Five Questions With Thistle Be Nice

Written by Sophie Pike
on 11 July, 2019

Thistle Be Nice is the name dreamt up by animal-loving Sophie McPike, a Melbourne based artist creating whimsical illustrations & sculptures bursting with flower power. Her work is a mixture of retro design and cheerful colour pallets with a dash of sweet self-love reminders to make you smile. We cannot wait to see her stall this July at Finders Keepers Melbourne AW19 and though we would take five to share five in the lead-up! Read on!

Tell us a bit about your retro-inspired art and how you came to be a seller with us at Finders Keepers?

Sometimes I just feel like I was born in the wrong era! I’m in love with the weird and wonderful colour pallets used back in the 50s/60s/70s. Playing with colours and their relationships with each other is one of my favourite things. Some of my illustrations are just based on colour pallets I find exciting and want to play with. I also love to play with the rhythm and flow of line and shape and how it all fits together in a pleasing composition. Florals and nature is a huge part of my work as well as big curvy figures.

I’ve always loved coming to the Finders Keepers over the years and dreamed of one day being one of the exhibitors – and just last year I dived into working as an artist full time and was able to be part of the FK Stallholders team!

Your work is bursting with flower power and contagious colour! What does your creative process look like?

My creative process is totally malleable and changes depending on my mood, materials in front of me and my space. My sketchbook is attached at my hip and I experiment, scribble and doodle in it every day. My sketches often start more like how I think certain ideas should feel rather than the way I think they should look. I often take my very loose sketchbook drawings and use them as a guide for bigger works. I ‘sketch’ onto large boards with lashings of colour – this is always the part I have most fun with! The rest just gets pushed and pulled around until it finds its place.

I’m just constantly baffled by how silly life can be and how weird it is to be a human – which helps me to laugh a lot, to keep cheery and stay light-hearted.

What do you love about living in Melbourne as an artist?

I just love that Melbourne HAS EVERYTHING! The Melbourne art bubble is bustling and always exciting. I love that there is always something new to look at or experience. Being an artist here means that we have access to Art supply shops in almost every suburb, galleries everywhere, co-working spaces, classes and workshops to run or take part in… Melbourne is so colourful!

Your creative journey is one with many colourful paths, how have you made decisions around growing and evolving your practice?

I have really busy hands! I just love making, making, making! I’m passionate about trying new things all the time and experimenting in my practice because if I have to stick to one single thing I’d get too bored and my work becomes stiff and forced.
Trying new things has pushed my brain to think differently – actually, my recent ceramic work has made me think about my illustration work in a different way.

I really grow artistically with each new medium I touch – whether I can make it work in a natural way or if I have to somewhat struggle through a new process – it’s all so exciting to me!

What’s your favourite self-love reminder to get you through a blue day?

Charlie Chaplin said something along the lines of “A day without laughter is a day wasted”. I think about this quote often. I’m just constantly baffled by how silly life can be and how weird it is to be a human – which helps me to laugh a lot, to keep cheery and stay light-hearted.

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