Simone Wolowiec’s debut solo exhibition, Inspired By Melbourne, is full of bold, bright and bustling oil paintings of all those Melbourne hotspots you’ve been missing in 2020.
Simone’s upcoming solo art exhibition Inspired By Melbourne will be presented by Mulbury Gallery, February 13-14th. The exhibition will showcase 15 of Simone’s oil-on-canvas artworks of well-loved spots around Melbourne, with that classic retro-travel-poster aesthetic.
Simone Wolowiec is an ex-professional sportswoman, turned artist who rekindled her love of painting and drawing to chase a childlike sense of joy. Based in Melbourne, Simone uses her surrounds as inspiration to create colourful, dynamic and familiar paintings which celebrate some of Melbourne’s most iconic locations. Whether it’s catching the 35 tram, meeting someone at ‘the clocks’ or getting a coffee on Degraves, each poster sets a scene filled with familiar aspects of our everyday Melbourne lives. The bright colour palette and the use of both strong and fluid lines generate a sense of excitement and movement – just like the garden city itself.
Perfectly stated by Simone herself, it’s artwork that’ll simply make you smile.
I took some time to find out a little bit more of what drives Simone to create her artwork (even during a global pandemic), her artistic philosophy and what her perfect Melbourne day looks like…
Your artwork features iconic places around Melbourne. What’s your favourite Melbourne spot?
The Princes Bridge. It’s been my navigation point of the city! It’s a great spot to take in the city vibe, and the contrast between the architectural design of the old and the new Melbourne. It’s an awesome spot to take photos day and night. From the Yarra River to the MCG in the distance, to Southbank, to the Arts Centre spire and Eureka Tower to the iconic Flinders Street Station and Federation Square! It’s all there!
Where does your desire to create come from?
My artistic philosophy is to create “Art To Simply Make You Smile”. I once worried that my art would be viewed as “not being serious” or not having a deep and meaningful story. But I now see my art as having a very important role in life, to make people smile. Smiling is a very powerful emotional statement and I think it’s a universal language. It doesn’t matter what verbal language we speak, a smile is a clear way to communicate across all languages. A smile is also contagious; you see someone smile, you smile back and make a connection without saying a word. To create art that has the power to positively change someone’s state of mind is empowering. The desire to impact someone’s life positively through my art drives me to keep creating.
How has the last year impacted your creative process?
2020 lockdown in Melbourne was a productive time for me. Creating was perhaps my saviour and a distraction from reality of a world pandemic, a time of much sadness and devastation. I do have an idealised and optimistic view of what I want my world to look like, but I very much felt the realism of this pandemic. My hours spent creating each week was an escape from reality, and a place where I felt safe from everything bad. I so desperately wanted to surround myself with colour and positivity and somehow do the same for others by creating fun, colourful art and sharing within my social network and community.
You have a past in professional sport, how did you get into the art world? Are there any similarities between being an artist and an athlete?
I always loved drawing and painting as a kid at school, but sport always dominated my time growing up and became my passion during teenage and early adult years. When I retired from professional sport my husband encouraged me to find another passion, perhaps something that didn’t make the physical demands that sport did. I remembered the excitement I had as a child picking up a paint brush and splashing colour around on paper. This rekindled my desire to pick up a brush again and attend art classes at Gasworks Arts Park in Melbourne where I learnt how to paint using oil on canvas under the watchful eye of teacher and artist Linda Gibbs. During this time I also studied and gained a Diploma of Interior Design and loved learning the craft of design. But painting and drawing remained my passion and in 2014 I launched my full time art career whilst living abroad, by illustrating my first children’s book.
There are definitely similarities between being an artist and an athlete. You definitely need to absolutely have a passion for what you are doing, your heart has to be committed 100 percent in order to get the results you want. To produce a body of creative work that you are proud of and ready to share is a process, and being self-motivated, disciplined and committed is a necessity in order to keep progressing, mastering and evolving as an artist. Much like being an athlete, you are always striving to better yourself and reap the rewards of your efforts.
What does your creative space look like? Do you have a process or do you thrive in chaos?
My studio space is definitely a reflection of who I am along with my current artistic style. I aspire to one day thriving in chaos…perhaps just one day which may turn into more we’ll see, haha! But for now my creative space is orderly and very much painted within the lines, a reflection of how I like to tackle projects – with precision! My space is also really light, colourful and airy which really reflects my light hearted attitude towards life in general.
What do you enjoy most about this series?
Creating this series really has made me very proud to be a Melburnian. Art has the power to influences human emotions, and this series was very personal to me and brought back many fond memories of growing up in Melbourne. To reconnect with Melbourne for the first time from an artistic perspective has been empowering for me as an artist. Melbourne inspired the series and now has given me the opportunity to launch my full time art career within Australia.
What would your perfect Melbourne day include?
There’s so much to do in Melbourne! With my myki card in hand, I’d catch a tram up St. Kilda Road to the NGV for some art inspiration and a quick high tea at the NGV tea room. A stroll through the Botanical Gardens and back along Birrarung Marr and Federation Square before heading to Degraves Espresso Bar in Degraves Street for a strong latte, panini and people watching. Then a short walk to Adelphi Hotel for an afternoon cocktail at the dessert bar. The bar has the coolest side tables; they’re designed as giant Licorice Allsorts. So quirky and fun; I want one for home! Then around the corner for dinner with my husband at Il Solito Posto off Collins St. It’s our favourite spot as it has amazing food, wine and our first date experience. Finally, off to catch a play at Arts Centre Melbourne.
Looking to get out and about in Melbourne again? This exhibition will get you strolling through a gallery and visiting all of your favourite Melbourne locations at once!
SAVE THE DATE
Inspired By Melbourne
Solo exhibition by Simone Wolowiec (@simonewolowiec)
13-14 February, 2021
26 Advantage Road, Highett VIC
For more info on Simone and her work, please visit http://art-by-simone.com.