scapes

QnA with Scapes Artist Elise Hurst

It's our final day of Scapes and thanks to all the people who have come in and made it one of the busiest days of the four week show. Here's a final look at one of our favourite artists from the show, Elise Hurst, who creates awe-inspiring vintage alternate realities in the 50+ books she has illustrated and fine art prints. She also took time to answer our questions. Thanks Elise!

What is the first drawing that you remember doing?

I know I drew all of the time but I remember copying Durer's engraving of "Knight, Death and the Devil" one summer holiday. I was quite young and the horse ended up a bit like a long hippo but it was a labour of love, and how it turned out didn't really matter.
"Knight, Death and the Devil" (detail) by Albrecht Dürer

"Knight, Death and the Devil" (detail) by Albrecht Dürer

Fairies by Ida Rentoul Outhwaite

Fairies by Ida Rentoul Outhwaite

Was there a special book for you growing up, and what was it?

It was all little pieces of a puzzle - an EH Shepard illustration of Eeyore or Piglet and Pooh looking for Heffalumps, the flower fairies of Ida Rentoul Outhwaite, Bluebeard illustrated by Edmund Dulac, Norman Lindsay's satyrs, 30s adventure chronicles... I remember fragments and they are still burned into my mind.

How does it feel to excite young minds and do you consider yourself as a child when creating your images?

When I created "Imagine a city" I wondered and worried about whether it would make any money or not. It had, after all, taken four times longer than any other book I'd ever done and this is my only job. Then I had the realisation that I would have loved this book as a kid. I decided then that it was enough to have created something I genuinely loved and felt really proud to have brought into the world. 
© Elise Hurst

© Elise Hurst

How does your work keep you young ... or doesn't it?

I create for myself and it is part of my job to engage with my inner child. I think that is so healthy - mostly because our childhood is full of possibility and sometimes we need to be reminded that there are options in our lives. All too often we seem bound to a path and forget that we willingly turned down it. Engaging with your inner child, using your imagination, realising the value of time spent in frivolous, happy pursuits is something that we too often neglect. Imagination is not just about flying fish and alternate realities, it is also a useful tool to changing life for the better and taking a chance to realise your dreams. But it takes practise and engagement. I love to watch people becoming lost in a strange image and hear the stories that leap from them. There is an energy that radiates from them which is beautiful.
© Elise Hurst

© Elise Hurst

What was the experience seeing your work published in a book for the first time?

It never ceases to be exciting. People say that you "made it" when your first book is published, but it is really just the first step on a long adventurous path.  

 

© Elise Hurst

© Elise Hurst

Can you let us know what's currently in your CD player/ on your Turntable/ in your Spotify queue?

Emile Simon for magic, the Fratellis and Furbelows for energy, the soundtracks to Amelie and The Piano for the long journey of a difficult work. 

QnA with Scapes Artist Ritva Voutila

Image Right "Newton's Cradle" © Ritva Voutila

Image Right "Newton's Cradle" © Ritva Voutila

Finnish born Ritva Voutila made her way to Australia via the Canary Islands where she has become a beloved children's book illustrator and fine artist. Her rich, detailed artworks shown in Scapes are from just three of over 50 picture books she has illustrated. She creates magical worlds using traditional oil-painting techniques and also creates digitally with the same fine skill. We were lucky to have her answer a few questions:

Hi Ritva,
What is the first drawing that you remember doing?

International chairs, when I was under four years old. The chairs were simple figures resembling number 4, and what made them ‘international’ was that they consisted of multicoloured stripes as in flags of many nations.

Was there a special book for you growing up, and what was it?

I was an avid reader from very young. My childhood coincided with the era when the illustrations in many, if not most books, were still those from the Golden Age of Children’s Book Illustration. Any book with such wonderful illustrations was a special book for me.
"In The Pink" © Ritva Voutila

"In The Pink" © Ritva Voutila

How does it feel to excite young minds and do you consider yourself as a child when creating your images?

I create images that I find pleasing to myself at the time of creating them. If instead I try to please others I fear my illustrations would become forced and lifeless. I aim for honesty and it is a great bonus if others find my illustrations pleasing as well.

