Vintage posters, booze labels and heavy-lined black and white prints cover the walls of Allie's Webb's studio on Sydney's northern beaches. "I need to be constantly surrounded by imagery to work," she says. As an artist, Webb works predominantly with linocut; as a designer she's behind the graphic charms of venues such as Shady Pines Saloon, Pino's Vino e Cucina and Restaurant Hubert in Sydney. Whatever her medium, she likes theatrics. Whether it's the intricate image of a couple at dinner, as captured in a piece titled The Argument, or an elaborate surf and turf in Night Out with the Missus, her limited-edition prints come with a generous helping of mischief.
A lot of your work focuses on what plays out around the table, Allie. Why the fascination with food and dining?
I love the history of an institution. Pompous diners at a French restaurant. The charming typography of a country town's local Chinese. Going to a dodgy biker pub where you feel a little unsafe. The idea of "if these walls could talk" really appeals to me. Also, a restaurant or bar is accessible to everyone - there's always a great mix of characters.
What do you love most about linocut?
The excitement of the first press. You never really know how it will look until the first inking, and you can't rush it. I do very small editions of between four and eight with one artist proof. It keeps them a little more special. Every carve must be deliberate and there's no going back. It's not a forgiving medium.
What's next for Allie Webb?
I just did some prints for one of my favourite clothing labels, Dress Up by Stephanie Downey, for summer 2018, and I'm also working towards my first solo exhibition in August with China Heights Gallery in Surry Hills, Sydney. The prints will be all about dining out, food, booze and relationships.
Prints from $220, alliewebb.com.au