Colour in our City is a series of hand-drawn black & white artworks by Essendon-based artist and illustrator, Tegan Iversen, in partnership with The Incinerator Gallery & Melbourne Fringe Festival. Each interactive artwork depicts a different scene from around Moonee Valley, as interpreted by the artist. The works are created to engage with the audience as there are coloured pencils & textas displayed within the gallery space & each visitor to the exhibition is asked to literally “colour in our city”. Viv Hu sat down with Tegan to talk art, audience involvement and colouring outside the lines.

How did the idea of this exhibition and the partnership with Melbourne Fringe come about?

The Incinerator Gallery actually did a call out for someone to use the gallery space in line with the Melbourne Fringe Festival coming up. They were asking for an interactive or audience engaging art piece or performance. I saw the callout and always wanted to show my work at the Incinerator Gallery as I live in the area and love the space. I thought the concept for the exhibition Colour in our City would be fun as I’d still be creating works and drawing, which I love, but it would also be a way to have my art further interact with an audience and have people really engage with my work and become a part of it.

What’s your favourite illustration from this show?

I like the drawing of ducks (the one on the Facebook event for the show) and also a drawing I did of a dog I saw on Puckle St. I think I am particularly happy with those as they really suggest movement and the reality of funny animals hanging out in the neighbourhood. I remember taking the photos to draw those specific works, looking at all the cute ducks at Woodlands Park and giving that big fluffy doggo a pat when I saw it down the street in Moonee Ponds.

I think I am particularly happy with those as they really suggest…the reality of funny animals hanging out in the neighbourhood

During the show, visitors are invited to literally colour in the city. How important is audience participation in your work?

I’ve never actually exhibited works that specifically asks for audience participation before, so this is a first for that kind of thing. These works really need people to join in and colour them in order for the works to be complete. I’m quite excited to see how keen people will be to grab a coloured texta or pencil and have a go. I always aim for my work to be relatable and honest and hope that people engage with it in that sense, through this show I’m excited for the audience to get involved in a whole new level. I like the idea of the show breaking art gallery rules by allowing and asking visitors to literally touch the works on the walls and help contribute to them.

I love how playful your drawings are, and I particularly loved your recent dog drawing in Voiceworks. Do you have a favourite thing to draw?

Oh, thanks so much! I always love drawing nature, especially flowers and have really enjoyed drawing animals recently. Cute dogs and birds are probably my favourite animals to draw at the moment. People have always been a bit of a challenge for me and through this series, I’ve realised how much I love drawing text and signs and buildings too.

I like the idea of the show breaking art gallery rules.

Were you a colour-inside-the-lines, or colour-outside-the-lines type of kid?

Perhaps outside-the-lines but really I think I’ve always been more keen to have a draw rather than colour. I remember colouring in — definitely messily — in a colouring book and drawing silly little pictures in the borders of each page and inside the blank front and back covers. Can’t leave a page empty and white!

Colour in Our City is on until the 30th September
at Boadle Hall at Incinerator Gallery.