Chaun Soh has been working as a creative director, a graphic designer and a visual artist for over 25 years, and during this time she has travelled the world! These travels have been inspiration for her illustrations for her own design company - Red Rabbit Republic.
Red Rabbit Republic came about from a desire to produce beautiful art quality prints at affordable prices. Her most recent series of work "Wildlife of Australia", features vintage style illustrations of some of our favourite Australian animals - all printed on Hahnemühle Torchon, a heavily textured paper with a beautiful organic feel.
We currently have this series on our walls as part of our featured artist programme. They really do look amazing at large scale, so pop in to see them next time you are in the neighbourhood!
Education and background:
I started with a mass communication degree in Canada with the intention of becoming a photo-journalist, but ended with a Bachelors degree in Commercial Art and Interior Design from the United States. I also have a Masters degree in Business from New Zealand. My career has spanned from advertising and publishing in a corporate environment, to running my own creative businesses overseas as well as in Melbourne, Australia.
Where are you based?
Malvern East, Melbourne.
How long have you been a visual artist for?
I have been a creative director and visual artist for Red Rabbit Republic for about two years now. I have, however, been involved in the creative industry for about 25 years. And I have loved art and design for as long as I can remember.
What do you feel is your biggest achievement to date?
In September 2014, I made an independent, unsupported foot journey from Chamonix in France to Zermatt in Switzerland. Named the Walker’s Haute Route, this is a strenuous route that traverses below the summits of 10 out of the 12 highest peaks in the Alps. Over 14 days, I walked 170km and crossed 13 mountain passes, accumulating about 11,000m elevation gain and 10,600m elevation loss.
It took all of me physically (and I had trained extremely hard for it), emotionally plus fortitude and toughness of spirit to get through the walk. I have always enjoyed an active lifestyle, but in this case I was prepared to be unable to complete the walk. Somehow I did, and it was most humbling.
What are your creative influences?
My travels. My love for adventure and nature often takes me to the mountains and also into wilderness. Being off-grid for an extended amount of time allows me to tap into a deeper part of myself where I think true creativity resides.
When travelling, I love to explore places on foot and be as ‘local’ as I can. Museums and art galleries are always inspirational; they appeal to my artistic sensibilities. Equally I enjoy visiting the local markets and curio/antique shops. You just never know when you are going to get the "eureka!" moment.
What are your favourite tools of the trade?
I was trained in the old-school way, so my favourite tools are still the humble pencil and paper. Whilst I embrace technology in my art, I find that the first sparks are easier to record in a journal or sketchbook.
As I also consider myself an art and travel photographer, I often rely on my cameras to capture the first impressions of what my art and design may transpire from.
How have you found getting started with printing at Image Science?
I have found Image Science to be highly professional and knowledgeable. They take pride in what they do, and they always strive to do things better. The printing turn-around is fast, and the print quality is unsurpassed. I trust Image Science completely with my print jobs as they care about their customer’s work as though it were their own.
I do believe that quality is in the detail. Image Science consistently show that they share this belief through their meticulousness and relentless quality control.
How has being able to create fine art (giclee) prints been influential to your business?
When my business partner Linda Ang and I started Red Rabbit Republic, we wanted to bring quality art prints to the market, that were affordable but at the same time not mass-produced. We explored various printing options including photographic and commercial off-set and in the end decided on creating giclee prints instead.
Giclee printing offers not only the tactility and exclusivity we want our prints to carry, but also enhances the retro look and feel of the prints. Feedback from our customers so far confirm that we have taken the right approach in creating giclee prints.
I have climbed/trekked some amazing mountains of the world, so right now, together with Linda, I am working on a series of mountain art prints. We are also adding more animals to our wildlife collection this year. So far we have Australian and African Wildlife, and our aim is to offer a series of animals from every continent.
I am planning to roll out prints from my travels as well. I have been experimenting with a certain creative process using a combination of photographic images and various mediums. I have always been fascinated by image transfer and the seemingly endless possibilities it offers, so it's quite likely some of these prints will involve this technique.
As far as business goes, Red Rabbit Republic is still in its infancy as it is being run alongside our respective professional design practices. I realise that we are operating in a new world, where having a strong presence on various online platforms is often the key to growth and sustainability. I think we could do better in this area. That being said, ultimately Red Rabbit Republic is a fun space for artistic expressions, and this will always underpin my creative as well as business decisions.