How does your work keep you young ... or doesn't it?

I believe any mental activity keeps one’s mind young. And as for the body, I mostly paint standing up for hours at the time.
© Ritva Voutila, from "The Selfish Giant" by Oscar Wilde

© Ritva Voutila, from "The Selfish Giant" by Oscar Wilde

What was the experience seeing your work published in a book for the first time?

I started very gradually. My first published work were small black and white illustrations in school textbooks. Nonetheless I felt a sense of achievement when I finally graduated to “real books”.

Can you let us know what's currently in your CD player/ on your Turntable/ in your Spotify queue?

“Guns, Germs and Steel”, an audiobook by Jared Diamond – seriously.
Best wishes,
Ritva

Be sure to catch Ritva's fantastical imagery in Scapes, last day tomorrow (Sat 18 Sept). Collins Bookstore also stock books she has illustrated including The Nutcracker by Margerete Lamond and The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde.

© Ritva Voutila, from "The Selfish Giant" by Oscar Wilde

© Ritva Voutila, from "The Selfish Giant" by Oscar Wilde

QnA with Marc Martin

We're very happy that Marc Martin has also taken some time out to answer our little questions:

Hi there Marc,
What is the first drawing that you remember doing?

My memory is terrible, but I have vague recollections of drawing some pretty good whales spouting water through their blowholes for a school project about water. I’m pretty sure it was for the cover of the project, and I may have spent more time on the cover than the actual content!

Was there a special book for you growing up, and what was it?

My favourite picture book was probably Where the Forest Meets the Sea by Jeannie Baker. The combination of unique illustrations and an evocative narrative resonated with me. 
From 'Where the Forest Meets the Sea' by Jeannie Baker

From 'Where the Forest Meets the Sea' by Jeannie Baker

How does it feel to excite young minds and do you consider yourself as a child when creating your images?

It’s great knowing that the books I make can impact young lives for the positive. It’s always nice to get an email or letter from a teacher or child who’s been inspired by what I do. 
In terms of creating images for the books, I just try to make artwork that’s as equally appealing to parents as it is to children (after all, parents are the people buying the books!). I try not to think about who’s going to be reading the books or what age they are, just that they’re stimulating to a wide audience. 

How does your work keep you young ... or doesn't it?

I work pretty hard, so not really sure that it’s keeping me young :)

What was the experience seeing your work published in a book for the first time?

It was pretty exciting going into a bookstore and seeing my book on the bookshelves amongst other picture book authors and illustrators I admire.
"A Forest" self-published 2008, and "A Forest" Penguin 2012.

"A Forest" self-published 2008, and "A Forest" Penguin 2012.

Can you let us know what's currently in your CD player/ on your Turntable/ in your Spotify queue?

Right now I’ve been listening to the new Radiohead album a lot, and going through their back catalogue. They’re one of those bands that has been consistently good at what they do throughout the years, and always exploring and pushing boundaries - something I’d like to try and do with my own practice.  

Thank you Marc!

Come along on Friday (19th August) at 6PM as we launch SCAPES, featuring three beautiful prints from Marc, along with many other show-stoppers!

Scapes Artist Marc Martin

Image © Marc Martin

Image © Marc Martin

We first fell in love with Marc Martin when we saw his illustrations for "A Forest", in, (I think) 2008. They were displayed in a Melbourne gallery, having won some serious design awards and we were immediately hooked. That book has since been re-published by Penguin, and Marc has continued to create more books and illustrations that hold our heart. He has such a great design ability with striking compositions that are rendered in beautiful watercolour splashes of colour. The dynamic between detail and space, geometric and organic, is breathtaking. 

It's also interesting to watch his beautifully tactile work translated to the digital realm via the iPad puzzle "Night and Day"

Image © Marc Martin, from the "Night and Day" iPad puzzle.

Image © Marc Martin, from the "Night and Day" iPad puzzle.

You can follow more of his work and get daily updates of beautiful sketches and finished works via his Instagram account. And then join us this Friday, 6PM, 19th August to view a selection of prints at the opening of Scapes.

QnA with Jonathan Bentley

Jonathan has also taken some time to answer our Artists Questions - and providing a super cute badger pic!

