Lara Vrkic, image via Manuela Leigh.
The Ladies Network X Nitty Gritty
Meet Lara Vrkic, curator of the rapidly re-fuelling movement that is The Ladies Network: “a multi-platform agency for female identifying and gender-fluid creatives. The Ladies Network organise events that support and recognise the creative contribution of women in the areas of art, music, business and design.”
Lara came to visit our studio last week during her whirlwind tour of Melbourne, and to say our anticipation levels were verging on giddy-ness would be an understatement! What we learnt: Lara’s favourite coconut water flavour is pineapple, that Instagram is instrumental in providing safe and inviting spaces for young creatives, and that there is an uber-cool camera shop located a stones throw from our studio in the backstreets of Fitzroy (but that’s a story for another time).
We chatted to Lara about her passions, her take on socials and some savvy art-folk to keep an eye out for.
The Ladies Network is a totally enviable project, we love the ethos and your passion! When did you get started and what encouraged you?
We got started about 18 months ago, but things have really started to grow in the last year or so. We basically wanted to create a safe space for people to express and exhibit their art, particularly those that may have otherwise felt a bit shy or overwhelmed by the current industry’s climate, which can tend to be quite cliquey. We just found we had so many talented friends who weren’t getting themselves ‘out there’, for fear of rejection or inadequacy.
What have you most enjoyed about this project?
It’s really fun working with your best friends! It’s such a passion project for the four of us, we really can’t stop talking about it and dreaming of the possibilities at all moments of the day. TLN is a very free-flowing project, we feel liberated to move between different ideas and don’t constrain ourselves too much. Essentially, we’ve built a community and we love integrating with the unique and wonderful women we meet along the way.
How has social contributed to the overall success of the Ladies Network?
It’s been integral! Easily the biggest tool of our success – it’s allowed us to create an inspiring and inclusive community that can be engaged with on the terms of the individual, whether that be in person or behind a screen. Instagram and social media also provides a wonderful channel for sharing ideas – we can connect with ladies all over the world that share in our aesthetic and passion for female-identifying presence in the arts.
Nothing comes without its challenges! How have you worked through them and what tips do you have for someone starting a publication?
If you believe in the space you want to create, if you have passion for it, it doesn’t feel like work and you have boundless energy to build it!
What are your go to’s for when you're seeking inspiration?
For writing style – Purple Magazine, I have to almost consult a dictionary after I read it! For art direction and styling – I love the communities pouring out of New York at the moment, like The Wing and Into the Gloss/Glossier. They are such strong and engaging communities.
What's your dream collab for the Ladies Network?
Editorial Magazine, a publication and art project from Toronto, Canada – they have great parties and a zine we really like. We’d be so enthusiastic about moving our network overseas, so any collab that allowed for that would be amazing.
Who's your favourite emerging artist at the moment? Who should we be following? Name your top 3 (sorry to limit you!)
Thanks Lara, you’re a G-E-M!