Retro Art by Emma Wilkinson that’ll have Kids and Parents Hooked
It’s no secret amongst friends and family that I’m a bit old school, and have a strong connection with the 80s. I have really fond memories of school days filled with pastels, pop music, fingerless gloves, jelly sandals and Ferris Bueller.
Enter Emma Wilkinson; a graphic designer based in Melbourne, who creates super fun retro art prints and cards. With my love of all things retro, I was instantly drawn to her ‘Iconic Australian Food’ and ‘Old School Technology’ prints.
‘Frog in the Pond’ takes me straight back to birthday parties in primary school, where I played pin the tail on the donkey and pass the parcel. And ‘Bubble Mo Bill’ is just awesome!
The ‘Instant Camera’, ‘Mix Tape’ and ‘View Master’ prints are my faves. Back in the day, I shot mountains of Polaroid film, made a gazillion mix tapes and was obsessed with my view master.
Emma Wilkinson Retro Art
Emma grew up in inner west Melbourne and in high school, her year 12 Visual Communication teacher suggested she move into a career in design.
“Of course, I ignored her advice and decided to study travel and tourism,” Emma tells me. “After the ‘how to take a phone message’ class on Tuesday morning, I decided to leave and work at a beach bar in Greece for the summer. Because – warm waters, Greek food and potent ouzo!”.
“When I returned home, I applied for a course in graphic design. Then in 2008 I studied web design, and in 2014 I completed a digital design mentors program. Yes, I probably should have listened to my teacher! ”
It’s obvious that Emma’s teacher was spot on! When she’s not creating her retro art prints, she works as a freelance graphic designer, across both print and digital media. With an emphasis on corporate and retail, she works with clients such as Medibank and KPMG.
From Corporate to Kids Art
I asked Emma how she came to creating her retro art prints and cards.
“I was on maternity leave from a corporate design role of four years. After a large restructure, I was made redundant when my youngest son was three months old. I soon purchased an iMac and kept designing”.
Emma was drawn to Instagram, and spent days on end ‘brolling’ as she calls it (breastfeeding and scrolling!). I love this term, it’s so great and I can totally relate!
After moving into her new family home, with husband and baby boy Jack (now 3), Emma was desperate to create a space for Jack’s room, but couldn’t find any colourful prints.
Emma says, “Designing your little one’s room should be a fun exercise. And I wanted to create an emotional connection between parents and prints. When Mumma is crawling into her newborn’s room for the 100th time to resettle, I want her to look up at Bubble O Bill and think, I remember when my Nanna bought me one of those when I was 5. Bless Bill and his ice particles”.
Now Jack has a little brother Henry, 13 months, and their rooms are filled with Emma’s work. How awesome that they’ll be able to proudly say, ‘My Mum made those’.
Fun Questions with Emma
If you could live anywhere in the world (other than Melbourne), where would that be?
Drinking ouzo on a Greek island in Summer.
Spots or stripes?
Chocolate or chips?
Coffee or tea?
Summer or Winter?
Red or white wine?
I loved chatting with Emma and really, really love her prints. Had we met back at school, I’m sure we would have hit it off.
If you’re after some fab retro art prints to jazz up your house, you can find Emma’s work here.