What do you get when you mix a world-famous surf scene, beautiful beaches, hippies, hipsters, a lush region for fruit and veg and a whole lot of sunshine? Answer: a booming hub of creatives working and living in the same tiny space. In our eyes, Byron Bay lived up to all the hype we heard about it and then some.
Surf artist Christie Rigby tipped us off about an industrial estate full of art and design studios just outside the buzzing hum of Byron’s core, and what a treat it was.
We set off in our campervan in the late morning, the sun breaking through the rain clouds for the first time in days, a double rainbow filling the sky, as if to say.. this day is gonna be fucking awesome.
This is the first installment of a small series of the people we met that day.
Maria welcomed us in with a knock-out smile and showed us around their big, bright new studio. Brilliantly curated antiques and op shop goodies collected over the last six years peppered the entire space. Colors splashed all around, old mixed with new; the art and design created in the studio blending seamlessly into their collected treasures.
We chatted to Maria about the design scene in Australia, her immigration from Sweden, and the gorgeous custom surf board covers that she sews. Read on.
Everyone gets together and hangs out, we all have a unique style, so we work together. We put on creative nights all the time where we have parties and do art.
When did you move to Australia?
I moved from Sweden in 2006.
Did you study in Sweden?
Yep, Media. Then I studied design in New Town and moved to Byron Bay in 2009. I spent the holidays in Byron Bay and loved it. As soon as I had the chance I moved here and started Real Creative.
How did it all start?
Real Creative started in internet cafes. Diva and I worked as a team, we called ourselves ‘Real’ and grew from there. For a while we were sharing a studio with The Design Kids on one computer. It wasn’t long before we realised we needed one each as things were taking forever to get done. It hurt our brains! We earned some money, bought another computer, moved in to a new unit, and got going!
How did you find your clients?
We got our initial clients through friends as we had our previous portfolios of work to show. We visited art shows too and got work from those. We’ve also been asked to do Byron Bay Surf Festival.
Is there a lot of competition within the design community in Byron Bay?
No. In Sydney I found it was quite competitive but here not at all! Everyone lives and breathes for each other. Everyone gets together and hangs out, we all have a unique style, so we work together. We put on creative nights all the time where we have parties and do art.
Do you sell the art that you make?
We make most money through design. People don’t like to pay too much for art, especially if you’re not a well-known artist. We get clients from the shows and markets that we do. We sell prints and photo blocks. We find that people just want a little memento from Byron, so the smaller pieces do well. It’s something little, like $20, not a big investment piece.
You have quite a few surf boards here too, do you paint them?
Yeah, we paint them, send them off to get waxed and there’s a company that sells them.
For more information visit:
6/12 Tasman way, Byron Bay, New South Wales, 2481, Australia
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