Rainbow Carrots and Psychedelic Corn
Moonshine Madness captivates us with digital illustrations of the wonders that spring from the luscious soil of local sustainable farms, and the creative journey is inspiring.
Mel Baxtor is a fierce creative, shaping her artwork and ideas from her platform, Moonshine Madness. She shares that creativity often strikes well after dusk when the moon is high, and she welcomes it.
“The name itself [Moonshine Madness] represents the state of mind when creating late at night. That sort of focused, creative insanity that you get when the world is asleep and quiet,” Mel says.
Mel looks for inspiration wherever she can find it, and then she follows it. She makes it seem so simple.
“I take inspiration from old-timey packaging, colours, textiles, and clothing—anything that’s grown a soul—and also my home and passionate conversations (with wine).”
Her latest exhibition, ‘Dirt’, was inspired by chatting with passionate farmers, foragers, growers, and keepers across Australia. Her artwork celebrates the beauty of ‘real’ food and sustainable agriculture.
“I fell in love with illustrating fruit and veg while working with pals, Grown and Gathered”—the first ‘crazy cats’ to let her draw their produce.
Inspiration grew as Mel reached out to other regenerative farmers across the nation, learning from them the importance of growing organic food in a market saturated with unsustainable and unethical practices.
Mel says, “There is also a level of humanness behind this food—of shared moments, community spirit and local resilience.
“It put a fire in my belly to keep exploring the concept of working with farmers and how I could communicate their important message through my work.”
Mel was stirred by Hanging Rock Farm in NSW, saying, “I was inspired to draw for this farming family, not only because they are self-proclaimed maniacs, but there was something that drew me to the creativity and obvious love and care Lani has for her flowers.”
Mel also illustrated produce from local Brisbane farms, including Little Acre Gourmet Mushrooms and Neighbourhood Farm. She was inspired by their transparency and ethical values and the colours, shapes, and sizes of their heirloom varieties that are missing from mainstream supermarkets.
Here at The Creative Issue, we are inspired by her willingness to learn from the community, follow where passion leads, and see ideas to fruition.
Mel is currently working on an upcoming exhibition and considering how to have the show without an event.
“I had grand plans for 2020, which I now have to adapt a little since the world broke. I wanted to have a similar exhibition to my ‘Dirt’ show but based around marine life and conservation,” Mel says.
“My usual level of inspiration hasn’t come freely during these weird-ass times, so I’ve taken the opportunity to slow down—that’s revelling in the moments, spending more time (a lot more time) improving my house, my garden, loving my loved ones, and just enjoying breathing in and out.”
Mel adds, “I’ll ride that inspiration wave once it hits again. I’m predicting it’ll be a big one.”
Check out Mel’s prints from ‘Dirt’ and the stories behind them on her Website.
Engage in your own passionate conversations to kick start some creative inspiration.
And support your local growers who provide beautiful, organic options that support a sustainable food future.