A self-portrait of the artist as a young rabbit

April 22, 2023 BY


Ella Carroll is a 22-year-old Belmont-based multidisciplinary artist and curator, making a name for herself with an evolving self-portrait.

Carroll sells her works locally, regularly displays artworks and sculptures in local exhibitions, and has even curated local exhibitions. In the local art scene Carroll is more widely known as “Beany”, also the name of the beloved illustrated character her works are centred around.

“I’ve got that little guy that is who I draw mostly, Beany Rabbit.”

“I kind of started drawing him in journal entries when I was younger, what I was wearing that day or outfits that I would wear in the future. So, he was like me.”

Carroll said she had been scribbling Beany on the sides of diaries and textbooks for as long as she can remember, but it wasn’t until she finished school that the idea of art as a career crossed her mind.

“Then it just developed into drawing the rabbit in different scenarios, doing cool things. So, as I grew up he’s developed with my style but he’s just stuck around, because he’s cute.”

Beany is still Ella’s daily inspiration, and still often her self-portrait.



Her style, she said, was heavily influenced by her early inspirations, including characters from well-loved children’s books.

“I think [Beany] was inspired by a lot of books I would read when I was growing up – Mifffy, by Dick Bruna; and Maisy Mouse.

“It’s hard to label it, but it’s pretty cute, it’s easily digestible. Very comfy and cute.”

The emerging artist is now best known for the recognisable illustrations, reflective of her unique and adorable art style.

One major evolution of the character happened on a trip to Japan after finishing school.

“Everything was just so well thought out and cute, even the stop signs in Tokyo had little illustrations.

“I think going to Japan really changed my art style.”

Beany on plates at the Beany’s Home Exhibition. Photo: SUPPLIED


When Carroll returned from Japan, she set about planning her first exhibition.

The exhibition took place at the Geelong Film Lab and event space, Analogue Academy, at the end of 2019.

Carroll said because of the cute style, her works seemed to be easily accessible to people of all ages.

Since 2019 she has participated in several other exhibitions, including both curating and participating in a recent exhibition at Hue and Cry in Geelong last year.

Carroll said curating the exhibition gave her a fresh appreciation of local art.

“It was a group exhibition, and it was my first exhibition that I curated.

“It was 20 or so artists around Geelong and Melbourne, and it was just really cool to see everyone’s art and all these different styles form really well together.

“It was a year and a bit of work, and it got extended, which was really good. So, I had it going on for a few weeks.”

For her own artworks showing in the exhibition, Carroll said she divided the unique gallery space into separate rooms, placing her signature rabbit character at the focal point.

At the Beany’s Home exhibition, she showcased a massive sculpture made out of plaster and clay.

“That was my favourite exhibition, Beany’s Home. It was like walking into [Beany’s] house.”

Carroll said her preferred mediums were acrylic on wood, and she also loved working with sculpture, but would experiment with many others in the coming years.

Carroll’s latest exhibition, ‘Inside Voices’, opened last week April 13 at There There Gallery in Geelong.

Her artwork, bags and prints, can be purchased on her website beanybeanybeans.net

To follow Carroll’s artistic journey follow her on @beanybeanybeans .