Meet our animal-loving Easter artist

Victorian artist Peter Cromer explains how he created his vibrant images of loveable native Aussie creatures for Coles’ latest range of delicious hot cross buns and Easter eggs.

Pete Cromer in his studio

Artist Pete Cromer: “I’m really drawn to birds. The galah is the stand-out for me because pink is one of my favourite colours.”

Q: Where did you grow up?

“I grew up in Grovedale which is a suburb of Geelong. When I was a boy in the 1980s Geelong was far less developed, of course. We used to go camping in the bush and spend time around Anglesea on the Great Ocean Road.”

Q: How would you describe your artistic style?

“I break everything down into colour and shape. I like to celebrate my subjects which is why I saturate my work in vibrant colours. I start by cutting out shapes with water-colour paper, play around with those and then finish them in acrylic paint before digitally scanning the finished artwork. So it’s all about playing around, mixing the paint and having fun.”

Q: Have you always loved native animals?

“I’ve always had a passion for animals. Even as a child I loved learning about animals. It was all so fascinating. As a kid I loved reading animal stories – I’m sure my mum still has many of these books from my childhood.”

Q: Which animals did you chose for Easter promotion?

“I chose native animals that Aussies really love: kangaroos, koalas, platypus, galahs and bilbies. I used vibrant colours to make sure they really stand out on the packaging. But choosing them was really hard – I could have painted a gazillion animals!”

Q: Do you have a favourite animal to draw?

“I’m really drawn to birds – not just their appearance but their amazing personalities. I could watch birds all day, they really crack me up. You just can’t control them. They do what they like. If I had my way, I’d draw birds on a full-time basis. My top three to draw would be the galah, cockatoo and kookaburra. But I also love corellas. The galah is the stand-out for me because pink is one of my favourite colours.”

A pack shot of hot cross bun icecreams

Pete Cromer’s native animals feature on Coles Easter products. 

Q: Do you draw inspiration from the Otway Ranges?

“I live in Colac which is just a few minutes from the bush. Our house overlooks a lake. From my front window I can see pelicans, galahs, fairy wrens – just so much bird life.

The Otway Ranges are covered in lush rainforest with a really high tree canopy, so it’s an incredibly tranquil place to explore. It’s like stepping into another world.”

Q: How do you relax when you are not working?
“I’m always thinking of new ideas, so I find it hard to relax. But when I need to switch off, I find the gym is a good place or playing video games, maybe. Bushwalking is relaxing but also sparks more creativity. Funnily enough my best ideas seem to come when I’m driving or doing the dishes!”

Q: Hot cross buns or Easter eggs? Your favourite?

“It has to be Easter eggs. You can binge-eat them, especially the mini ones. Although I also love hot cross buns, I know that I can eat more Easter eggs. I’d be hopeless trying to organise an Easter egg hunt. Chocolate is such a nice thing, isn’t it?”