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Artist Focus | Crissie Rodda

last updated 24 March 2021


Crissie Rodda is an illustrator and award-winning textile designer who enjoys working with bright, bold colour palettes and describes her work as “playful, sweetly sophisticated, and ageless”. Based in New Zealand, she is inspired by nature, mid-century design, fashion and her antipodean roots. Read on to learn more about Crissie and her creative process…


Who or what inspired you to be an illustrator?

My path to becoming an illustrator has been a long and winding one. While I have always loved art, I almost completely gave up on it after high school. It’s that old familiar horror story of being told that, because I couldn’t render things realistically, I wasn’t very good. Luckily I discovered photography at the same time, which kept my creativity going and led me onto a Media Arts Degree where I rediscovered my love for art. At the time I didn’t know about amazing things like illustration or textile design, so I went on to work as a graphic designer and part-time photographer for nearly 10 years. It wasn’t until I was in my early 30’s with two young girls at home, that I discovered the amazing world of surface pattern design. That was the start of my second career in a way and eventually led me to becoming an illustrator.


What is your creative process?

My work always starts out on paper, whether it’s pencil sketches, loose & blobby gouache paintings, or inky line work. Then, once I’m happy with an idea, I take my analogue work onto my iPad and start to refine them; adding colour, texture and details. I love the freedom that working digitally provides, because I can be less precious and more experimental with my colour palettes, which is my favourite part of the process. I often have a specific colour palette in mind before I start working digitally, but sometimes I like to do a little bit of research using my colour catalogues. I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting colour combinations.


Where do you do your best creative work?

I work from home and would definitely say that my best creative time of day is in the morning, when the light is crisp and clear. I also prefer to do my work on my own, I find it easier to focus on building my ideas without distractions. On the weekends I’m always the first one up so, if I can, I like to get a little bit of solo creative time in before the noise and chaos of our busy little household kicks off.


Were you artistic as a child? Where did the creativity all begin?

Apparently when I was 5 years old I told my Mum that I wanted to be an Artist when I grew up and fly around the world on an aeroplane, which always makes me smile. I don’t think I ever really let go of that idea. I’ve always loved making and have been completely obsessed with colour and pattern for as long as I can remember. Both my grandmothers were very creative and I have uncles, aunts and older cousins that were and still are amazing sculptors, painters, potters, cartoonists and poets, so I guess I’ve had creativity in my blood from the very beginning.


What aspect of your job do you most enjoy?

The variety. I love that no two jobs have been the same and that I get to learn something new with every project I do. I also love that I finally get to embrace and revel in my imperfect art making.

What are you currently working on? Can you tell us what to expect next?

At the moment I’m working on a commission for some album cover art, as well as a new fabric collection that will be released in the summer of 2021. I’ve also recently rediscovered my love for embroidery and am really enjoying making something that doesn’t involve a screen in my free time.


What drew you to the Bright Agency?

The clients that the Bright Agency work with are pretty amazing and their artists are some of those that I admire and respect the most. The way that Bright’s artists spoke about the agency also really captured me. Support, encouragement, enthusiasm, expertise and approachability kept coming up again and again, and it really resonated with me. Being part of an agency that believes so much in what their artists do is an absolute privilege and a dream come true!


Crissie Rodda is represented by Helen Biles — to work with Crissie please get in touch. You can see more of Crissie’s work in her portfolio here.

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