Table Talk: Carla McRae

Table Talk: Carla McRae

Carla McRae works as both an artist and illustrator across multiple mediums, such as drawing, digital illustration, sculpture, installation, murals and publications. With her signature blend of both detail and minimalism she creates bright, colourful work with bold forms and fine lines.



Can you tell us about how you approached the design and interpretation of CIBI's Miso Soup?

I wanted to find a way to showcase the clean simplicity of the miso soup ingredients, embrace their shapes, colours and sliced-up forms too. Whilst drawing the elements, I was also thinking about the work of Japanese graphic designer Ikko Tanaka and borrowed his technique of laying forms over a bold geometric grid to add a sense of playfulness to the design and emphasise the natural organic shapes of the vegetables.


The palette is warm and cosy, just like the feeling I get from sipping on a bowl of Meg's grandma's miso soup - it's one of my favourite dishes on the CIBI menu and always feels like a hearty hug from the inside.



Where do you draw inspiration from, both in the studio and in the kitchen?

My artwork is inspired by everyday observation, so food inevitably creeps into my subject matter! I get a kick out of discovering fun food packaging, visiting foreign supermarkets, food scenes in films and books, my own memories and experiences both yum and gross. I also love funny food. I have an instagram called Studio Snacks that I use to chronicle the haphazard, lazy and often bizarre snacks one makes while in the studio without access to a full kitchen or much time.

It cracks me up and I love to try and find ways to incorporate them into my artwork. And the blog accepts submissions, so please DM me your fav dank snacks!


If we were to peer into your pantry and fridge, what are 5 things we would always find?

Eggs, hot sauce, broccoli, hummus and a bag of Allpress coffee.

What do you cook for the people you love?

Big spaghetti bolognese with a crisp salad on the side! But also eggs - preparing eggs for friends or family feels like a love language all on its own and is nourishing in every sense.



What are your favourite songs to paint to?

I like to listen to long mixes when I'm working. If I'm brainstorming or trying to generate concepts, usually it's an ambient or some lush downtempo electronic. When it's time to make final art or execute, I like to shift to something more dance-y.

This live set by Melbourne boys Hybrid Man covers all bases and never fails to crack open a drawing wormhole for me.


"She used to send me and my siblings to school with some interesting lunch box combos! One classic was cheese and pineapple sandwiches..."


What sort of food did you eat growing up?

Mum was always trying to get us to eat and enjoy whole foods - a brown bread, carob and trail mix kinda vibe. She used to send me and my siblings to school with some interesting lunch box combos! One classic was cheese and pineapple sandwiches - a big slab of cheese and an even bigger slab of pineapple on heavily buttered bread. I'm not sure if this is a Queenslander thing - I'm still yet to meet anyone else who knows of and enjoys this delicacy!



What are your current favourite places to eat out in your city?

Tamura Sake Bar & Jazzy Kitchen in Fitzroy (hands down best yuzu margarita), Capers in Thornbury, Mankoushe in Brunswick East and, of course, CIBI in Collingwood forever <3. 

All of these spots have a beautiful, homely, unique atmosphere and exceptionally tasty food!


CIBI's Miso Soup by Carla McRae