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Dixon Patten

Victorian Aboriginal Health Service Smokefree Tram

YYLM: My Home (Yorta Yorta Country) - Commissioned Piece 2014.

Cancer Council Vic - Commissioned Art 2015.

While I hear community members often say that I have a “trademark look”, as you will see from the my work around the community, I also pride myself on my ability to meet client’s needs and create work that reflects their brief. I often use bright colours to appeal to a younger audience as well as working within the branding guidelines and colour charts of government departments.

I am a traditional descendant from the Gunnai (Gippsland), Yorta Yorta (Goulbourn Valley), Gunditjmara (Western District) and Dhuduroa (Snowy Mountains) people. I have grown up with connections to all of these ‘countries’ and communities and feel well equipped to design branding that reflects the unique nature of Victorian Aboriginal culture, while not being specific to any one place. Having grown up in Victoria and having worked for Aboriginal community controlled organisations, I understand the importance of true consultation and look forward to working in partnership with any organisation to create a look and feel that is appropriate, respectful as well as bold and aesthetically appealing. I am very passionate about Aboriginal Art and Culture, especially Victorian Culture and believe that this passion enriches the corporate identities and artwork that I design. 

I am a practicing artist and have several family members who have influenced me and have given me knowledge of traditional art practices and stories. Before moving into freelance operation I was employed by the Koorie Heritage Trust Cultural Centre in Melbourne for 8 years and worked in retail, design, marketing and curatorial. During this time I was able to deepen my understanding of local history and the integral role that art has played for our people.


5 - Unnamed

Dixon on his piece for Victorian Aboriginal Health Service Smokefree Tram, which ran along the 86 line in Melbourne.

Can you tell us a little about the piece you did for the 86 tram?

I was blessed to have been a part of this project. The VAHS Healthy Lifestyle and Tackling Tobacco Team in Partnership with Quit Victoria had engaged me to work on promoting a healthy and positive message surrounding smoking. 

Who are the portraits of on the tram?

The portraits are of Aboriginal people who each had a positive message for the broader community in regards to quitting, prevention or a family story to share in regards to smoking. 

Can you talk a little about the colours you used and why they worked for you?

I chose the blue as the main colour as it represents inspiration, freedom and sensitivity. 

What are the challenges of creating large scale public art?

Well I had never done something on this scale before, so it was certainly a new experience. Like any job that I do, I just follow the brief and specifications that I get. I guess the only other comment I can add is that at first, I definitely felt more exposed, not only was it a large scale art, but it was quite literally; moving art. So I knew it would be seen by a lot of eyes. But I got used to the idea and saw it as an opportunity to promote myself and in turn, everyone wanted to know who designed this tram. So I was exposed, but in a good way. 

How do you feel seeing your artwork go by on the tram?

Definitely proud, but humbled at the same time. Other than the launch, I've only seen it twice, but had alot of people sending me pictures on social media and messaging to say, "I rode the tram, I rode the tram". Also to say how proud they were, not only of me, but of positive Aboriginal people sharing their stories for all to see. I definitely was a part of something much bigger than myself.


Dixon Patten

Up-and-coming graphic design artist Dixon Patten established his sole trader business in February 2011 after completing a three year cadetship…

Up-and-coming graphic design artist Dixon Patten established his sole trader business in February 2011 after completing a three year cadetship in 2008 at the Koorie Heritage Trust.

Whilst at the Trust, Dixon honed his skills in delivering outcome focused design work in line with client briefs alongside commissioned art works. His ability to capture and convey client messaging, and vibrant and versatile style merging traditional and contemporary Indigenous elements to create bold and dynamic designs fostered and cemented his reputation.

Dixon’s business has grown steadily over the past three years and has spurred number of high-profile projects including:

  • Design for the route 86 tram in Melbourne, in partnership with the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS) and QUIT Victoria as part of a quit smoking campaign
  • Melbourne Storm Reconciliation Action Plan 2011 and Indigenous Round Guernsey
  • Collingwood guernsey for the annual Australian Football League (AFL) Indigenous round in May, 2014
  • A large-scale and prominent mural in Melbourne’s Docklands for Lendlease.

Dixon offers a range of design services to Indigenous and non-Indigenous client organisations, which includes:

  • Poster/Flyers
  • Logo Design
  • Branding
  • Merchandise Design
  • Artwork
  • Reports (annual, reconciliation action plans etc.)
  • Murals
  • Invites
  • Book covers
  • Calendars