Victoria ‘Vicky’ Hope aka Handbag Full of Worms is an Australian artist making gloriously colourful and personal works that hide their transgressive and oftentimes political nature behind a cute and humorous exterior.
Working in the mediums of painting, zines, illustration, digital art, photography, performance, fashion and installation – Victoria’s creations are reminiscent of the works of people such as Tracey Emin, Kathy Acker, Mike Kelley, and Lisa Frank. Shot through with internet culture; the aesthetics of the early 1990s Riot Grrrl movement; and Victoria’s passions, perversions, and personality.
With each work providing a peak into her very soul.
Born in 1991, Victoria grew up in a religions family who lived in the outskirts of Melbourne. Spending her childhood listening to the Spice Girls, eating orange slices and having her mind blown by early exposure to the internet, through things such as MSN Messenger. Eventually leaving school at 17 to go to TAFE in the city; were she met a whole new crowd of friends. Victoria then spent her 20s travelling and working throughout Australia; before eventually returning to Melbourne, where she now lives, works & is undertaking a fine art degree.
Wanting to get to know her better we sent Victoria some questions to answer over email.
Take a dip into her colourful and creative world below…
Name + D.O.B?
City, State and Country you currently call home?
Naarm / Melbourne Victoria, so called Australia.
City, State and Country you’re from?
Naarm / Melbourne Victoria, so called Australia.
Please describe some memories – such as art, music, friendships, adventures, study, romance, politics, work, religion, crime… anything really – from the stages of your life noted below:
* Your childhood:
I had a crush on someone in primary school in like grade 5 so I wrote a letter and put on mums’ lipstick and kissed it brought it to school… they read it out loud to everyone (there was like 50 people at my school) on the basketball court.
I had a barbie Walkman it was blue and pink and I’d listen to the Spice Girls on tapes I recorded from the radio and walk down the dirt road to go wait for the mini bus to school. It picked up all the kids on the swamp including two of my cousins who lived down the road.
I think there was like eight of us on the bus until they got a bigger bus and we shared with the public school down the road which was life changing because the school I went to was super Catholic so we got to mingle with public school kids who used to smuggle ciggies in texters. I still remember someone we made friends with called Jess because we used to sit up the back of the bus. One day jess said they got there period on the weekend while mowing the lawn and it just felt like they’d pissed their pants.
I loved sport days because I could wear a netball skirt and eat orange slices.
* Your teenage years:
We moved from the farm to the suburbs which felt like a city to me, and I started high school.
I was obsessed with msn and worked at KFC in the food court of Fountain Gate. My best friend in year 7’s dad didn’t like me because my msn name was N3Ver_Be3n_Ki$$3d_B!tCH__1991
* Your 20s:
The first half of my 20’s I moved around the country a lot working at different remote resorts and towns. I think I wanted to find myself and it felt like I couldn’t do it where I was.
I’d spend some time in one place and then there would come a time for me to move on.
I remember when I was living on the coast I was feeling really lost so I went to the sand dunes to smoke a joint and think about what to do. I asked for a sign and I saw dolphins in the bay so I booked a greyhound ticket and left a couple of days later.
* Your 30s so far:
I started of my 30’s in a weird place… I was living in the worst share house I’d ever been in where my landlord lived on the other side of the wall and used to steal my uber eats which sucked.
But now I’m halfway through an art degree which has been sick so far; to really focus on art and make a mess in another space and then get to talk about it.
What role did toys play in your childhood?
I spent a lot of time alone on the farm I grew up on, my sisters were both older than me so I’d play on my own with my toys I’d make up dances and watched a lot of TV
I remember when Furby’s came out and I wanted one so badly because I thought we could talk to each other about everything, when its batteries were running out it was acting possessed so I put them in the cupboard.
When and why did you first become interested in art and everything creative?
… and any pivotal creative moments / influences?
