Oslo

Davis

Oslo is an occasional illustration and design teacher at RMIT University and has provided illustrations for several publications worldwide, including the Guardian, The Age, the New York Times, The Monthly, Art Guide Australia and Readings Monthly. In fact, you might say that not so long ago he was addicted to contributing to magazines and journals, and managed to draw a ‘tonne’ of work for Tango, Is Not magazine, Sleepers, Going Down Swinging, and The Big Issue.

He also takes photos of the dishes.

Working from River Studios (next to a garbage tip and a cement factory on the banks of the Maribyrnong river), Oslo has a direct view into a city which informs quite a lot of his practice; through his observational humour it can be seen that Melbourne never disappoints when it comes to providing instances of the banal, the pretentious and the strange.

Oslo works across a variety of mediums. Always within reach of a sketchbook, but also working digitally, Oslo experiments to refine his technique in Photoshop and Procreate on the iPad. He has recently been experimenting with Google’s Tilt Brush to see how the work translates into virtual reality.

Perhaps his best-known work, Overheard, a weekly cartoon published in The Age since 2007, was published by Hardie Grant in 2017 in a collection entitled Overheard—The Art of Eavesdropping.

His most popular work is This Annoying Life—A mindless colouring book for the highly stressed, published by Black Inc. in Australia, and Chronicle Books in the United States. This Annoying Life serves as a satirical take on the colouring book craze that has gripped the world in the last few years—as well as a cathartic chance for Oslo to fill a book with drawings of everyday things that cheesed him off.

Oslo’s animated work Melbhattan, which was selected to open the St. Kilda Film Festival, featured more than sixty black-and-white tableaux of Melbourne and served as part homage, part pastiche of the opening sequence of Woody Allen’s Manhattan (1979).

Oslo has also been drawing for the Golden Plains music festival since 2012, illustrating one of the most spectacular outdoor single-stage music festivals in the world. His work for the festival has appeared on their website, posters and merchandise.

In 2018 he created an illustration for the Melbourne International Arts Festival's Melbourne Art Trams project. For almost twelve months his work, entitled Swimming Through Traffic, adorned the exterior of a 32-metre tram that travelled multiple routes throughout the city.

Davis’ process changes depending on the work—although it’s a safe bet to say that he probably started out with a pencil-and-paper sketch. The image is then scanned and digitally touched-up if necessary. His work is the result of countless revisions—anything as small as the angle of an eyebrow to a comma in a caption can change the voice of a cartoon and he’s been known to say that it’s rare that he is ever completely, 100%, satisfied with a drawing.

Lately Oslo has been experimenting with drawing on the iPad and animation. He worked closely with Scott Spark and the team at Flutter to create this animation for ‘Two Alarms’, which featured on Sparks’ album Muscle Memory.

Two Alarms

Virtual reality (VR) is the next technique that might be added to Davis’ repertoire. He has been exploring the medium at the Jacky Winter offices in Collingwood, imagining and innovating in the world of three dimensions.

As fun as that may be, however, Oslo will surely never give away his sketchbook. He’s always ready with pencil and paper to capture new ideas as they come. If for some reason he is without his sketchbook and inspiration strikes, he can also create some pretty impressive things using just his finger and his phone screen. Here are some examples of his iPhone art.

That’s me! If you want more, check out my full folio and Instagram. Got a brief? Contact me and the good folks at Jacky Winter.

With Jacky Winter you work directly with the artist alongside a hands-on producer—it’s a power-up for your artwork commission.

With Jacky Winter you work directly with the artist alongside a hands-on producer—it’s a power-up for your artwork commission.

With Jacky Winter you work directly with the artist alongside a hands-on producer—it’s a power-up for your artwork commission.