Irene Feleo completed a Bachelor of Digital Media (now known as a Bachelor of Media Arts) at UNSW Art & Design.
After completing a degree specialising in animation, Irene took a leap of faith. She knew she wanted to be a professional illustrator or animator, employing her creative skills in Australia or internationally, so she registered herself as freelancer with the Drawing Book Studios (DBS), a Sydney-based agency that connects businesses seeking original visuals (still, moving, and 3D imagery) with artists who can produce them.
DBS has a great track record. The Australian Financial Review sources portraits of politicians through them; the Australian government sourced the creatives for their most recent campaign to stop violence against women using DBS; and when Jeep needed a 3D mud illustration on a motor vehicle celebrating the company’s 75th anniversary they too turned to DBS (a video of the making of this artwork is available here). When Irene joined, DBS put her to work on projects for NGO Care Australia.
Irene’s playful use of colour and line combined with her storytelling ability pairs the weird with the wonderful creating something complex and unexpected. It’s likely this unique combination of visuals in the portrayal of contemporary urban life is what attracted the attention of an international design company representing Coca-Cola.
In 2015, Irene was approached by Kult, a major design company based in Singapore, to produce one of only six country illustrations around the brand Coca-Cola for a project the company was running in conjunction with food retailer McDonalds in the lead up to Coca-Cola’s 100th birthday. Irene was asked to create the Australian visual promoting the nation as it would have existed in 1916, and a commemorative Coca-Cola glass that was to be given away through McDonalds with the purchase of a meal. Irene’s solution is a montage of illustrations in what’s become her cool yet moody signature style. She calls it “that sweet middle place”.
Irene now counts global brands BMW, Uber, Extreme Gelato, Revlon, and Sydney Trains among her clients.
In 2016, with project success on her resume and a desire to see more of the world, Irene moved to New York. She’s now living and working as an animator and illustrator in Brooklyn.