Hi! My name is Karena Colquhoun, and I am an artist and illustrator living in Semaphore, South Australia. Under the name Magic Jelly, I make original artwork, prints, jewellery, paper goods, and other oddments and novelties. Most days you’ll find me in my small home studio, listening to old radio plays or jazz while playing with paper and ink.
I think of the things I make as a blend of opposites – contemporary and old school, light-hearted and melancholy – using both digital and traditional media. Everything starts with a freshly sharpened pencil and a crisp sheet of paper, but I also use Photoshop, Illustrator, Gocco, acrylic ink, dip pens, markers, and vintage paper to make prints, collages, and mixed media artworks.
I’m still influenced by the things that inspired me as a child, such as mid-20th century children’s books, comics, fireworks, Christmas, little plastic trinkets, ephemera, and vintage packaging. The cheap pulpiness of old magazines and comic books, and the relationship between paper and ink, provide endless inspiration, particularly limited colour palettes, halftones and misregistration. I collect magazines and ephemera from the early-mid 20th century, and love vintage advertising and typography. I’m also inspired by historical pattern and ornament, and its diverse applications, from Mexican cigar boxes to Chinese apothecary labels.
Above all, I hope that my work is friendly and accessible and that it brings people some of the happiness that it gives me to make it.
I have been exhibiting and selling my work worldwide since 2006, and have been fortunate enough to be featured in numerous books and magazines. People hire me to make illustrations for retail goods, packaging, advertising and promotion, etc, and I also work on my own personal projects such as artwork and products that are showcased in galleries and stores in Australia and overseas, as well as in my own little online shop. It is such an honour to know that people have bought something I’ve made, to give as gifts to the people they love, or to display in their homes. I feel very lucky indeed!
If you are a retailer who would like to stock my products, are interested in licensing my designs, or would like to discuss a project or art show with me, I would love to hear from you!