Rilla Alexander

Rilla is an Australian born now Portland,Oregon based successful designer, author and illustrator. Her influences include Jim Henson and Dr Seuss, saying she used to trace a long-haired pet in One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish so often that it “nearly fell out of the book”. Her work is characterized by playful, quirky characters and an energetic, enthusiastic, boldly coloured slightly retro style. I love the life, energy and innocence in her work.

Her work is on display in Madrid’s Museo del Prado ceramics and stationery products, on the walls of Hotel Fox in Copenhagen and she has worked with brands Puma, Nokia and Absolut Vodka. She covers branding, packaging, signage, installation, book, poster, pattern and character design.

She has published several books, her latest being The Best Book in the World which features her alter-ego Sozi who has lots of ideas but has trouble finishing them.

Her advice about being an artist/illustrator:

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I give everyone the same advice that I give myself every day – and that is just to keep going. Keep thinking up ideas, working on them and finishing them. Then do it again and again and over and over. You’ll get better, learn about yourself and your work and hopefully other people will see what you do, enjoy it and be interested in seeing more

She has published several books exploring the creative process including the felt-covered book Neighbourhood (published by viction:ary in 2006). The collaborative efforts of over 30 artists reworking and remaking hand-made toys are displayed in a sequence that stretches across the world.

After a year in London during the dotcom boom, she and her husband Steve were sitting around a New Years fire on the beach on the Sunshine Coast celebrating the dawn of the year 2000. They realised that we didn’t want to go back to that “money hungry insanity” so they started collaborating with a group of friends just for fun and it blossomed – soon afterwards they all worked together under the collaborative name Rinzen, which means ‘sudden awakening’. She recalls it as a time when she clearly realised she could do whatever she wanted to. Many years on the Rinzen collective has evolved with personal ideas and directions that the group are currently exploring.

Expat Week – Rilla Alexander, Illustrator, Berlin



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