where drawing becoming an integral part of your life?
I’ve been drawing and painting since I was a small kid. I remember drawing volcanoes pretty much identical to the one in my popular work ‘Volcanoes are So Hot Right Now’ when I was really small, my skill really hasn’t advanced in some respects! I used to doodle on my workbooks at school, it kept me from dying of boredom.
What’s been the biggest technical skill that you’ve nailed?
I’m not sure I’d describe it as nailing it, but I think getting a bit of a handle on Adobe creative suite programs, especially photoshop, has been the biggest and most important technical skill I’ve developed. I have no formal training using any of it so just personal exploration and a bit of youtubing has been my pathway to picking up those skills.
What’s your top tip for selling artwork on Redbubble?
I try and think about what people love and relate to but sometimes also what will help shift attitudes and perceptions for the better.
What artwork are you excited to work on next?
The specifics are top secret ;) but I want to work on a series that raises awareness of the plight of the Great Barrier Reef. Rising ocean temperatures caused by human Carbon emissions (mainly from coal) are slowly killing the reef, but governments in Australia still seem intent on developing mega coal mines and shipping infrastructure and activity on the reef itself. These coal deposits are like a carbon bomb that will cook the climate and the reef if mined and burned. We need to keep our coal in the ground or the reef (and the world’s climate) is cactus.
Please share anything else that’s important to you as an artist.
My friends dad is an artist and he once said to me “you can liberate yourself from a conventional working life with art, but it takes courage, effort, persistence and self-motivation”. I think this is really true still but what I love about Redbubble is that the effort part of this equation can be more focused on creation of art and designs (the bit I like) as Redbubble takes care of lots of the background work. I am really grateful to Redbubble for this.