Zeke’s Lunchbox is a pseudonym and brand of artist/designer Julia Rich. Under this name she creates work that is influenced by kitsch art and space age while extrapolating ideas with imagery from everything B-grade. The work is triggered by schlock artists and draws inspiration from illustrators of Goosebumps and The Garbage Pail Kids. A bowerbird of pop culture, Zeke creates a glittering assemblage of excess, overwhelming yet carefully balanced in composition, content and colour.
Tell us about your career as an artist.
I fell into being an artist after my degree in Fashion and Textiles. I had such a strong urge to paint and needed to explore that career path to the full extent before writing it off. Three years later and I’m still focusing on my art and have managed to not get a “real” job! I think my time and sacrifice are starting to pay off and it’s really starting to pick up! I’m pretty proud to be honest.
How would you describe your style?
I would describe my work as post-surreal pop with a heavy influence in retro sci-fi. I like to think of the work as a melange of all my experiences with the goal of escapism in mind.
How do you go about forming your creative ideas and concepts?
My creative process is very much about writing lists and keywords to drive home concepts. I typically have really strong ideas that come to me randomly and I usually stick to them because that initial surge is almost hypnotising. I’ll research colour combinations or search for stories that are similar in concept then sketch everything out until I’m happy with the idea. I tend to not finalise the drawings most of the time because I like to leave some mystery and problem solving when I’m painting.
You’ve been creating a new design for us here at Wild Minded, can you talk us through your creative rationale on this project?
I loved this project because it really kept my aesthetic in mind with a very concise brief – to capture the essence of Wild. When I think of the word “wild” I’m reminded of mystery and wonder, so I really wanted to keep that at the core.
How would you describe the Wild Minded artwork?
When I thought of the word “wild” I instantly had an image that I wanted to create. Elements of deep forests came to mind with rich fauna and a composition that is abundant and vivid. I think the artwork definitely captures a sense of wanderlust and the unknown.
What inspires you?
I get a lot of inspiration from films, fashion and pop culture. Anything that’s jovial, playful and weird – count me in! The inspiration is always a jumping-off point and then I usually brainstorm and write a lot.
What are the various mediums you use to create works?
My go-to is acrylic paint, it’s my jam! I also create “soft sculptures” so that process involves a lot of mediums, from painting to sewing and beading. But lately, I’ve been working with a lot more digital work, my mind is often so busy that the process of working in a neat environment with a single device is really liberating and definitely eases the thinking process.
Have you worked on any international projects?
I’ve shown my art overseas a fair bit in the last couple of years, mainly in the US and UK. I have a hand-painted Norma Kamali dress showing in Art Basel Miami in the next month which is very exciting!
What kind of commercial projects have you worked on?
Earlier this year I collaborated with a local Sydney brand called Personail, I created a unique nail wrap for the brand and they encouraged me to be as loud as possible. I’ve also designed some textiles prints for an indie brand called DGTL LUXE, which is no longer around but I still get lots of requests for that collab! And lastly, I just designed some new merchandise for a company called Rollerfit, my brief was Bowie meets Rollerskating. That was tonnes of fun!