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Cheeky Observer | Cheeky Observer Blog
The studio diary (blog) of artist Alicia McFadzean (Cheeky Observer). This blog details Alicia's collection of ideas, work in progress photos, project announcements, travel stories, plus all the other tiny things that inspire and delight her art practice. Illustration, live art, drawing, mural creation.
Cheeky Observer, Alicia McFadzean, art, blog, musings, studio diary, studio, diary, work in progress, photography, painting, illustration, design, Sydney, Cape Town
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Chasing Waterfalls

Seeking inspiration and wild abandon. Cocooned by leafy greens and dappled light. Fiercely find the roads less travelled Uncharted territories Those that that stretch outward, inward, onward. ...

Tom Ford x Cheeky Observer Illustration

Tom Ford Bags

I recently received a commission for another Tom Ford bag, similar to the previous bag I designed a few months ago. The winged horse is proving to be a favourite! Created using gold and white poscas. ...

Alicia McFadzean Cape Town Typography

Resources For An Aspiring Minimalist

Over the last 12 months I have been transitioning to a more minimalist approach to everyday life, inclusive of consuming less disposable materials, minimising food and product wastage, compacting the totality of my shoes and clothes to one simple cupboard space, and buying (wherever possible) locally-grown, seasonal food. What was the catalyst for this change? ...

Of Heroes And Craftsmanship

I want to introduce three of my heroes to you. A Formula 1 driver, a ballet dancer, an inventor. Though their professions differ, there is a common thread that link all three together - an astounding discipline, a capacity to push mind and body to the absolute brink, in the name of achieving their goals....

International Public Art Festival Cape Town

I was so lucky to be included on the roster of amazing artists participating in the 2017 International Public Art Festival Cape Town.   It was truly a meeting of styles, with the artistic collective bringing such a dynamic array of ideas, techniques and expression to the streets of Salt River. I had a wonder round yesterday and snapped a few of the works...

Robben Island Nelson Mandela's Cell

They Call Him Madiba

Over the weekend I made the journey out to Robben Island, which is just off the coast of Cape Town. Robben Island is the place where Nelson Mandela and many other political prisoners of the apartheid era spent years in captivity; the result of fighting for equality and freedom.   It was with a curious mind, but a heavy heart that we learnt...

Africa Illustration Cheeky Observer

My Africa

Fluid in its beauty, desperation, creativity, power, iniquity, magic, this is my Africa. ...

Cook & Archies coffee cup design art surry hills

Printed Coffee Cup Designs

Finally! These cups made the long journey all the way from Sydney's Cook & Archies cafe to my hot little hands all the way over here in Cape Town. I did these designs way back at the start of the year, and left before I could see them printed. See the original design work here....

Tom Ford Cheeky Observer Art Illustration

Vandalising Tom Ford

A special illustration commissioned to accompany the Skull X Chanel Bag I designed a few months ago. Created using a gold and white poscas on a Tom Ford Bag. There's something delightfully 1960's / Pop Art about this approach to art making, it calls to mind questions about consumerism, minimalism, and the notion of how a large price tag makes something seem...

alicia mcfadzean cheeky observer calligraphy

Flesh Memories

My parents bought me my first calligraphy set as a kid of 10 years old. It came with a little book that explained the different stroke techniques, and s little set of different size nibs. I got really good at it for a while - I remember being asked to write invitations and certificates in grade 6 by my teacher....

Yours Is The Earth Cheeky Observer

First Thursdays, Cape Town

A quick piece designed as part of my ongoing reflection on the earth's current climate change crisis. In the words of Leonardo DiCaprio, climate change is "...

Alicia McFadzean Posca Photography

Lines N’ Letters

A time lapse demonstration of some large scale hand lettering, created used paint and poscas on board. This script style is less uniform and a bit more free-flowing, I initially drew it up using a brush pen on paper, then added a few cheeky embellishments. Enjoy!...

Cheeky Observer Hand Lettering

Contagious Compassion

It may sound like a simple thing, but genuine, (and often random) acts of kindness are a phenomenon that have the power to heal and transform the world - from an individual to a societal level. Compassion is contagious. If you do something good for someone else, they will undoubtedly be inspired to pass this kindness along to another individual. Studies...

Sumo Salad Soup Slammer

Soup For The Soul

Sumo Salad are running a soulful campaign this winter in collaboration with OzHarvest called Heat Up The Street. For every soup slammer that's purchased and instagrammed at Sumo Salad stores, Sumo will donate 1 meal to OzHarvest. For those of you who don't know, OzHarvest is a fabulous initiative geared towards minimising food wastage and hunger. ...

Jacana Wine Design

Studio Diary: Jacana Wine Label Design

I'm in the throws of experimenting with various type styles and illustrations for an upcoming Australian wine label design project. The label essentially needs to represent the product: rich, premium, and beautifully Australian. ...

Sweet Delicious Truth Coffee

Coffee Cup Scribbles

Blank(ish) coffee cups always get me excited, as they present the opportunity to scribble on something that already brings me so much joy and make it even cooler. I also have a delicious, if unproven theory that caffeine stimulates creativity....

Lessons from Old, Beautiful Things

This vintage treasure was unearthed the other day after about 50 years lying dormant in the back of a wardrobe, a divine rediscovery that gave me something to truly marvel at. In a day and age where most products are made to be purchased, then disposed of a few years later (thank you sweatshop clothing labels, thank you IKEA), it's...

Sydney Studio

Window To The World

This light-filled, airy loft has been my window to the world, and the space to help me nurture so many ideas, drawing and paintings to life. As I pack everything up and get ready for my next adventure, I can only hope it treats it's next owner just as kindly. ...

Toby's Estate Mural concept sketch | Cheeky Observer Art

Toby’s Estate | A Cheeky Studio Diary

This project has definitely been a labour of love, so I'm happy to be able to share some work-in-progress shots. Hours and hours have gone into sketching, re-sketching, particularly for the mural design. ...

Sweet As Honey Illustrative Artwork by Alicia McFadzean

Sweet As Honey

Sweet As Honey is a piece inspired by ideas around environmental sustainability, and protection for some of the world's most endangered species. Bees play a critical role in the production of the worlds food, and on a global scale they face the threat of pesticides, parasites and climate change. In 2016 I want to create more work about issues I feel...

BioCup Artist Series

My BioCup Artist Series design was inspired by the concept of travel; a visual reflection on the power of the natural earth and its magical ability to tug at our emotional and mental drawstrings as we wander across many of its different and unique landscapes...

Labyrinth Illustration

Minoan Myth Illustrations

These two works, titled “Labyrinth” and “Ariadne” are an illustrative concepts inspired by the myth and mystery of Minoan Crete. I’ve had a romance with ancient history for most of my life, and spent many years studying the Minoans, and the symbol of the labyrinth which has been passed down through the ages, primarily through pseudo-historical, and fictional reimaginings of...

Travel Ticker Gold Foil Alicia McFadzean

Travel Ticker 3: Up Close

So much beauty in this world lies in the smallest of details. The collection of pictures below are some macro snippets I captured on my travels in various museums, shops and streets across Europe. I found exquisite craftsmanship in glass, gold, paper, neon, sugar, clay, bronze and more. I found very expensive and very kitsch. Very old and very new....

Alexis Dias Street Art Shoreditch | Alicia McFadzean

Travel Ticker 2: Old Cities, Modern Playgrounds

Getting lost is the key to a good adventure.   I stumbled on so many visual treasures in my meanderings through London, Barcelona, Cote d'Azur of France and Crete.   The thing that struck me the most about the streets in this part of the world was their history, their complexity. They whisper to the modern day people about centuries past - the social...