There truly is nothing like Australia. Although in my life, it took me almost two decades to finally see it, we are so lucky to experience the beauty that surrounds us in this great country. After living abroad for almost twenty years, I returned home to Melbourne in 2001. It wasn’t until later that I learned how inspiring the Australian suburbs can be. Now, this suburban landscape is what motivates me; pushes me to create new works to represent the place I live.
There is a uniqueness in the Australian suburbs that I believe is only captured through art. Some people may find them quotidian, but I know I am not alone in my passion for the domestic scenery. Artists such as Jeffrey Smart, Reg Mombassa/Chris O’Doherty, David Hockney, and Edward Hopper are known for revitalising the suburban world through colour and vivacity, which is what I wish to express in my representations of the Australian backyard.
It’s the manicured lawns, geometric fences, brick facades, diverse letter boxes, telegraph poles and unique Australia flora that make our beautiful Mornington Peninsula so distinctive. There is no other place in the world I would rather be. Not only this, but this stunning scenery is home to a thriving arts community. In particular, Oak Hill Gallery stands out for me as a hub for local artists, giving creators like myself the opportunity to share their craft and follow their passion.
I first recall visiting Oak Hill Gallery when I finished my studies at Chisholm TAFE in Frankston in 2009. I was concerned that after completing my Visual Arts Diploma I would lose the strong network of friends and artists I had met at Chisholm, but finding Oak Hill calmed all of my concerns immediately. Not only was I welcomed into a community of creators and volunteers, but I found a place to showcase my work and learn new approaches to creating art. We are so fortunate to have, hidden amongst the oak trees and roses, this little community gallery to inspire us. Now, eleven years on, I am still involved with all the life-drawing, printmaking, painting, pottery and children’s classes. Additionally, there are exhibitions year-round which invite artists young and old to collaborate and exhibit their works, just like myself when I first encountered this great space.
It is this stable support base that encouraged me to complete my double Bachelor of Arts, and Fine Arts and Visual Culture in 2017. This time of research and study allowed me to hone in my fascination with the ephemeral nature of the suburban landscape. Through my work, I documented the degradation of the domestic scene through modernisation, gentrification and commercial developments. In this study, I realised that the only permanence that we experience is constant transience: Nothing stays the same and there is always sometime new developing. I am obsessed with the impermanence of the Melbourne suburbs, and often find myself driving around with my camera, on the hunt for the perfect lighting, perfect shapes, shadows, colours, and most importantly, beauty in the mundane.
Australian Art, Suburban art, Suburbia, Printmaker, Billy Nye, Australian artist, Australian backyard