Jocelyn Proust: Bursting into spring with bold, bright and happy prints
Jocelyn Proust is one of Australia’s most recognisable artists. Here she talks about her new designs for Australia Post’s Online Shop, how to sustain a creative career and her advice for budding artists.
Jocelyn Proust grew up on the northern beaches of Sydney surrounded by bush, wildflowers, birds and even koalas. When she wasn’t outdoors, she watched her nanna handcraft cards with pressed native flowers while her mother painted beautiful botanical pieces.
Being immersed in nature and raised by artists inevitably shaped Jocelyn’s own creative path. In school, she was the kid who threw herself into arts and craft activities. As she blossomed as an artist, she found a niche that made her heart sing – designing interiors, wallpaper and patterned fabric.
When it came to choosing a career path, Jocelyn took a leaf from her childhood passion and decided to specialise in pattern design for walls, paper, canvas, fabric and ceramics. Her signature style is an expression of bold colours, striking abstract prints and clean lines.
Today, Jocelyn is considered one of Australia’s most renowned artists and has designed collections for various local businesses, including for Australia Post’s Online Shop.
We talk to her about the inspiration behind the Australia Post collection, how she’s sustained a creative career and her advice for emerging artists.
Tell us about the collection you designed for Australia Post’s Online Shop.
This collection incorporates three designs. Two are florals and showcase lots of different Australian native plants. They have a really bright, happy look. The third design features one of Australia’s most recognisable birds - the Rainbow Lorikeet. I see these beautiful birds every day and I love their raucous play.
Who or what are your design inspirations?
I have a large collection of art and design books that I love to refer to for inspiration. Some of my favourite designers include William Morris, Alexander Girard and Florence Broadhurst. I also love collecting books on birds and wildflowers. A quick look at those is always inspiring!
What does your daily routine look like?
I start every day with an hour or more of walking early in the morning, followed by an ocean swim in summer. This is the best time for brainstorming and thinking about new designs and ideas.
I don’t have a rigid routine as I need to be flexible. It depends on what I’m working on and the client I’m working with. I spend the morning responding to overnight emails from international clients and getting admin tasks out of the way. Then I can spend the afternoon on client work or creating new work.
Do you have a creative process for starting a new project?
I often start with a mood board that might have colour ideas and images of the subject matter along with a list of important things that need to be considered. I then do lots of drawings before adding colour. Finally, I digitally transform that work into patterns and designs.
Your creative career has spanned decades. How have you sustained it?
I think the most important thing in sustaining a creative career is to keep experimenting and trying new things. Keep putting your work out there and being innovative while maintaining the passion for what you do. It’s vital to find your own style and unique voice. And one of the most important traits for doing that is perseverance.
What do you wish more people understood about a creative career?
The most common thing I hear from other artists and designers is that people consider our work as “just a hobby”. It would be wonderful if they understood that we work incredibly hard and it can be a long road to success.
What are your favourite and least favourite parts of being self-employed?
There are so many great things about being self-employed. Most importantly, I’m the boss and get to make all the decisions. I get to do what I love, work from home and play around with designs and colours. Perfect!
My least favourite part is all the admin/numbers stuff. Fortunately, I now have some help with this side of my business, which gives me more time to focus on the fun stuff. It's also difficult wearing different hats when I really just want to wear the colourful designer’s hat all the time!
The number one challenge for me at the moment is finding work/life balance. It’s difficult to separate home and work life when you work from home because it’s not easy to switch off.
What advice do you have for budding designers?
You’re the only one who can make your life and career what you want it to be. There will be setbacks and rejections - use them for good. Keep going, find your own voice and be unique. Create lots of work. Some won’t be used but all will lead you to something better. Be adventurous and aim high!