A VISUAL LIFE | Creative Direction + Design

Tag: painting

TYPE-RIGHTER // vintage pub art

Pubs in Australia are part of the suburban landscape and iconic to our culture. It’s a shame that so many are disappearing and being redeveloped into high rise apartment blocks due to the land size and good locations. Luckily there are some that are bought and revamped but it’s a fine balance of keeping the heritage while bringing them to the modern age. The architectural styles of the buildings can vary like Federation or Art Deco but I also find the signage used at the time interesting.

Vintage posters and beer branded signs were commonly displayed because the breweries had major influence over pubs by controlling the choice of beers they sold. Tooth & Co dominated in Sydney and eventually bought out Resch’s, which led to them owning the majority of city pubs. Tooth’s branding is still seen around such as this painted mural at Terminus Hotel in Pyrmont. Posters advertising beer brands were also popular and can still be spotted in older areas like The Rocks. I particularly like this Victoria Bitter one at the Royal Hotel in Bondi as the surfer represents the beach area and the graphic style is reflective of the era.

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TYPE-RIGHTER // all you need is love

Love is universal and it’s a recurring theme in art, music and film from every culture. We’re told about ‘the power of love’ with many of us experiencing ‘tainted love’ and some people think that ‘love will tear us apart’. Whether you believe in ‘higher love’, you’re ‘addicted to love’, you feel ‘all out of love’ or for you ‘love is a battlefield’ – there’s no denying it’s everywhere. I came across these murals in Bondi which are simple but make a big impact on the street. I realised that I’ve photographed street art in the past based on the word LOVE so it might be a good idea to start a series on this idea. This concept could be my next ‘big love’ so if you have any suggestions on where I can find some great examples of L-O-V-E artwork let me know.

MASTERSTROKE // margo lewers

Margo Lewers ‘Broken Circles’, c1968 (synthetic polymer paint on composition board)

Margo Lewers ‘Composition in Orange’, c1952 (oil on canvas on cardboard), ‘Orange Shapes (torso)’, c1956 (oil on hardboard)

Margo Lewers ‘Green on Brown’, ‘Red (1)’, ‘Red (2)’, ‘Orange with White’, c1971 (perspex)

Margo Lewers ‘Interior (Centre) (diptych)’, c1965 (synthetic polymer paint on composition board)

Margo Lewers ‘Marine Composition No.1’, no date (oil on masonite), ‘Scene Change’, c1951 (oil on masonite)

I managed to catch the exhibition Emu Island: Modernism in Place before it closed and I was glad I did. It celebrated the significance of Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest as well as it’s importance to Modernism. You can read more about the history of the space on my previous post here. Featuring works by founders Margo and Gerald Lewers along with luminaries of the Sydney art scene such as Frank and Margel Hinder, Judy Cassab, John Olsen, Tony Tuckson, Carl Plate and Robert Klippel. The works span four decades when the Lewers’ resided on the property from 1942-1978.

The standout for me was Margo Lewers’ work which celebrated bold colours, shapes and experimentation with materials. She was an inspirational woman who lived in a time when there were limitations for females but she shone. They were living in a changing world when those formative years of feminism and attitudes were evolving. Margo and her husband created a holistic way of living, working and entertaining their friends and art contemporaries in the new modern age. It would have been amazing to be a part of that energy and creativity.

STREETSCAPES // goddard street

There are plenty of streets and laneways in Newtown filled with street art but Goddard Street is one of my favourite spots. I love how the whole walls are covered in artworks all lined up like an art gallery space. Works by various artists with different styles and themes create an interesting mix. They do change around so it’s always worth having a stroll to see how it’s evolved from the last time. These photos were taken awhile ago so I’m definitely due to do another shoot soon.

MASTERSTROKE // here comes the sun

John Olsen is one of the most revered Australian artists with a career spanning 70 years. I’ve always admired his painting style which is full of energy, fluidity and colour. His current exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW showcases his paintings, ceramics, tapestries and works on paper. It’s clear in these artworks that he loves nature and the Australian landscape that also forms our identity. The you beaut country exhibition showcases his iconic landscape series depicting the beauty of places such as Sydney Harbour and Lake Eyre. My favourite is the large-scale Sydney Sun with the intricate layering of shapes and flowing lines. This particularly inspired me as I have watched the film The King Sun: John Olsen a few times. It’s an amazing documentary following John as he paints the second largest mural he’s ever done (The King Sun). It’s a personal insight as he works on the masterpiece, while sharing his thought process and his philosophy on life.

TYPE-RIGHTER // presence

As a graphic designer I have a love for typography and I’m fascinated with the process of creating type. Typographers can have creativity but the successful ones also need the technical knowledge and finesse to make it work. Sydney illustrator and artist Gemma O’Brien has become famous for her font-based artworks and large-scale picturesque murals. She also uses the pseudonym Mrs Eaves for her social media and has had many commercial successes. Respected and recognised for her work, she has presented many talks on typography at design seminars worldwide. Her works predominantly mix lettering with illustrative elements to create visual illusions between the written word and intricate line patterns.

This weekend she had created two large hand-painted installations on the gallery walls at China Heights for her show Presence. The word JOY is almost illegible even though the letters are bold but it is delicately intertwined with flowing lines and botanical references. The other wall is blank except for black script with the phrase Desire Seeks Mystery as a simple statement. These may seem conceptual but the message reflects her personal view of feeling good in an age of global uncertainty. Only on show for three days before being painted over forever, the limited time gives the pieces an energy and performance art effect due to their temporary nature.

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