Can you sense a theme here? Libby Haines is an artist based on Wurundjeri land, lending her painterly ways to colour-filled still life scenes. With Instagram-only artworks dropping every Monday and Thursday, she's busy, undeniably talented and hugely inspiring.
What is your philosophy and overarching aim when it comes to creating?
Painting for me is a form of escapism, a chance to step outside of myself, my own thoughts/existence and be entirely in a moment. I get so much pleasure focusing on colour and texture and bringing a concept and feeling to life through paint. I aim to create pieces that bring other people joy, capturing the mood and nostalgia from a particular moment in time, taking ordinary objects and elevating them to a higher status.
In your wardrobe and your work, what colours, patterns and motifs are you most drawn to?
In typical Melbourne style I do wear a lot of black but I love adding an element of boldness and colour with a single piece or accessory. Stripes and checks are a favourite in my wardrobe and I also love a statement belt, or piece of jewellery.
My paintings are anything but black, colour is probably the single most important part of my works. At the moment I am enjoying sickly colours like a dirty green or brown and mixing it with something sweeter like a pink, peach or purple.
What is your typical outfit for a day of painting?
I'm quite reckless - I continue to paint in clothes that I love and continue to get paint on them. Being warm (it's so cold right now) and comfortable is obviously key, but if I can also look cool why not? I've always loved fashion for allowing self expression, and I get a lot of joy choosing outfits and combinations that feel inherently me, but are a bit extra. The right choices can really elevate my mood and how I feel about myself.
What does a normal day in your life look like?
My days always begin being woken by either my 4 year old or 2.5 year old and from there it is ON. My husband and I both darting around the kitchen making coffee and heralding different breakfast demands and music requests from the kids, whose tastes seem to change on a fortnightly roster.
Then if it's a day care day or a day my husband has the kids, I say my good byes (usually followed by three thousand "just one more cuddle and kiss" from the kids) before I head into my "studio"... which is just the spare room at our house.
Then I usually put my headphones in and dive into painting. I can lose hours so easily when I paint and the process can be all consuming. On Mondays and Thursdays I create a small painting to sell on Instagram that same day. These paintings have become integral to my practice, it forces me to create (and somewhat quickly) no matter how I am feeling. This allows me to not overthink things too much and results in a painting that has a certain level of energy and movement to it. The small paintings then inform and influence the large paintings I work on the other days, which take a lot more time, planning and consideration.
How do you stay motivated to keep creating?
It's honestly never been something I struggled to stay motivated to do...it feels like I'm always so itchy and hungry to create, I just wish there were more hours in the day for it...it's other things I find hard to stay motivated doing like cleaning or my tax...
Tell us about your studio. What is your interior aesthetic and how do you curate an inspiring space?
My studio space is small and cluttered. It's strewn with sketches and vintage cookbooks and colour swatches...drying canvases and my trolley and paints. I think my aesthetic is a bit like the way I paint, messy with a bit of a chaotic energy to it.
I am not a minimalist despite attempts in the past. Different vases with fresh flowers, dried flowers (and sometimes flowers on their way out that I haven't gotten to yet), candles, art by me, art by the kids, family photos, and lots of mixed pieces of furniture that my husband and I have collected over the years.
And TOYS. My god, they don't have many toys but you wouldn't know it by looking at my house. Every day without fail, every toy that has ever been given to my kids finds its way out of the toy box and into every crevasse of our house. I also LOVE plants, a bit of greenery can really elevate a space, but I am pretty shit at keeping them alive.
Where do you find inspiration?
I draw most of my inspiration from my personal experiences, foods I've cooked, restaurants I've eaten in and cluttered scenes from the home (hence the often inclusion of a kids toy and common appliance in my work).
Lately (which says a lot about the stage of life I'm in), I've been getting colour inspiration from the children's books I read my kids at night. They often depict simple and bold colour blocking combinations and finding a new colour combination is a real THRILL to me. (The Nickle Nackle Tree, Oh the places you'll go, All the ways to be smart, and even though I loathe them, the Mr Men books).
Are there any other up-and-coming artists we should keep an eye on?
- My friend Jackie Medley is a talented tattoo artist and painter. She RARELY lets people see her art though so I like to hassle her every chance I get because she's amazing and her paintings need to be out in the world.
- I recently discovered Poppy Templeton's mirror and stain glass work via Modern Times Gallery and I'm in LOVE.
- Lana Launay is another new discovery. Lana creates lamp and light shades by hand using natural textiles and recycled materials.
- Painter Charlotte Alldis recently curated the exhibition Between Painters which invited 22 female-identifying and non-binary artists to collaborate on a piece for the final show. I find the concept of collaborating like that quite terrifying, so I think it was a brave undertaking for all the artists involved, and the results were some really powerful pieces that pushed the artists beyond their comfort zones.
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