If you’ve caught the tram, enjoyed a tipple at The Howling Owl, or even just scrolled Instagram lately, you’ve likely come across the distinctive work of Adelaide artist, Rachel Darling.
While she’s experimented with a range of visual mediums, Rachel’s work is largely characterised by pooch portraits and floral patterns.
“I feel most inspired after going for a walk or hike, there are so many colours, shapes and textures to be found in nature,” Rachel says. “I’ve moved through all different mediums, from water colour to digital prints and everything in between [but] the common theme would definitely be florals”.
Thinking her work looks familiar? You’d be right.
Most recently, Rachel added Wayville tram stop’s gumnut inspired mural and The Howling Owl’s sprawling juniper branch entryway to her impressive resume. “I adore doing public art pieces, there’s nothing quite like it, everyone stops to talk to you and it’s nice to be creating something for the public to enjoy,” she says.
For the self-trained visual artist, the annual South Australia Living Artists (SALA) festival presents more than an opportunity to showcase her work, it’s also a chance to connect with other local artists. “I didn’t go to art school or do a visual art degree [and] because of this I always felt like I missed out on that sense of community when it comes to connecting with other artists and like-minded creative people,” explains Rachel.
“I’ve been involved with SALA for years now and it has given me the opportunity to feel like a part of the SA art scene and I always walk away from SALA with new connections and acquaintances (and sometimes more commissions, which is always good!),” she continues.
This SALA, Rachel’s solo endeavour ins rooted in the fan favourite G&T and the botanicals that contribute to the flavours we experience every day. The exhibition explores the disconnect from petal to plate in “a series of prints depicting flowers, herbs and plants that we eat every day but might not recognise in their natural form,” she says.
But it doesn’t stop there, with Rachel also contributing to two group exhibitions SALA.
Her collaboration with Briony Steele, BOHO, injects a sense of summer into Glenelg’s Market 33 this winter and man’s best friend takes centre stage in a 28-artist strong showcase, Woof Woof.
It’s no secret Rachel’s career is on the up and up, but the Adelaide talent is showing no signs of slowing down. She has an undeniable knack for crafting vector illustrations, a trajectory she’s keen to embrace. “I think my style has always been heading towards surface pattern design, before I even knew it myself, so after these exhibitions I’m looking forward to working on a series of fabrics, wallpapers and gift wraps,” says Rachel.
“I get excited about every new project that comes along so I feel like my journey has had many highlights, hopefully there will be plenty more to come!” she says.