Tim chatted with Joel Ebsworth, the creative brain behind @studiojoelebs and the funky designs adorning our winter long sleeve tee and beanie.

Tim: Your portfolio is awash with vivid colours and retro tones, how did you land on this eye-catching style?

Joel: It’s funny whenever anyone mentions a style to me. I think it’s only through the eye of the beholder that I can really see the similarities of my work.

While I’m always struggling to define my own style, others help to point it out. So to answer the question simply; I bring in what I love to see.


There’s a 90’s kid in me that grew up being influenced by cartoons, arcade games, and generally a pretty colourful popular culture. Things were weird and wonderful, and it inevitably left a mark on me.

Your designs are often a little (or very) trippy. Floating island, numerals with eyes and waves in space age boxes. What inspires this kind of wacky imagery?

My mind is a colourful place (laughs). I like the surreal, met with certain symbology and mixed with a pop art influence. I generally love to play in my work, and often the wacky stuff comes from a generally curious, playful mind.



Tell us about how you came up with the striking We Are Explorers design.

I think I came up with about 8-10 different ideas initially. I want to get everything out of the way, and some things stick more than others.

This idea of ‘Cooking Up an Adventure’ comes from trying to understand the punter who sees eye-to-eye with the We Are Explorers ethos.

We all need a little bit of adventure, and it’s a different recipe for each of us. I like the inclusivity and broadness of what WAE stands for, and I tried to bring that into the design.

Also, who doesn’t love the koala character on the camp frypan?

The hand-drawn type was my favourite part of the design. So many little iterations to get it to the point in which I was really happy with. It’s a really fun design that I think will be loved by the WAE audience.



Get Yours: What’s Cookin’? Organic Cotton L/S Tee and Dome Control Beanie available until April 30


In 2020 you worked remotely out of a Troopy. How did you find the experience and how was the trip?

Wow what a weird year that was. It was at the height of the pandemic and when it all just felt really odd. It was inspiring to have the chance to have some outdoor adventures, and volunteer on small farms and other random stuff.


joel ebsworth, troopy, sugarcane


It really gave me a much needed shakeup, as I left life in Sydney’s Inner West, and pretty much changed every aspect of my life. The working part?

I lost so much work in 2020 but had the opportunity to start again, and find myself creatively. Working in the back of a 4WD is tough, I think I’ll just do a proper sabbatical next time (laughs).

We love your ‘Lost World’ artworks depicting unique Australian wildlife and funding conservation, and of course all your work for our good mates at Capital Brewing Co. What have been some of your favourite projects to work on?

That feels like forever ago but I loved doing that series! I’m in the middle of redefining my own creative pursuits at the moment, and would love to revisit that project in a much more intentional way. Watch out for another version of this in the near future.

As for good mates Capital Brewing, they’ve been a top client to work with. I work closely with Creative Director Mick Healy, and take on a mixed role of Art Direction, Illustration, and sometimes more common graphic design projects.


A recent design done for Capital Brewing Co.


The chance to get my hands dirty with the art direction of awesome projects such as the recent B-Corp and Carbon Neutral releases, as well as the recent partnership with GWS Giants and the Kick-A-Goal, Plant-A-Tree program, really brings in everything I love doing, and care about. They have very similar values to WAE, and really live it.

What’s your favourite thing about illustrating and design?

The thing I love most about this crazy little job I’ve created for myself is, it really is an extension of myself. It challenges me to solve problems, as well as giving me the chance to feel a connection to my work.

It’s a rollercoaster of emotions sometimes, and you can’t help but feel attached to your work; but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Also, you’re never complete, and I’m constantly teaching myself, and being mentored.

Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to turn their passion for art into a career?

I’m lucky enough to come into this fairly late in my ‘career’. I spent my late teens and 20s trying a lot of things, so I’m always hesitant to give ‘career’ advice haha.


Joel likes to work on projects that align with his values

The one thing I will always say to people, don’t just ‘follow your passion’. Learn how to develop passion, but meet it equally with discipline and patience.

I wish I had just had more patience and discipline with myself when I was younger, and know that it’s the repetitions that really get you there.

But, most of all, experiment with the practice. Be ok with getting it wrong, and with things looking bad and messy for a while. You’ll find people who’ll help you, and eventually you’ll return that favour.