Elle Campbell

Painting on large-scale silk panels, Elle Campbell’s brush strokes digest the loss of her father, express her love of her childhood home in the wheatbelt of Western Australia, and conjure up hopes and dreams for the future.

From walls to runway collections, this Perth artist’s practice is turning heads. WA duo Anna Flanders and Angelita Bonetti visited this talented young creative to learn more.

Anna Flanders

Elle Campbell in her studio. ‘Growing up on a farm meant no limitations. We had dirt, and nature, and animals … Mum and Dad also encouraged us to see the world. I’ll forever be grateful for their gift of an open mind,’ says Elle, pictured with Kangaroo Paw and Pardon acrylic-on-silk artworks. Styling – Anna Flanders. Photo – Angelita Bonetti.

Elle works with vibrant colour palette in her converted-garage studio. ‘I have memories from a young age of my Dad, a farmer, in his workshop. I feel when I’m in my space that I’m almost a mini me of Dad – working hard, working passionately,’ she says. Styling – Anna Flanders. Photo – Angelita Bonetti.

The OUTBACK YUGEN series of scarves by Elle, packed in matching envelopes. Styling – Anna Flanders. Photo – Angelita Bonetti.

Elle’s large paintings on silk represent hours of physical activity: painting, stretching, steaming and sewing. Styling – Anna Flanders. Photo – Angelita Bonetti.

Elle’s series OUTBACK YUGEN is a narration of ‘sunburnt golden harvests that jar against mysterious coastal fronts,’ she explains. Styling – Anna Flanders. Photo – Angelita Bonetti.

Elle’s silk paintings were digitally printed on silk to create the OUTBACK YUGEN collection. Styling – Anna Flanders. Photo – Angelita Bonetti.

Anna Flanders
26th of January 2017

Expressions of grief, of place, and of the future come together in Elle Campbell’s art-meets-fashion practice. The artist burst onto the scene last year after graduating from textile and fashion design studies at Perth’s Central TAFE.

Elle caught the attention of the WA fashion industry with her SOLACE exhibition. Next came her solo show and Telstra Perth Fashion Festival runway debut IKIGAI, followed by a popular scarf range, OUTBACK YUGEN, in collaboration with boutique Dilettante.

While fashion has been a strong thread during the first year of her practice, Elle doesn’t consider herself a fashion or textile designer. ‘I’ve always had a much deeper connection with line, form and colour. I studied art in school, specialising in sculpture, followed by multimedia design at university. I am drawn to the tactile and hands-on process of art-making,’ she explains. 

The artist describes her style as abstract, with emotive markings of various intensities. She paints in acrylic, aerosol and pastel, crediting her parents steadfast encouragement during her childhood years for her ability to experiment, play and create. Mentorships from artist Anya Brock and lecturer Kristie Barnett, and stints working alongside Sydney textile designer Karolina York and other local creatives have also helped propel Elle’s career.

Elle’s dream project would be to recreate her work on a grand scale.  ‘Hotels, foyers, lobbies… Spaces where I can paint a dozen pieces – think six-metre to 20-metre silk hangings,’ envisions the artist. ‘I feel passionately about not only creating strong visuals, but being able to bring a theme and mood to an entire space; That’s a dream I intend to paint!’  

Elle is currently exhibiting bespoke garments as part of China Musings: A Fashion Journey at Brookfield Place from January 28 to February 12. She’ll also be launching Walyoo, a collection of silk canvases and garments, at Joonadalup Art Gallery in March.

To see more of Elle’s work, as well as what is currently available in her stockroom, visit her website here.

It’s been a whirlwind first year of practice for Elle, with the release of her IKIGAI artwork (behind) and OUTBACK YUGEN scarves (front). Also pictured, Authentic Intention, All of Us, and Femme artworksStyling – Anna Flanders. Photo – Angelita Bonetti.

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