Ted O'Donnell and Vicki Lee turn their hand to something new

Creative couple Ted O'Donnell and Vicki Lee have been collaborating from the day they first met. Anyone who follows them on Instagram or via their website tovl.com.au will instantly recognise their preferred subject: lush, hyper realised visions of roses interspersed with plumes of pastel coloured smoke. But in their latest collaboration - the campaign for Sunglass Hut - Ted and Vicki tackle a different kind of portraiture, set against the raw backdrop of the Australian coast. Shooting familiar faces Samantha Harris, Yan Yan Chan, Tahnee Atkinson, Zoe Cross and Tom Derrickx, we chat to Vicki about art, challenging perceptions and co-existing as artists and parents.  

How did you approach shooting each person for this campaign - did you consider their personality before each shot?
For me, it always comes down to the movement. Each person we shot was curated so their tempos resonated. Ted and I definitely considered the different personalities we were shooting but our main goal was to allow an organic sense of self-expression to emerge as we were shooting. We were also conscious of selecting the right frames to suit each models face and really running with the punchy colours and reflective lenses.

Artists Ted O’Donnell and Vicki Lee on their latest co-creation

Did you look at any photographers or artists before conceiving this shoot?
We love bouncing imagery to and fro. The references were more about the colours and the mirrors than anything else.

Vicki, your Insta feed is literally filled with flowers. Did you find it difficult to concentrate on the female form for this campaign?
Ted and I shoot abstract nudes as well. I find there is a very strong parallel between the female form and a flower. Both on a physical and also symbolic level.

You guys have been collaborating together as a couple for years now. Do you still manage to teach each other new tricks?
Always. Collaborating on making babies has opened up a whole new dimension to our relationship. When it comes to making art together, the journey has a trajectory...so far, it feels vast and endless. It feels more like a line than a circle, for sure.

Artists Ted O’Donnell and Vicki Lee on their latest co-creation

Australia talks a lot about diversity, yet we don't see it a lot in mainstream ad campaigns. Is it something you seek out when accepting projects like this?
100%. Texture, colour and form. I've never been into monochrome. Bring on a rainbow any day.

Where are when do you feel most creative?
For me, creativity is a state of being. It's less about when and where and more about how. I find that allowing love to come in and out of myself helps with a particular kind of "flow". I suppose this is synonymous with just allowing the senses to be and experiencing each one wholly.

Artists Ted O’Donnell and Vicki Lee on their latest co-creation

What's next for you guys as a duo?
We've just had our second child so I'm thinking that's a good number for now. Next for us is more art, more abstract nudes, more flowers and a ridiculous amount of paint drizzled over all of the above.

Name 3 artists (dead or alive) you'd most like meet.
Prince. Rothko. Albert Namatjira.

Artists Ted O’Donnell and Vicki Lee on their latest co-creation