Hi there Jonathan,
What is the first drawing that you remember doing?

I was at primary school and I made a collage of a badger.
"Badger" by Jonathan Bentley

"Badger" by Jonathan Bentley

Was there a special book for you growing up, and what was it?

The Adventures of Uncle Lubin by W Heath Robinson. A wonderfull, silly adventure fully of whimsy and folly and the most beautiful black and white illustrations.

How does it feel to excite young minds and do you consider yourself as a child when creating your images?

My books tend to be for quite young children and they are my inspiration. There enthusiasm and excitement about life is just brilliant. If only we could bottle that spirit!
I think the reason I find myself writing and illustrating picture books is because I've never really grown up. I am still waiting for Jeremy Fisher to walk through the garden gate.

How does your work keep you young ... or doesn't it?

In my head yes, it keeps me young by trying new things,  and always continually learning. However, sitting bent over a drawing desk for hours every day is probably not helping.

What was the experience seeing your work published in a book for the first time?

Until that moment, all you have are a bunch of  drawings usually sitting in a pile but then when the book  arrives  and you hold it in your hands as a real three dimensional thing it is very special moment. The fist one was even more special.

And lastly, can you let us know what's currently in your CD player/ on your Turntable/ in your Spotify queue?

To be honest, I tend to listen to ABC classic FM but favourites I always turn to are anything by Bjork or the Gorillaz.  I seem to be drawn to strange narrative worlds even in music.

Thanks for your time, Jonathan!

Come join us 6PM this Friday August 19 as we open Scapes and explore some of Jonathan's energetic landscapes from his next book,"Blue Sky, Yellow Kite".

Scapes Artist Jonathan Bentley

Image © Jonathan Bentley, from The Courier Mail

Image © Jonathan Bentley, from The Courier Mail

Brisbane (by way of Sydney, London and Brighton) artist Jonathan Bentley, illustrates for both editorial and picture books. His subject matter is therefore quite varied, but a lovely looseness of line, offset with bold compositions and colour choices unites these diverse works.

The Courier Mail in Brisbane has published his images for over a decade, and with over 20 books for children to his name his portfolio is wide ranging and we find it fascinating that he covers both quite serious news stories as well as creating such uplifting and joyous picture book images.

We love the warmth in his his mixed media picture book illustrations - the character and lightness that he conveys with a masterful balance.

Please join us at 6PM Friday 19th August at Ludlow to discover more of Jonathan's work in Scapes.

Image © Jonathan Bentley from his picture-book "Little Big"

Image © Jonathan Bentley from his picture-book "Little Big"

Image © Jonathan Bentley, from The Courier Mail

Image © Jonathan Bentley, from The Courier Mail

QnA with Armin Greder

Here are some answers to our questions, from the man himself, Armin Greder, just one of the intriguing artists exhibiting in Scapes

Hello, Armin,
What is the first drawing that you remember doing?

A loaf of bread on the wall above my bed.

Was there a special book for you growing up, and what was it?

My parents’ (hidden, but not well enough) doctor book; it gave me nightmares.
Armin Greder, from "The City"

Armin Greder, from "The City"

How does it feel to excite young minds and do you consider yourself as a child when creating your images?

The same as exciting old minds, and no, i don’t, but neither did I consider myself an adult when I was a child.

How does your work keep you young ... or doesn't it?

I think it keeps me the age I am.

What was the experience seeing your work published in a book for the first time?

Glory. And then consternation when it didn’t win the Book of the Year.

Can you let us know what's currently in your CD player/ on your Turntable/ in your Spotify queue?

Nothing. I am writing this in a hotel room in Teheran.

A big thanks to Armin for answering our quick questionnaire. Join us at 6PM Friday August 19 for the launch of Scapes and to take in the impressive prints contributed by this commanding artists.

Scapes Artist Armin Greder

Image © Armin Greder

Image © Armin Greder

Armin Greder creates powerful picture books with dense charcoal images that are disarming, honest and alluring. His history wends it way around the globe; born in Switzerland, working in graphic design and teaching in Australia, drawing in his studio in Peru, answering our artists questionnaire from his hotel room in Teheran. 