One night circa 2018 in a share house I had just moved into my housemate had a friend over and we sat outside and drank Redwine and smoked endless ciggies. They were both reading from journals, so I read some of mine and it felt magic.
I’d never had anyone to share with like that.
Heartbreak has been a big reason for me to make art. The heavy feelings that I didn’t know what to do with.
When I look back, I see a portrait in everything.
There will be art I’ve made where everything I drew was crying and I remember what was happening when I made it or how I was feeling. This also works for manifesting; like ill find a drawing from 7 years ago and now have those things now, or relate to them somehow like I couldn’t have when I drew them.
Why the name Handbag Full of Worms?
Ego death led me to Handbag Full of Worms.
Every time I go through something in life that’s major or transformative, I feel like I’ve outgrown that alias. It’s cool to look back and be like woah remember lizardqueen1991 or sadclowngirl69, pinkcrocodile 69…
I’m about to take on a new name I’ve been thinking about for a while but it’s a secret.
If you had to explain your creative endeavours to some recently crash-landed aliens…
What would you tell them?
I’m making this stuff to try and make sense of it all.
Can you please explain your interest (infatuation even) in the following things, that feature prominently in your art:
I had a couple of Beanie Kids growing up but only started collecting them since 2020. I have 130. Only one I have bought…
They were all gifted by mostly one person who I met on Instagram – Shout out to Ashlea. Those times you’d rock up with bags of Beanie Kids in the boots of your car and other treasures, are core memories for me.
Mcdonalds is a drug, and I am hooked.
Little angels and devils.
I wonder what lives they have lived before…
There’s a lot of random cats around where I have lived that I’ve made friends with or tried to.
Best friend, worst enemy, lover.
* The colour pink.
I have a strong unconscious affiliation with the colour pink.
Your current Instagram kicked off in 2020 – Can you please outline what where you getting up to creative wise, before then?
I was always making art but I didn’t think it was any good until I moved to Brunswick and made soul friends who used to tell me how special my work was. I’d draw a picture in a notebook at a café in crayon and my friend would buy it from me immediately. They really gassed me up in the best way possible.
I remember my friend saying the way you make art… Not everyone can do it like that, you know the way you do it like its breathing.
Who are some of your favourite artists, writers, filmmakers and musicians?
…and what is it about their works that so inspire and move you?
Some artists who speak to my soul: Kurt Cobain, Bas Jan Ader, Tracy Emin, Daniel Johnston, Karen O, Elliot smith, Al Green, Darondo, Florist, Dry Cleaning, Sheryl Crow, Angel Olsen, Hole, Connan Mockasin, Donnie and Joe Emerson.
If people wanted to check out your art, work with you or buy some of your wares – Where should they visit and how should they get in touch?
Dm me x
Odds & Ends
If you could live in any place, during any historical era – Where and when would that be?
…and why would you choose that time and place?
Would have to say 70’s to 80’s for Studio 54.
What does “God” mean to you?
I don’t believe there’s one God.
I understand in wanting to believe in something.
I believe in souls, karma, manifestation and I think you can make your own god.
What are the top 3 items you own?
… and what is it about each of them that you so love?
I found this in savers in 2020 and it’s been the first thing to hang up anytime I move into somewhere new usually above my bed.
Vintage playing card with a hottie wearing a bikini and drinking a Big M.
She’s who I pray to.
This blanket I got from Dimmeys the other day.
No explanation needed.
Please describe your last dream in detail…
I dreamt my housemate’s dog was sitting on me, then did diarrhea all over me, and I got it off; but then I checked my bank account and had 7k and got lost on pt (editor: public transport) on the way to uni.
I think they would start off on the wrong foot but then realize they had a lot in common like smoking fat ass doobies.
Of everything you have done so far, what would you most like to be remembered for?
I’d like to be remembered for being real and having a hot ass.
- Victoria L Hope aka Handbag Full of Worms – Instagram
- Victoria L Hope aka Handbag Full of Worms – Online Store
All images supplied by Victoria.