I was inspired to paint The Melbourne Poster Series – a series of fine art prints Melbourne – after returning to, and re-connecting with, my home town of Melbourne. We had been living abroad in San Diego, California for nearly a decade and soon after we arrived back I took a day trip into the city to discover modern Melbourne. I saw the street art and artist communities, fashion and food cultures from all around the world, and the contrast between the architectural design of the old and the new Melbourne. It was a fun day taking the time to explore and admire. As the day turned into evening, the vibe of the city was consuming and I didn’t want it to end. After random conversations with a barista in Degraves Street, a Melbourne shop owner and a local coffee consumer with a strong opinion on what makes a great latte, I really sensed how proud Melburnians are of their city. The day trip sparked my creative inspiration and I set myself a painting project to capture iconic images of Melbourne on canvas.
Stylistically, the paintings in the main Melbourne Poster Series have been influenced by the retro travel poster and other fine art prints Melbourne. I’ve always loved the aesthetics and simplicity of poster art particularly that of the Art Deco and streamliner 1920’s-30s and mid-century modern 1940s-60s eras. The poster has a long history dating back to the mid 1800’s and graphically has always been a powerful form to visually communicate a message, whilst being a beautiful piece of art. I’m drawn to the elegance, the balance, the precision and simplicity of design of these past periods. The travel poster from these times evoke a sense of adventure, wonder and optimism. During the long history of poster design, lithographic printing allowed for multi-colour design, however many artists limited their colour palette to reduce costs. Repeated usage of colour, both bold primaries and harmonious pastels give the art its simple appearance, whilst defined outline and pattern give a sense of precision and balance visually…and I hope you can see that in the Melbourne Poster Series. I love that colour can reflect and create a whole range of human emotions, and playing with that concept in these poster style oil-on-canvas works has been challenging and rewarding.
My style is simple, using blocks of colour and repeated pattern influenced by the Art Deco to Mid-Century Modern era. I’ve taken design elements from this era and created modern art pieces which encompasses a new take on “old Melbourne” in a light hearted, fun, simple way. I know I have a romanticised view when I look back at this era. I think the travel poster very much encapsulates a time when things were simpler and perhaps more elegant, which is why I’m drawn to the poster art of this time and why I really loved creating the Melbourne Poster Series.
Today travel posters from the late 1800s to the late 1970s are highly collectible for their dynamic design and range of artists and artistic styles. I hope that art lovers see an aesthetic connection between my work and the Art Deco, retro travel poster that continues to inspire my art!