Regional Artist Profile: Alicia Rogerson
Each month Regional Arts WA features an artist, arts worker or organisation and explores their practice in the regional arts sector. If you’ve got someone you’d like to nominate for us to feature (including yourself!) you can submit their details here.
After a three year break from art, Alicia Rogerson was inspired to reconnect with her creativity and went rummaging in her supply cupboard.
After two weeks she popped her pieces on an online shop and sold absolutely everything in less than a week. She has never looked back since!
Alicia is a full-time artist and illustrator in Bridgetown with clients that have included Sony/BMG, Dolly Magazine, Taylor Swift, Laura Ashley and The Australian Women’s Weekly.
Creativity has always been a part of Alicia’s life; however, she never planned it as a career. Previously she studied Interior Decoration, Fine Art, and Graphic Design, and a one point was keen to join the police force.
Her art practice includes various mediums such as water colour and acrylic painting, drawing, screen printing and digital work. While most of her work is made by hand, she also practices digital art on occasion.
Alicia enjoys transforming her art into items and products that become a part of our everyday life. Tea towels, CD’s, books, clothing, jewelry, wallpaper, bags, stationary, cushions and more. Her works are available for sale as prints or originals via her website. She is also available for commission work, or clients can license her artwork to use on their products or for marketing and promotion.
She often uses figurative elements in her artwork inspired by her dreams, imagination, and childhood. It was her yearning to connect with her childhood that inspired Alicia to begin her creative journey again in 2007. While Alicia had enjoyed writing stories from a young age it was a surprise gift at Christmas – a packet of Derwent pencils from the UK – that ignited her love for visual art.
Her passion for drawing and creating stories flowed into her work as an illustrator. She explains it as a “commercial art form” drawing a story to someone else’s idea for books, magazines, and editorials.
“[Illustration is] creating work that, most of the time, is interpreting someone else’s idea into a visual image that is then sold commercially. The primary aim of an illustration is to increase the value of the item that it will be used for.”
Alicia also notes that illustration has become more accepted and included in the broader arts world, whereas when she initially began her studies in Fine Arts it wasn’t a practice welcomed with open arms.
“[L]ike many others in the community, [my lecturers] believed the ideas and the process behind the artwork was more important, and were uncomfortable with monetary association. For the two years prior to returning to finish my final year of study I was exhibiting work interstate and selling internationally, gaining a lot of press, but in local art circles I was relatively unknown. The internet is where I had my fanbase and connected with followers.”
As Alicia started to sell more art at markets and exhibit at fringe art shows alongside cartoonists and street artists she picked up more traction, which lead to workshops, mentoring and collaborative projects – eventually leading to exhibitions at more established galleries, or involvement with big public art projects or celebrity clients.
One of her earliest clients was the Australian Women’s Weekly in 2012. The art director loved Alicia’s illustrations and had been following her work over the past six months. She waited for a project that fit, which ended up being a vintage cookbook. It was the first time the magazine had collaborated with an illustrator (and someone outside of the organisation) ever. Alicia created 80 illustrations in total and developed the textured finish for the book’s front cover (known as “flocking” in the print industry).
Alicia initially started with portraiture; however, clients were interested in her representation of nature inspired by her surroundings. Her artwork is created in her studio that sits on a hill by a forest. You will see a variety of subjects including mushrooms, trees, plants, and animals.
“The environment sings out to me from morning to night. I notice the weather patterns, I can see the stars at night, we have birds in our gardens and within a short walk I can be in a forest, the bush or the water.”
Alicia is very supportive of the arts community and promoting handmade local art. In 2008 she was co-founder of a series of market events for handmade arts, crafts and wares in WA.
She also offers weekly visual arts workshops for children and school holiday programs for the local community. Adult workshops include portrait and botanical water colours, papercutting for beginners, and other classes for people interested in refining their technical skills. Exploring new mediums and having fun is key. Her workshops are in huge demand, and often sell out with wait lists for more.
Mentorships are also something she offers budding student artists of all levels, who are keen for work experience. They work in studio with her and help at events. Alicia encourages other artists to believe in their work and themselves.
Alicia provides presentations that cover a variety of topics including: her art journey, suggestions for other artists to get on the same path, how they price products, and business upskilling.
“I feel that regional art has so much hidden talent. [There are so] many artists and creatives that prefer isolation and create at their own pace, as well as a huge number of hobby artists who have no idea how valued their skills are. It is almost impossible to find secondhand art supplies for sale as they get snapped up in a heartbeat!”
Relocating to Bridgetown in 2017 with her family was a very positive move for Alicia both personally and for her art practice.
“Perth life was a struggle juggling a young family, multiple jobs, a tiny house, stress and no space. Now we live in a big house surrounded by as much space as we need, I can breathe and think at the same time. Once my children are off to school then I can come into my studio and paint to my heart’s content. It often continues into the afternoon and the evenings with my children joining me or fueling their own passions whether it be reading or building cubbies. I have all the time in the world and whilst I’m constantly busy it never feels like a chore.”
In March Alicia lost her major clients in one hit; however, it was the support of the Bridgetown community that helped her through this tricky time. They quickly organised a Quick Response Grant application to Regional Arts WA for a town mural for the local community centre, and encouraged word of mouth sales for her paintings and products.
“I know I can always run my business as long as I have internet access, but I’ve found the local community and their voices to be the most valuable aspect in sustaining it, particularly through this year with the pandemic.”
Alicia is currently working on the upcoming town mural, illustrating a nature themed book for a top international publisher, creating a few portrait commissions, refreshing new product lines for Christmas, and planning regular online art workshops to launch in 2021.
“I create art because to me it is like breathing – I need to do it no matter what or I don’t feel like I’m myself.”
For more information about Alicia’s art or to purchase her handmade artworks visit her website, sign up to her newsletter or check out her social media – Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. She is available for freelance and private client projects, commissions, collaborations, workshops, exhibitions, and presentations.
FREEBIE ALERT- Alicia also kindly offers high resolution images of her artwork to download for free, print out and colour in. She encourages people to share their creations with friends and on social media too!