A CHAT WITH EGGPICNIC
They say you should never put all your eggs in the one basket but that’s exactly what Camila De Gregorio did when she moved in with Chris Macaluso when they were both living in Milan. “I arrived with a basket full of eggs some friends had left behind,” she says.
“We boiled, scrambled and poached them and went on a picnic to Parco Sempione, where we decided for the first time to join our abilities in graphic and product design with our love for the natural world.” And so Eggpicnic was born. The illustration and design studio, now based in Sydney, has developed a unique platform to combine both interests, with a striking range of prints, greeting cards and toys.
“I was fascinated by the natural world from a very young age and collected National Geographic magazines before I even learned to read,” says Camila. “I had a deep interest in zoology and in how animals behaved and dreamed of a way of combining my passion for design and wildlife.”
Their prints are striking and colourful but the Eggpicnic story goes beyond what’s for sale. They work with selected not-for-profit organisations in different ways to be able to achieve specific results. They work with Birdlife Australia, Greenfleet Australia, Palm Oil Investigations, Zoos Victoria, Andean Cat Alliance and WIRES, with the profits of selected prints, relevant to their programs, going directly to research, education and conservation programs.
Camila admits she was blown away when she moved to Australia. “Australia is home to about 800 bird species, almost half of which are endemic – that is, they are found nowhere else in the world. They are beautiful and odd, resourceful and innovative. They are also curious, emotional, smart and adaptable.”
Above: Commercial Office Building in Sydney, Australia. Photo by Robert Walsh.
They enjoy their trips to the Handmade Markets for a different perspective. “Canberra has such a unique landscape, we visited Jerrabomberra Wetlands after our second day at Handmade Canberra. It is amazing how easily you can access nature reserves but also how much birdlife is right outside your front door. We had a Superb Parrot outside our Airbnb window. People living in cities often think of nature as something that exists out there in the ‘wild’. Yet we have nature in our city, and the diversity of life beyond its borders is intimately linked to our lives.”
In 2017 Eggpicnic was selected by the City of Sydney to feature on buildings throughout the city, murals of their birds now appear at Sydney Olympic Park, Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach and the Sydney Children’s Hospital. “The moment I first stood in front of our hoardings in the city was our proudest to date,” Camila says. “Getting a city to believe in our work and actively support it was a milestone for us. We thought this is it, the beginning of something really important, a responsibility, an opportunity to involve the entire community and to transform Eggpicnic into something greater than a design studio, but a way of viewing the world.”
And whether there’s a chance of seeing something on a larger scale in Canberra? “We would absolutely love to see that and have been working towards it. We created an extensive collection of Birds of Canberra featuring species that are unique to the region, especially designed for our debut in Handmade Canberra, imagine that up in the city somewhere.”
Above: 44 Foveaux Street, Darlinghurst Sydney – November 2018. To make city streets and buildings more beautiful while construction is underway, the City has selected designs by 10 Australian artists, illustrators and photographers for property developers to use as temporary hoardings. Artists Camila De Gregorio and Christopher Macaluso (egg picnic) with their work ‘The Birds’. Photo by Katherine Griffiths.