Esther Olsson is a Wonder Woman.
At 22 years old, painter illustrator Esther has developed her own unique, inspired style that is radically joyful and unaffected.
We recently visited Esther at her studio in Northcote, which she shares with renowned artist and mentor Kirra Jamison. Esther met us with a huge smile and it was clear her love for life radiates from her every being, taking form in her beautifully arranged artworks crafted in bright, joyful palettes. Her talent, extreme passion and commitment to the industry has seen her work for the likes of Romance Was Born, Elke Jewellery and Beci Orpin.
We first discovered Esther’s work after she posted a picture of her gold Radical Yes! toe tappers on Instagram. When planning our latest collaboration with rulers Kip & Co. Esther instantly came to mind as the perfect Radical Yes! ambassador for the campaign. Her personal style is radically aligned with her work, featuring pop colour accents, oversized silhouettes and mixed prints – clothes to be comfortable and cool in, just like her.
Originally from Ballarat, Esther is a family-girl at heart and is truly grateful to be able to practice her art. She lives with her brother and talks with great admiration for her mum, another Wonder Woman and art teacher who helps people with disabilities discover their creativity. Following in her radical footsteps, Esther is passionate about raising awareness for mental health and campaigns every year as part of Zip It.
We asked Esther to style our exclusive Kip & Co. x Radical Yes! collection in her studio. While we were there she kindly took the time to show us around, talking us through her creative process and inspiration.
Tell us a little about your work, what do you do? Why do you do it
I’m a painter illustrator based in Melbourne. My recent work uses symmetrical reflected imagery with the use of bright colours. My style has been heavily influenced by my background in studying graphic design. I paint and create because it fills my life with joy!
Tell us about your creative process. Do you have any work rituals or habits you follow?
My process is to reflect on stories and imagery from people I know and my childhood. All of my paintings are stories from my own experiences, growing up in the country and then moving to and embracing Melbourne. I am fortunate to be surrounded by amazing people, doing amazing things, constantly inspiring me and my work. My family presents me with an endless supply of stories. I shared a house with my hilarious and wild older sister Amelia and together we drank too much coffee and listened to R&B and Hip Hop way too loud.
Describe your work environments. Do you work from a studio, office, café or at home how does the space influence you?
I’m extremely lucky to have a studio in Northcote. My mentor, fake sister and part-time mother, Kirra Jamison, has been helping me with my practice and has recently given me a space attached to her studio. Working in this space means I have an awesome buddy who discusses colours, ideas, work ethic or to just eat pancakes with. I’m so lucky.
What is one thing in your life you are proud of?
What I’m most proud of in my life is being a part of Zip it for Mental Health. This campaign raises money and awareness of the crippling issues involved with Mental Health. I lost two strong brilliant uncles whose enormous struggle ended with suicide. By not talking for 24 hours I have raised $8389, thanks to the support of family and friends! For more information read this article from The Age. I will most defiantly be zipping it again this year!
If you are struggling with mental illness please contact Beyond Blue
What does being radical mean to you?
When I think of radical people I think of all the awesome hard working women I know or admire!
My mum, Di Olsson, teaches art at Ballarat Specialist School. She works extremely hard and goes above and beyond. Watching her teach makes me super proud!
My sisters, Bonnie & Amelia are radical because they teach me all the things big sisters should teach you.
Mirka Mora, because she is super radical.
Kirra Jamison is a super boss woman who works very hard! With both her art & her new venture Good Vibes Yoga (the best yoga studio in Northcote).
Beci Orpin another awesome boss women with the best work ethic, views on life and has made my life in Melbourne what it is today, another mother.
Alice Oehr is a radical inspiration because she is super young, smashing it at life and taking Melbourne by storm.
This list could go on and on - being radical to me is basically trying your hardest at whatever task that is in front of you. So if you’re doing that you automatically get added to my list.