This article on and interview with him is a great place to jump in and discover more about this enigmatic artist: http://www.playingbythebook.net/2016/05/10/an-interview-with-armin-greder/ , then join us at 6PM August 19th at Ludlow to launch Scapes and view some of these beauties in real life.

Image © Armin Greder

Image © Armin Greder

QnA with Gaye Chapman

In the lead up to Scapes, we asked the artists involved some questions and are very happy to share our first responses, from the fascinating Gaye Chapman:

Hi Gaye,
What is the first drawing that you remember doing?

The first drawing I remember doing is a self portrait as ballerina. I am wearing a princess crown-like tiara and dancing on very pointy legs. I embroidered the drawing onto my sleeping doll, Suzon's, cushion (not Susan). I still have the drawing and often include it in my fine art self portraits – and I still have Suzon.
Gaye Chapman Self portrait as a ballerina Portia Geach Prize

Gaye Chapman
Self portrait as a ballerina
Portia Geach Prize

Was there a special book for you growing up, and what was it?

Yes. It was a book about fairies (no author or illustrator named) sent to me by my father's parents in Sydney - who did not share my Mother's progressive child rearing views. My Mother read us poetry rather than bed-time stories, Bellbirds by Henry Kendall and Salt-Water Poems And Ballads, by John Masefield. I am still transported when I open that magical fairy-book; but also when I hear 'I must go down to the sea again', or 'down the dim gorges I hear the creek falling'!
Gaye Champan's Fairy Book circa 1950s

Gaye Champan's Fairy Book circa 1950s

How does it feel to excite young minds and do you consider yourself as a child when creating your images?

It's the most wonderful feeling and I always imagine my reader as an individual sitting up in bed and pouring over every detail of the illustrations; so I like to hide little surprises and give them plenty to see. I do not imagine myself as a child when I am actually illustrating as too many other grown up people keep interfering. But I am a child when I imagine what might be possible to do, and I am a child again mixing paint and making lovely colours.

How does your work keep you young ... or doesn't it?

The work does not keep me young, too many cooks in the broth reminding me I must do my homework. I get very giggly though when I discover a characters real face and body and often say 'hello'. Meeting children once the book is published keeps me young, I get to do a lot of silly things, dress up and jump about a lot and yell. At school I was too dramatic and was always told to "grow up" and "stop showing off", so I particularly encourage children to show off as much as possible and I love not being grown up!

What was the experience seeing your work published in a book for the first time?

I was very proud of the illustrations inside my first real picture book 'Heart of the Tiger' with Glenda Millard, and I still think it is some of my best work. But I didn't get excited then and I never do now, because I always think of what it could have been. 

And lastly, can you let us know what's currently in your CD player/ on your Turntable/ in your Spotify queue?

My starred favourites on Spotify right now are:
"Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" Good Charlotte;
"Hole" album Courtney Love; 
"Nessun dorma" Luciano Pavarotti;
"London Calling" The Clash
and "Superheroes" The Script.

Thanks for taking the time to answer, Gaye!
We can all see Gaye's work at the Scapes opening, 6PM, August 19. See you there.

Scapes Artist Gaye Chapman

Image © Gaye Chapman

Image © Gaye Chapman

Gaye Chapman works as both an abstract figurative painter and picture-book illustrator (and author). As a contemporary visual artist she is celebrated and has been often awarded, with a long and impressive portfolio and list of acknowledgements. Her work here is an exploration of painting and mark-making, where the influence of the Australian landscape is immediate and visceral. Her paintings combine her prowess with detailed patterning and the layering of paint to create a weathered surface, as though it has been saturated by the Australian sun.

That love of detail and pattern crosses over into the wonderful world of picture book illustration she has created. (She has over 11 titles to her name.) Here, her narrative illustration forms a unique fantasy world, detailed and immersive with flowing lines of motion that take you through imagesrichly layered with fairy-tale features. 

We're excited that Gaye's work is included in the very special selection for Scapes as chosen by author, publisher, curator and academic/researcher Margrete Lamond.

Join us 6PM Friday August 19 at Ludlow to explore more!