Sit Down With Our June '22 Featured Artist
Renata Paton (aka: Gremren) is an independent artist based in Melbourne, Australia. Best known for her work with Acrylic Paint Pens, Renata primarily focuses on creating pieces with vibrant colour palettes, and juxtaposing them with natural subject matter to creative a fun and colourful view of the world.
She spends her days creating joyful designs, sharing them on social media, and sending her work all across the globe. Whether she’s working paper, wood, fabric, or paint swatches, her distinctive use of colour always visually ties her designs together.
Is there a particular subject that inspires your work or something that you enjoy creating the most?
I’ve always had a deep love for animals and the natural world; even when I was a kid, I was glued to nature documentaries and books on veterinarian adventures. I’ve found that mixing that love of animals with my passion for fun colours results in the art that I’ve come to be known for today.
What does your routine look like? How many hours do you spend a day/week creating? Do you have days off?
You’ll always find me getting up at 6am on a weekday to go for an hour long walk! I used to do full-time work that started at 8am, and even though I quit that job years ago, I kept up the habit of the early rise.After I’ve had breakfast, and posted my daily content to socials, you’ll find me doing one of a dozen jobs that make up running my creative business! I pack orders twice a week, ship them, answer emails, photograph products, source materials and production partners, email collaborators, among endless other things, and in between all that I make new art. If I’m lucky, I can spend 6+ hours creating in a day, but sometimes it’ll be 2 hours to no hours at all. Running a creative business involves a lot of flexibility, but things are always getting done, even if it’s work that no-one sees!
I do my best to take weekends off; whether or not I completely succeed is another thing (I do shop updates on Saturday morning and answer important messages), but that balance is something I try to prioritise.
What is your favourite thing to do to relax?
In the past I used to play video games and read non-fiction, but I’ve found myself leaning towards baking and watching anime these days! That and going out to enjoy time with my friends, since working by myself in my home studio can get a bit monotonous. It’s nice to go out and enjoy literally anything else, hahah!
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
“You can do anything, but you can’t do everything”. I’m a very independent creator, almost to a fault. I’m an artist that loves to create my work in my studio with my hands, but I’ve found that every single time that I’ve reached out for help and advice, things have run smoother than I could ever manage by myself. Nothing that I’ve made is something that I’ve achieved entirely by myself, and remembering that whatever success I have is created by the help of those around me has been vital to my growth as an artist.
Tell us, how many markers do you have in your collection.
Short answer: too many! Long answer: Roughly 70 Posca markers on the go (14 in reserves if I run out of paint on the go), 11 Uni Pintor markers, 48 Life Of Colour paint markers, about 30 Artistro markers, and a handful of other assorted brands. Maybe a bit excessive, but when it’s your favourite medium to use, and you’re a full-time professional artist, it’s a worthwhile investment!
What do you think colour brings to your artwork?
Colour is everything to me and my creative expression. It brings joy, fun, and vibrancy to everything I create, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. As long as I’m having fun, I’m enjoying the creative process, and if what I’m creating is colourful, there’s a great chance I’m having fun!
What does your creative work space look like? Do you like an organised area to work in or do you embrace the chaos?
I do my best to keep the small space I have clean and organised; I find that a clear desk gives me a clear mind, and helps me better focus on the creative process. But sometimes things are just messy, because that’s life! I try not to give myself excuses to stop creating, so if it’s a bit messy, then so be it, I’m still working.
How would you describe your style?
It’s cute, it’s vibrant, and always fun! In ways it’s definitely influenced by Pop Art and Vector art, but the style itself is something I’ve developed over hundreds of pieces and years of consistent work. Regardless of what medium I’m working in, you can be sure it’ll always be colourful
If you could only use one colour in your art for the rest of your life, what colour would you choose and why?
What a mean question, hahah! This is an impossible question that will change daily, but if I had to choose today… coral pink. It’s so warm and happy, and never fails to lift my mood when I use it.In close second is a vivid red, or a soft sunshine yellow. Mint, teal, and emerald green are also equal second; colours create so much beautiful harmony together, I don’t think I could ever stick with just one forever!
What were your biggest influences growing up (artists, movies, music etc.)?
I grew up on cartoons and anime, and they’re still hugely influential to me. Steven Universe, Samurai Jack, Pokemon, Powerpuff Girls, Cardcaptors... I could go on, but cartoons are such an exciting translation of life and creativity. I’ve also recently found myself looking at a lot of mascot designs, both Japanese and western. Simplifying a creature into something fun and appealing scratches an itch in my brain; it’s so simple in execution, but so nuanced in creation. And the end result is always just really fun!
Are there any other projects you create outside of the drawing/marker medium?
Yes, I love to expand my creative range! When I was in high school I sewed soft toys, and I’ve recently dabbled in wood whitting (which I’d personally love to get back into when I have more time) but at the moment my other big creative outlet is rug making! I find my recognisable colour choices and established style translates so well into yarn, and crafting was my first creative love. I recently made my first batch of larger rugs with a rug tufting gun, and I’m a pinch obsessed; really looking forward to seeing where this all takes me!
What is your favourite medium to work with?
At the moment it’s an even split between paint pens and rug tufting with yarn. I find myself bouncing from one to the other to keep things fresh, and that’s kept me better engaged in my creative practice!
What are 5 things you could do with a pen other than write?
I can draw (obviously), I can use it as a cute bridge, a projectile for when my cat’s on the kitchen counter, as a cute prop for product photographs, and as a make-shift sword in a pinch!! Truly a versatile tool.