Creative Layover: Melbourne
by Lex van den Berghe
posted on 11-28-2018
G’day mate and welcome to Melbourne, where the weather is erratic and the coffee is delicious! There’s so much to do in Australia’s cultural capital, from dancing at a North Melbourne music venue to cheering in the crowd at an AFL Footy game. This trip, you’ve got just enough time to join us on our slightly atypical tour of the city: a journey through Melbourne’s thriving art scene. We’re highlighting a photographer, a photo manipulator, and an illustrator, all from this fair Australian city for our latest installment of Creative Layover!
Amongst the hidden laneways and sprawling trams lies a population teeming with creativity. People from all walks of life flock to Australia’s cultural center, bringing with them every art imaginable. From cuisine to comedy, dance to architecture, literature to sports, Melburnians welcome it all. Follow along as we introduce three artists who gather influence from a diverse range of muses, making their work quite unique yet quintessentially Melburnian.
Photographer — Wayne Quilliam
Adjunct Professor Wayne Quilliam is an Indigenous Australian and Melbourne-based photographer. As one of the country’s leading Indigenous artists, curators, and cultural advisers, Wayne has spent more than 30 years working with Indigenous groups not only at home but around the globe. Wayne captures the spirit, stories, and culture of his subjects through his lens. For Wayne, photography is an art as much as it is a way to document important traditions and advocate for Indigenous issues.
Song Man. “Aboriginal Portraits require forethought. Who is the person, where are they from, what is their story?”
I’m Going Bush. “Capturing the essence of Indigenous ceremony through photography is more than what you see – it is a part of the cultural synergy, visualizing the songlines, and understanding the storytelling.”
Men in Black. “The art is a symbolic combination of true stories and mythical representations that have merged artistic conjecture with a universal need to understand the concept of existence.”
Wayne’s tips, tricks, and parting words of advice:
On saving time in Lightroom: “I shoot on Nikon, Sony, and Panasonic. Due to color variations from each of the cameras, my photographs often require different edit adjustments to match. Using Lightroom’s camera defaults, I can automatically assign settings to any files from a particular camera type by holding the Alt/Option Key revealing the icon in the bottom right corner of the Lightroom Develop Module, saving me a great deal of time.”
On standing behind your story: “With a career spanning 30 years as a professional photographer, it has been quite difficult to convince the public that one can be a successful creative artist while being an Aboriginal creator and storyteller. For me, standing behind these Indigenous stories has made my art stronger. Every single piece has a story with a strong connection to land and culture. My influence comes from the people I engage with and their land I walk on.”
Photo Manipulator — Colin Anderson
Colin Anderson moved to Australia from Canada as a child. His path led him to an advertising and design agency where he worked as a Creative Director before leaving to pursue a career as a photographer. With his global approach to the creation of imagery, Colin now has clients from all over the world, though he still calls Australia home.
The Arrival… “This image was inspired by talking with a Hawaiian cultural expert who mentioned stories of love between men and women from different islands. To make it, we found a Hawaiian master lei maker who created culturally accurate, traditional costumes. The models were shot in a studio, and all the other images were shot separately on location in Hawaii and combined in Photoshop.”
Lübeck Museum. “I created this image to promote an upcoming event ‘Long Nights at the Museum’ for The Lübeck Museum Group in Germany. During the event, museums remain open all evening while music plays throughout the space. Tying together an ocean of sheet music with the humpback whale exhibit helped me form the concept for this image.”
Launch Day from Mission to Mars. “This series, ‘Mission to Mars,’ was created for Stocksy United. With SpaceX and missions to Mars being in the news a lot lately, I was inspired to create my own take with a 1950s retro feel. This image is part of my ‘Launch Day’ series, a tongue-in-cheek parody of a publicity portrait shot. Whilst this appears to be shot on location, all the elements were actually shot separately and then combined in Photoshop.”
Colin’s tips, tricks, and parting words of advice:
On working on large, complex composites: “It’s not unusual for my layer count to start getting into double and even triple digits, so naming layers and folders is always a good workflow practice to follow. An extra practice I utilize is the ability to color label layers and folders. For example, if I have fire elements I would label that layer/folder red. For fog, mist, or light shafts, I label yellow. People or groups of people I label as grey. Water, splashes, mist, and rain I label blue. Trees, grass, leaves are green, etc. Once this is all in order, I can scroll down my layers and quickly locate these elements at a simple glance just by the colors.”
On noticing the little details: “Creating environments (often from scratch) requires great attention to detail. In everyday life, take in your surroundings and observe little things, like how shadows fall, how light travels through different objects, how light bounces when reflected off different surfaces, etc. Use this when creating your composites. It’s all these little details that make the difference.”
Illustrator — Lilian Darmono
As an illustrator and Art Director with a background in animation and graphic design, Lilian Darmono calls upon her broad cultural exposure to create her character worlds. This globe-trotting artist, who has Indonesia, Singapore, and the United Kingdom stamped into her passport, brings plenty of multicultural knowledge to her work. Every character she draws is inspired by a real-life person with whom she has crossed paths throughout her extensive travels. Starting with pencil sketches, Lilian finishes her work digitally, sometimes incorporating traditional media elements such as ink and watercolor.
Motherhood Tantrum. “This was one of four images created for a personal project, about the herculean task faced by new mothers raising their children. Each mother is dressed like a Greek/Roman goddess, while at the same time she is presented in unpolished, honest situations that portray the crazy challenges of motherhood. In this case, the mother is pushing a pram with one hand, and carrying a hysterical, back-arching toddler in the other.”
Green Parrot. “This was the art direction style frame for an animation project commissioned by Parks Australia to raise funds in order to save the rare green parrot from extinction by building a new colony on a separate island than the current established population. We raised 77,000 AUD for the campaign, something I’m very proud to be a part of.”
She. “This is commissioned by INA for their launch of ‘SHE’, a movement inspired and powered by a rising determination to rid the world of the injustices we see affecting girls and women around the world today.”
Lilian’s tips, tricks, and parting words of advice:
On saving time in Illustrator: “The Corner Widget tool is a brilliant, time-saving device to help you make perfectly rounded corners.”
On cultivating a career as an artist: “Pace yourself — it’s a lifelong game. It’s all about the craft and trying to improve every single day. If you let today’s ‘Good’ be tomorrow’s ‘Mediocre’, then you know you’re doing what you really need to do.”
Thanks for taking this trek through Melbourne with us — we reckon it was a bloody ripper! For more from these artists, check out their social channels below:
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