Cosmic Forest Tasha Whittle - Public Art Program - Colour Box Studio 2014. Image courtesy of the artist.
Work by Tasha Whittle. Image courtesy of the artist.

Artist Tasha Whittle will bring the old Colour Box Studio alleyway wall to life with her Comic Forest on 28th June. Come down between 12-4pm and immerse yourself in a world “filled with weird and wonderful characters, landscapes and adventures”. This is a free event as part of Colour Box Studio’s Public Art Program. And for something a bit special (and a gold coin donation) Tasha will paint your own Cosmic Forest character portrait! All of this will be happening to the sounds of Jazz Pianist Victor Dilks playing live. You can also book yourself in to the Art Crawl led by Wynter Projects. For all the details: click here.

Colour Box Studio recently interviewed Tasha Whittle to find out more about her art practice and what inspires her.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.

I am an artist, illustrator and high five facilitator from Manchester, UK. What is it I do? hmm, ask me in 20 years and I’ll be able to give you a well rounded answer! I do a lot of different things but for now I’m just doing a lot of drawing, painting and making towards a new collection of products and exhibition work. 

Cosmic Forest Tasha Whittle - Public Art Program - Colour Box Studio 2014. Image courtesy of the artist.
Cosmic Forest Tasha Whittle – Image courtesy of the artist.

Tell us about your past projects. What has been your most treasured creation/project?
Every project is a treasure! But from last year my favourite commissioned project was the ‘Travelling Tea Room’  for Stoke Appetite. I had complete creative control and vision for the project.. I designed and illustrated all the branding, visual idents and the interior decoration that was made in my studio alongside some amazingly talented friends! It was the hottest week in Manchester and we were all there screen printing, sewing and making massive hanging banners, bunting, tea towels, massive tea bag cushions, lazer cutting, making stamps, picking vinyl.. it was one of the most intense projects I had done to date on such a tight timescale. Seeing it up and people inside it made it so worth it though.. that was a dream job.

My other treasured projects are the on going collaborative ones with friends.

Where did you grow up and has it influenced what you create?

Tasha Whittle - Cosmic Forest - Colour Box STudio public Art program
By Tasha Whittle. Image courtesy of the artist.

I grew up in the countryside (Norfolk, UK) climbing trees and jumping over ditches surrounded by nature in a small village with no street lamps. You could really see the stars out there and being close to a river I would always see birds flying around.  When I was 17 I started putting on DIY punk, 90’s emo, metal, folk gigs for a few years, making posters for the shows, I designed and screen printed a 7″ of a friends band out of my dining room.. man I would love to go back into my head when I was doing all that stuff.. I just didn’t think or care, I just did it! I had some really good teachers as well, who really supported me in my development.. I moved to Manchester when I was 19, grew up into an adult, cut my teeth in what I do now and was there till I moved out here. 

So nature, DIY attitude and the Manchester creative community has definitely influenced and inspired my work,  I wouldn’t create what I do without it.  

Who or what was inspires your creativity?
Recently my own thoughts, feelings and trying to understand and deal with my current situation. Life is so unpredictable that every day is an inspiration. I love one liners. 
Music is always a great catalyst for producing work and I can’t seem to create without it. When drawing I try not to think too much and let the pen take itself for a walk around the paper, it’s all instinctive. Trusting your gut and self is really important when creating.
Animals and nature are obviously great visual triggers and my friends who are really smashing it in their fields back in the UK and around the world. It makes me feel proud to know such a great bunch of people but it also keeps me focused on what I’m doing. There is a long list of artists & individuals, past and present that make me go ‘f******kkkkk yeeeeeehhh’. – it’s those people who just do it / are doing it that inspires me the most. Laughter and having fun as well, I know i’m doing something right If it makes me chuckle to myself! (also can be seen as slightly mad…!)

Where do you feel most creative?
In my studio, painting a wall, in the kitchen, sharing ideas.  

Has being in Melbourne, away from the UK influenced your art work?
Yes and no. I see a lot of similarities to Manchester, it’s just Melbourne is 3 times as big! My current situation and recent decease of my family over here is the main focus of inspiration within this new body of work. 

Why did you decide on the Cosmic Forest for the Colour Box Studio alleyway?
The characters from the Cosmic Forest follow me around wherever I go, it felt like a nice opportunity to introduce Footscray to them. 

What can visitors to expect to at the Cosmic Forest?
I can’t even say, I’m not sure which character wants to come out! There will be a short story about this fellow to accompany the piece. 

Work by Tasha Whittle. Cosmic Forest - Colour Box Studio Public Art Program
Work by Tasha Whittle. Image courtesy of the artist.

What are you working on next?
Producing and making products that will be out and about in a couple of months time!!! Whilst working on a new body of work to exhibit.
It’s been a while since I’ve been able to focus on my own work souly so I’m taking every day and experience as it comes. There are some cross continental collaborations going on as well!

Where can we see more of your work?
Instagram: @thecolouringbox 

….essentially anything thecolouringbox is me! 


Tasha Whittle’s Cosmic Forest will come alive on Sat 28 June from 12-4pm at the old Colour Box Studio Alleyway, 236 Nicholson St, Footscray, VIC 3011.

 For the event listing: click here.