A VISUAL LIFE | Creative Direction + Design

Tag: art

INSTA-JAM // 2020 be gone

          

To say this year was a nightmare is an understatement! Here in Australia we started with the bushfires, then floods, then the Covid-19 outbreak and to cap it all off we have storms thanks to La Niña. The world has been rocked by the pandemic which keeps fluctuating and wreaking havoc on lives. Since we were all in lockdown at various stages I didn’t get out much, but here are some highlights from my Instagram that I hope shines a little bit of light amongst the dark times. On a positive note, with less distractions we spent more time outdoors and went back to enjoying the simple things in life. I guess you always have to look at the bright side and with that I say… good riddance 2020!

MASTERSTROKE // revamped classics

Newtown has always been a creative hub and the artwork on display is always changing, so it’s worth taking a stroll to see what gems you find in the streets and laneways. Even the supermarket car park walls have been covered with paintings depicting the faces of the local people, but my favourite is the beautiful mural on the side of a terrace house next door. It covers the whole building but I was unable to capture it all with parked cars blocking the rest of the illustration. It shows a woman reclining surrounded by flowers, cats and birds with a stack of books at her feet (which I’ll try to photograph another time if the car park is ever empty). The style and colours are reminiscent of Katsushika Hokusai‘s print ‘The Great Wave Off Kanagawa’. Taking inspiration from his Japanese woodblock art, the line work is simple yet detailed and the colour palette uses a minimal but tonal range.

Venturing further I came upon other homages to famous artists like Toulouse-Lautrec and Vincent van Gogh. I love how this street art is inspired by renowned traditional artists but in a new expressive interpretation. Wolf&Kitten is the collaboration between Dolan Reskov and Juliette Furio, the artistic duo use paint and collage to create layered chaotic pieces. I’m loving how all these examples have revamped the classics in their own way and I’m looking forward to what I will discover next.

STREETSCAPES // love is the answer

It sure is! With the end of the year approaching we can all agree that 2020 has been the worst (to say the least) and we are ready to move on. We need to love and respect each other, as well as being kinder to ourselves. I’m continuing my LOVE project which began when I continually came across the word LOVE. I started the series here and it has been far too long since my last post. Now more than ever… ‘love is the answer’.

MASTERSTROKE // colour block

Pardon the pun but I couldn’t help myself! Wandering around suburban ‘blocks’ to find this gorgeous art using ‘colour blocking’ turned out to be a perfect combination. This was a fashion trend where an outfit revolves around a palette of multiple solid colours, usually in bold and bright shades.

The first image in Rozelle has window-like panels with murals of people peeking out to reveal themselves or parts of their faces. Painting these in black and white gives them contrast and depth to the colourful background. The second photo is in Ultimo and is an architectural piece reflecting the surrounding city buildings. Located on the industrial historic site of the former rail line, it has now been converted to a pedestrian pathway and cycle way known as The Goods Line. These graphic and abstract designs follow the ‘colour block’ style and brighten up these walls while adding character to the area.

 

MASTERSTROKE // quilty

‘Self-portrait after Afghanistan’, 2012 (oil on linen)

‘Fairy Bower Rorschach’, 2012 (oil on linen)

‘Margaret Olley’, 2011 (oil on linen)

‘Bedford Downs Rorschach’, 2008 (oil on linen)

There are only a few days left to see the latest exhibition from one of Australia’s most acclaimed contemporary artists (and one of my personal favourites). Ben Quilty’s last decade of work is showcased in multiple rooms at the Art Gallery of NSW, taking you on an expressive journey on how he sees the world. This quote from Quilty himself reflects his social conscience – “My work is about working out how to live in this world, it’s about compassion and empathy but also anger and resistance. Through it I hope to push compassion to the front of national debate.”

His powerful brushstrokes and vibrant colours evoke strong emotions with the content tackling serious issues and reflecting his political views on the injustices in our society. He has campaigned for inmates, refugees and veterans, visually representing their plights and telling their stories. He was also an official war artist in Afghanistan and these paintings in particular show the pain and torment in facial expressions in his renowned vivid style.

Margaret Olley is also one of my treasured Australian artists so seeing Quilty’s intimate portrait of her that won the 2011 Archibald Prize is a special experience. I particularly love his account of her – “Her lack of ego is so appealing. Margaret didn’t understand why anyone would want to see a portrait of her. She’s such an inspiration. She was a feminist ahead of her time. She’s vigorously passionate about social and political issues, as well as art, and is enormously compassionate. Margaret has such an infectious attitude to both life and death.”

A real standout was the room displaying Quilty’s ‘Rorschach’ landscapes which are inspired by Hermann Rorschach’s ink blots used for psychological testing. This series is mesmerising and Quilty used the method of applying thick layers of oil paint, pressing the still-wet panels into six unpainted panels to create a mirror of the original. Documenting significant events in our dark colonial history by depicting areas such as Myall Creek where Indigenous tribes were attacked in a massacre. Ben Quilty shows the juxtaposition of the picturesque with the turbulence of trauma through the blotted, stain effect. Quilty’s art is as confronting as his subject matter and his bold use of paint represents his strong ethics and viewpoints.

INSTA-JAM // farewell 2019

           

Not only is it the end of 2019 but we are also closing off the decade and saying farewell to the 2010s. For many of us it has been a big year with changes, decisions and some turmoil. This uneasy environment has been playing out on the world stage, especially in politics and climate change issues. We still have to focus on the beauty of life and here are the monthly highlights from my Instagram that I hope will reflect some positive vibes. In Australia it’s very tough at the moment with the summer heatwave creating a bushfire crisis. Growing up beside a national park and experiencing this many times first hand, I know what a tough and stressful situation it is to live through. My thoughts go out to all the people affected and in particular the brave firefighters defending homes and protecting lives. I’m using my Christmas wishes for the fires to end soon, bring plenty of rain, safe holidays for everyone and a better start to 2020.

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