For me, when it comes to design nothing beats the sophistication and glamour of the art deco era – it was the source for my art deco posters Melbourne. It’s an era which greatly influences my art – especially, my recent ‘Melbourne Poster Series.’ The city of Melbourne is considered one of the world’s great art deco cities and many of the best deco buildings are located right in the city centre. Today these parts of the city offer a glimpse back to the 1930’s era through the many art deco designed historic buildings – which inspired me to create these art deco vintage travel posters.
Melbourne’s capital growth and expansion after the Great War saw the city transform from the depressed dull city it was into a flourishing art deco metropolis and many buildings with political and cultural significance were constructed in the 1930’s. The preferred ‘Art Deco’ architectural style was described as “‘continental” or “the latest.” Buildings had a distinct sleek streamline style, smooth lines, linear in appearance with stylised, often geometric and triangular ornamentation. These architectural qualities are reflected in my traditional and my digital artwork. Repeated pattern, sunburst or sunrise motifs, loud and vibrant colours decorated Melbourne as changes in society and technology, such as the motor industry, aviation and the glamour of Hollywood movies, influenced design.
Art Deco or ‘Arts Decoratifs’ influenced not only design of public buildings, but furniture, jewellery, fashion, art, cars, movie theatres, trains and ocean liners! The design style, although short-lived, is one of the most recognisable architectural and design movements.
As you sip on a latte and stroll through Melbourne, one of the most liveable cities in the world, there are many beautiful art deco buildings to admire throughout the city and surrounding suburbs. You can even join an art deco architecture tour to hear the history of design of those times. For this series, my Melbourne art deco prints aim to reflect this design.
Three of my favourite art deco buildings in Melbourne’s city are the ‘Yule House’ rather small on scale, but so distinctively art deco with its repeated linear pattern and geometric fine window details. The five story building was one of the first commercial office buildings built in the streamline moderne style, an international style of art deco architecture. Second, the ‘Mitchell House’ stands out a mile with its gorgeous gold signage and smooth curved edges. Inspired by streamline moderne design, its white facade definitely can’t be missed. My third favourite is ‘The Capitol’ theatre. Its interior is an incredibly detailed, stunning array of glamorous patterns and textures with carefully placed lighting, making it a stand out!
I think I’m most attracted to the number of art deco theatres in Melbourne. Melbourne was a major centre for the movie-going public. Early cinemas were elaborately decorated designs. Theatres bring me that sense of ‘old Hollywood’ or the golden age of film and storytelling, which I love. The neon pink signage that glows at night at ‘The Rivoli’ Cinema in Melbourne’s inner city suburb of Camberwell continues to embrace the art deco culture after expansion in the year 2000. The petite single cinema star facade of ‘The Astor Theatre’ in St. Kilda’s bustling centre is heritage protected and recently refurbished to take you back in time. And right next to Port Phillip Bay, sitting adjacent to Melbourne’s Luna Park in St. Kilda, is the glowing yellow of the ‘Palais Theatre,’ the largest seated theatre in Australia.
On my drive along the bay up towards the city I always look across to the iconic grand ‘Palais Theatre,’ and imagine stepping back in time, dressed in 1930’s period fashion attending a matinee show! The art deco building is an icon, and along with the historic theme park ‘Luna Park’ made it to my list of art deco posters and paintings and illustrations. The painting ‘Luna Park & The Palais’ is part of the ‘Melbourne Poster Series’ – more examples of the art deco vintage travel posters. Next time you stroll the city, be sure to take time out and enjoy the amazing local architecture and check out my selection of art deco posters Melbourne!
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