Beck Wallman started her business Wally Paper Co. out of a love of greeting cards and a desire to see some more unique messages on the front of them – like “Happy Birthday ya filthy animal!”  We chatted to Beck about her move from working as an art director to running a greeting card company and late-night brainstorming.  You can check out Beck’s quirky cards for every occasion at the Colour Box Studio Spring Pop Up Shop, running till 4 November.

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

I’m obsessed with cards and keep all the decent, great, terrible, cheesy, funny and soppy ones I’ve ever received. I have boxes and boxes of them. I’m always telling my boyfriend not to worry about a present, I just want a card. After five years together he’s finally cottoned on and has started drawing one for me each birthday in comic book form with stick figures. They’re the best ones I’ve ever received.

Wally Paper Co card
Wally Paper Co card

Most of my favourite cards have something great written inside by someone I really love, but very few have a great message on the outside. They’re generally all so predictable. That’s why I started Wally Paper Co. I wanted to start a card company that has a bit more originality and cheek. My hope is that if the card’s fun, personal and truthful enough, you barely have to say anything inside.

How did you start your creative business/arts practice and why?

I’ve been an art director in advertising, film, tv and music videos for about 15 years but it’s not an easy job to hold down when you’ve got little kids. After my two girls were born I had to rethink my career path. I’m still doing the occasional small, freelance art direction job but decided now is a great time to jump in and start my own little greeting card company. It’s very small at the moment and it’s all from a desk with boxes at my feet, but I’m flipping loving it. Writing and drawing, selling at markets, chasing stockists – it’s a new world but it’s really fun. It gives me a real buzz helping people express their crazy feelings for each other and getting a giggle.

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

I grew up in Geelong with my brothers and we’re all pretty obsessed with drawing. Mum and dad went through a pretty crazy church phase and we found ourselves stuck at church for hours every week and that’s where we honed our skills, and got some pretty funny material – drawing all over the church newsletter. It’s funny to think that my brothers and I are still drawing all the time, and between us we’re cartoonists, illustrators, art directors and furniture makers.

Wally Paper Co cards
Wally Paper Co cards

What is your current project?

I’m talking to a client about doing a specific kids range for their stores, it should be really fun. I’m also working on multi card packs and invitations for my first trade show next year.

Who or what is your inspiration?

I love the darkness and honesty of David Shrigley, contrasted against the prettiness of bunnies, unicorns and hairy, pastel coloured monsters.

Where do you feel most creative?

Unfortunately lying in bed when I’m supposed to be sleeping. The notes section on my phone gets bigger nearly every night.

What can visitors expect to see from you in the Colour Box Studio Spring Pop Up Shop?

A really cheeky mix of cards for every occasion and non-occasion. Birthdays, Christmas, new baby, love, like, thank you, miss you, don’t miss you, congratulation cards. I think I’ve got pretty much every reason to give a card covered.

Where can we see more of your work?

Mali and Wolf – 75 Preston Street Geelong west.
Magnation – 88 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne.

With YOU GUYS at the Colour Box Studio Spring Pop Up Shop until November 4.

I’ll also be doing a few Christmas markets too including the ‘Take it Easy Christmas Market’ at Home-work in Brunswick and the ‘Mad Hatter’s Christmas Market’ in Mornington. Hopefully, I’ll see some of you down there.

My website with my full range is:
Plus all the usual haunts:
Instagram: @wallypaperco

Wally Paper Co cards at the Colour Box Studio Spring Pop Up Shop
Wally Paper Co cards at the Colour Box Studio Spring Pop Up Shop

Find Beck’s cards as well as work from other local makers at Colour Box Studio’s Spring Pop Up Shop located at VU at Metrowest in the heart of Footscray.

Where: VU at MetroWest, 138 Nicholson Street, Footscray, VIC 3011

Open: Tuesday-Friday 9.30-5pm, Saturday 10-4pm

Dates: 7 October – 4 November 2016

Getting there: 5mins walk from Footscray Train Station and Tram Stop, limited on street free parking, paid parking available at Footscray Kmart.

Find more information here.

Images provided by Beck Wallman.