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Artist, Madeleine Gilbert

Spotlight on art defining a quintessential Australia

Depicting our unique Australian identity is as diverse as our landscape. Being able to characterise what is quintessentially Australian is dependent on who you speak to. For Melbourne-based artist, Madeleine Gilbert, it is the fusion of Australia's nature with everyday objects from our daily environment.

The discovery of emerging Australian talent continues to excite us here at Barnaby Lane HQ, and collaborating with Madeleine to share her artwork is a great honour. Her skills are versatile to say the least, and as a visual artist, her works extend across painting, illustration, textile design, graphic design and product surface design. Having worked as a graphic artist for apparel companies and as a product designer in homewares and toys, she now brings her creative talents to paint a collection that is in every way, inherently Australian. We invite you to discover her incredible pieces and the inspiration she shares behind her work.

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Meet the artist - madeleine gilbert

Tell us a bit about your background?

I studied visual arts at RMIT university in Melbourne where I majored in Painting, and later studied a diploma in illustration. I am a self taught Graphic designer and have been a textile and graphic designer for the textile industry for many years. I've spent the last five years illustrating children's books. I have been lucky enough in recent years to focus more on painting.

When did you first realise you wanted to become an artist?  

I started drawing cartoons for all my friends and really enjoyed art when I was in primary school. In high school I took all the art classes you possibly could and I won an award at one of Melbourne's biggest galleries for some of my art work in year 11. That was when I realised I wanted to make art as a career.

What was your inspiration for these pieces?  

The cockys on trolley is inspired by the hundreds of abandoned trolleys you see around the streets. I like the juxtaposition of nature and man made items like trolleys coming together to make an interesting but realistic composition. The inspiration behind the protea is just a love for queen proteas light, shadow and different textures. I used my mums favourite green vase for this painting and it makes me happy. The galah on the chair is inspired by different textures. I love the soft feathers of the galah next to the cold hard steel of the chair. I enjoy seeing two opposing subjects together as one. I also loved the look of this retro chair and really had an urge to paint it.   

What draws you to Australian-inspired art? 

I've always loved Australian animals and I grew up loving Ken Done. Australian art is having a resurgence and becoming recognised. We have incredible flora and fauna and it deserves to be highlighted.

What artists have influenced your style?  

Jeffery Smart is one of my all time favourite artists and has had a big impact on me and my work. Realist artists I follow on social media are Joel Rea and Robert Stark.  

How have you developed your career?  

My career has been a mixed bag of all things creative, having worked for large companies like K-mart and Cotton On, as well as smaller homewares companies. I have painted murals for cafes, private homes and restaurants here and overseas. I try to develop my career by accepting new opportunities, learning and growing as a creative and doing things outside my comfort zone. 

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