I was lucky enough to experience our first ever 'Bags with Benefits' project with the incredibly sweet Natasha Carmeni who's art account is named Okey Poke. There was a lot of learning humps along the way, but couldn't of asked for a better girl to go through this journey with.
Okey Poke created an abstract take on Australian Flora which was printed on 100% natural cotton calico. We then paired the print with the camel corduroy to accentuate the vibrant colours of the flora. I especially loved her signature smiley face, which represents Tash perfectly and is a little reminder to keep on smiling every time you open up your cordsbag. All the cordsbag's were made here in my studio which made the project feel very personal and close to my heart.
The whole process from beginning to finish was made with passion, love and a whole lotta fun.
Okey Poke's style is very unique, fun and BRIGHT which happens to be everything we love! Tash does canvas's and stickers, but her main focus are tattoos.
Okey Poke has decided to donate all profits towards the Dementia Australia Research Foundation. They "fund researchers across all stages of their career but maintain a particular focus on supporting Australia’s talented new and early career dementia researchers".
An absolutely awesome cause, we couldn't be more happier to support!
We asked Natasha Carmeni from Okey Poke some questions on the 'bags with benefits' process
How would you describe your style?
I’d describe my style as pretty childish and juvenile, I’ve always been really fascinated with how children’s creative minds work and how they portray their imagination into their art or anything they create. Looking back on old paintings and crappy little things i’ve made in primary school or even kindergarten and seeing how 100% carefree they were is something I see as really amazing and can be perceived in any way the viewer choses to see it. I love incorporating bright and highly contrasting colours into my work and trying to make whoever views the piece, smile or have some positive feeling towards it is always pretty rewarding.
What inspired you to create the Abstract Australian Flora Print?
I’ve lived in the same house my entire life and I often go for walks through a small park which is just around the corner from my house. With everything massively changing in the world right now, i’ve made an effort to “stop and smell the roses” quite literally honestly. So I’ve taken time through my day to day and appreciate the small things that I see and make an impact on my everyday life. On a walk a couple months ago I realised this park was packed to the absolute fkn brim of amazing native Australian plants and flowers. So as ya do I picked a full tote bags worth of these flowers and leaves, and used them as inspiration and a visual reference for these paintings. And relating back to my style, I wanted to try my best to steer clear from the assumed muted colours like reds, greens and yellows and instead opted for way bolder and brighter versions of these colours and tried to up the contrast a fuck tonne and use blues, pinks and even florescent colours like a raging yellow and hot pink.
Why did you choose The Dementia Australia Foundation as your charity to donate all profits towards?
Almost 2 months ago, I lost my Nonna to an almost 10 year battle with dementia. Seeing how much it drastically changed herself and her personality was super difficult to watch happen over those years. Also seeing how much my Mum and Aunty struggled to deal with seeing this happen to their own Mother for so long, and made all the effort in the world to take care of her and make sure she was safe and feeling as comfortable as possible during those insanely confusing times. This made me super passionate on doing my best to help educate myself and others on the disease, and also want to do my best to help and support researchers as much as possible with the goal of one day hopefully eradicating the disease.
Super stoked to have your signature smiley face on the design, what does it represent and how did it come about being your signature?
To be completely honest, it doesn’t really have much meaning at all hahaha. My favourite colour is a sunflower yellow and I like to think of myself as pretty optimistic and I always try to find the positives in every situation. A smiley face just worked really well and has those two elements to it and kind of just fell into place quite seamlessly and just made a whole lot of sense and felt right
Now that you have the final product in your hands, what's your favourite thing about the bag?
MAN the bag is so fricken soft, the corduroy feels like a blanket I love it. Its so insane to see this concept in person and finally be made into the physical item itself. And good lord the bag is so spacious and fits all my uni junk in it as well as a jumper. Absolute perfection.
Click here to shop okey poke's bag with benefits!
Follow Okey Poke's journey at @okey.poke on Instagram.