Spring St Studios is a new design venture founded by designer/animator Julia Bourke. Her aim is to create beautiful things for the everyday.
Stuff about her…
Julia grew up on a cattle farm in country Victoria, the middle girl of four boys. Her Mum says she didn’t know she was a girl till she was 5, which might explain the over-compensation with pastel pinks and polka dots. Julia learned the piano, played tennis, and even rode the occasional horse, but drawing was her first love. She competed in colouring competitions and would often enter her artworks into the local show. Her favourite book was “Childcraft – Make and Do” where she read about DAS modelling clay and driftwood mobiles for days. In the midst of her teenage years, Julia found herself prematurely thrust into the limelight, winning the auspicious title of ‘Koo Wee Rup Potato Festival Queen’! Her new role sent her spinning in a world of acceptance speeches, Lawn Bowls Presentations, and tea towel exhibitions. Fortunately her placement into design school came just in time, whisking her away from accidental Potato Royalty to the anonymous big-smoke of Melbourne.
Typography was one thing but live music, late nights and alternative fashion choices were another. Julia’s time at college came to a close before she could say ‘Nick Cave ate my homework’. She quickly got a job in a TV cafeteria, making toasted sandwiches for Daryl Somers and Bert Newton. But it didn’t take long before her hand drawn sandwich signs were noticed and she was catapulted to the Channel Nine art department. Here she began working as their News Courtroom Illustrator and learned how to make ‘video graphics’ on a ‘Paint Box’. (Photoshop was barely invented yet!) She drew the weather isobars for Rob Gel at a time when Tracy Grimshaw was a rebel and Brian ‘told’ us.
This job went on for years and years and thankfully Julia distracted herself by making music with her housemates and playing in bands. She was one of the founding members of Melbourne electro group SNOG, contributing to several albums and producing music videos for the band. She also played keyboards with Indigenous pop-star Christine Anu, which led her to mime on national TV with the cast of Home & Away and tour Asia with Tommy Emmanuel. Strangley, Julia felt show business wasn’t for her and she soon handed over her keys to the guy from Wa Wa Nee.
Julia flew by the seat of her pants for a couple of years as pay-TV arrived in the mid 90’s. Fortunately Sydney was awash with job opportunities and she soon emerged as a motion designer working for places like Foxtel, Channel 10, Engine Design, & Digital Pictures. On Air Promotions and Marketing became her main stay and after moving back to Melbourne, the ABC provided her with 12 long years of service. This was followed by a several years at the NGV (National Gallery of Victoria) working as a motion designer in their multi-media department.
Rewind to 2000, and Julia completes a graduate diploma of Animation (Film & Television) at the VCA in Melbourne. She wins the award for Best Animation for her short film Angel Food. Yay! Angel Food screened in loads of International Film Festivals including the Clermont Ferrand Short Film Festival in France, and was a finalist at the Sydney Dendy awards and Melbourne Short Trips Film Festival. Julia then embarked on a super-dooper ambitious film called Glossy, which even received funding from Screen Australia. Double Yay! ! The film took years to make but was finally completed in 2011. Glossy has screened in Los Angeles, California, Korea, and was awarded a Silver Ace award at the Las Vegas Film Festival. It was also nominated for Best Animation at the Female Eye Film Festival in Toronto and awarded Highly Commended at the W.O.W. Film Festival in Sydney. The main legacy of this film were Julia’s talks at MIAF (The Melbourne International Animation Festival) where she gave a blow by blow account of how not to let your project get out of control. A lesson well learnt indeed.
For now, Julia is getting back to her roots and once again embracing drawing, illustration and her new obsession, the art of textile design. She plans to have her own tea-towel exhibition – in good time – and has loads of others ideas in the tank as well. She looks forward to making lots of cool stuff. Stay tuned!