We fell in love with Miranda Lorikeet (aka Lazy Bones Illustrations) as soon as we saw her Microsoft Paint Paintings. Miranda uses the program best known for pixelated doodles and office distractions to create soft scenes with stunning color palettes.
We got to ask Miranda about MS Paint and more for our Artist Feature series. 😌🥀🌅
What's your name and where are you from?
I am Miranda Lorikeet and I’m from Sydney, Australia.
What lead you to start making work with MS Paint?
Pure boredom and lack of resources. Years ago I got a receptionist job in the city. I sat at a big empty desk in a room all on my own. No one ever came in and the phone hardly rang. I found myself with a fair bit of down time and one day while screwing around on the computer I saw MS Paint in the start menu. At first it was just scribbles and little outlines, but over a short space of time I got obsessed with it. I was determined to get a good looking piece of art out of MS Paint. It all snowballed from there.
What are you greatest artistic influences? Would you tells us a little more about them?
I love 1980s-1990s colour blocking, notably anything by Memphis design group. When I was a kid my mum bought me a set of Zolo which was my first introduction to colours and patterns like that. If you haven't heard of Zolo, it was this all-ages artsy building block toy set that trendy European parents bought their kids in the 90s. It was created by two New York artists in the late 80s, I've still got my set (well, I've borrowed it from my mum). I still play with it, here's a sculpture I made recently.
I love 1970s Franco-Belgian comics, particularly Guy Billout. I love that raunchy 1970s cartoons style too. John Wesley is my favourite, and more recently @Fucci on Instagram has been drawing in that same style, which I adore. I love Matisse and dreamy floral Renaissance artwork. I also love those tacky 1980s paintings that everyone's grandma has in their bathrooms, of rainbows, lewd coloured birds and corny sunsets with dolphins jumping out of the ocean.
What's your fondest nostalgic memory on the computer?
Waiting for my dad to get home from work so I could watch him play Doom. Mucking about on MS Paint in my dad's office pre-internet. Playing Sim City 2000 on my dad's work laptop that weighed about 10 kilos. My dad was a software engineer in the early 90s and always had the latest technology at the time.
Besides MS Paint, are there any other programs or mediums you use in your art making practice? Do you use a stylus?
Before MS Paint I drew detailed fine-liner pictures. I used to love drawing with Copic markers and Textas, watercolour and coloured pencils. I still enjoy it, but MS Paint has stolen my heart.
I always drew my MS Paintings with a crappy cheap mouse on a clunky desktop computer, I felt it really added to the authenticity of pre-internet era computer drawings - but I've recently moved over to using a Microsoft SurfacePro Tablet with a stylus. I like the stylus but it's taking some getting used to. After years of drawing with a cheap computer mouse, I have really good mouse control but I'm still not great with a stylus!
How did you start accumulating your Instagram following? What advice do you have for other artists trying to get their work exposed online?
I started sharing my art on Tumblr 7 or 8 years ago now where I gained a nice little following. I was a very active user and always interacted with my followers. When Tumblr died I moved over to Instagram and I guess a lot of people followed me there. I was lucky enough to get approached by some really big publications such as the Verge, Yen Magazine (a popular Australian Magazine) and Artists Magazine (US) who helped get my work out to a much larger audience than I could do on my own.
My advice would be never stop drawing, interact with your platform and collaborate with others. Work on developing a style that is 100% your own.
We love your color palette! Where do you draw inspiration from?
The tropical fruits for sale at the supermarket, this one artificial looking barbie coloured lipstick I've had for years. The Begonias at the flower flower festival back in my home town and the canola fields that change colour with the seasons. Ice creams, fairy floss and beautiful ornate desserts. I love all the colours of China town and these cute Japanese cake shops we have all over the city here in Sydney. They sell these almost plastic looking, shiny glazed love heart shaped cakes that look too perfect to eat.
A lot of your work shows a figure who is dwarfed by their surroundings. What about that composition resonates with you?
When I started drawing this concept I was trying to capture the essence of being totally alone but at peace with your surroundings.
What challenges do you experience when creating art?
After doing this for so many years now I find myself repeating concepts and colour schemes, which frustrates me. Part of me wants to keep developing my style, but another part of me wants to throw it in the bin and start something totally new. Recently I've been drawing a lot more still life paintings which I'm really enjoying, but I also don't want to stop developing my landscapes. I want to try so many new things, while also still working on my old style of drawing and there's just not enough time!
What does the future hold for you? Are there any cool projects you're currently working on?
I've just finished doing a few album covers, notably one for an Aussie band that I adore called Moaning Lisa. They've just started touring and they're selling tote bags and T-shirts with the artwork I designed for them and I just think that's so cool and excited.
I'm currently developing my first zine which I am SO excited about. It's hopefully going to be a collaboration with another Aussie artist, a little mini show case of photography, MS Paint & Ceramics. Watch this space :)
What's your favorite meme right now?
It's a photograph of two adorable chubby chickens in a cute carry case and it says "only packing the essentials."