Sonny Dalimore

This morning we introduce an imaginative painter, inspired by journeys across Australia and life in the remarkable Red Centre.

We visit Sonny Dalimore at his Northcote home studio, where he will be hosting an exhibition at the end of this month.

Elle Murrell

The Northcote home-studio of artist Sonny Dalimore, pictured here with his daughter Claudia. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

The artist at work in his Northcote home/studio. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

‘They are all my favourite, from the idea to completion, as long as they reflect a sense of there own individual entity,’ says the artist of his paintings. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Untitled gouache-on-paper artworks painted by Sonny in (top left to right): 2017, derived from sketches of continuous line in motion, which the artist identifies in landscapes, architecture, and human forms; 2017, from a series of line works, where colours and shapes are the focus; 2016, inspired by the landscape surrounding Alice Springs; 2017 study on limiting colour and balancing it with line. (Bottom left to right): ‘Untitled’ 2016 experimental work inspired by  the Red Centre; and Universal bride discussing the state of humanity with a canary’ 2017. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Sonny working on Universal bride discussing the state of humanity with a canary’, 2017. ‘This is about the state of humanity at present, which I call modern medieval. Power of the powerful and suffering of the silenced,’ he explains. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

‘I work in my studio at home. As often as possible, I venture out for inspiration,’ says Sonny. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

‘Rosemary’ 1973. This oil-on-linen was Sonny’s first oil painting from his days as a sculpture student. ‘The canvas was given to me by a friend and already had a few lines on it. The model was a good friend of mine, her face appeared as a great subject matter,’ sayss Sonny. ‘I completed it in one session of two hours, and it will remain in my possession – some things are just not for sale.’ Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

The industrious 71-year-old artist in his home studio. The abstract artwork to Sonny’s right is inspired by the long walks he’d take when living in Alice Springs. ‘I revisit Central Australia quite often through my imagination,’ he says. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Sonny and his daughter in front of his untitled painting, featuring studio work and information collected from sketches Sonny has been doing for years. ‘It was executed in seven hours… I let my imagination loose and used my instinct,’ Sonny tells. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Elle Murrell
1st of June 2017

Incredibly grounded and frank, contemporary artist Sonny Dalimore is certain of his craft, yet open to the changing world, and those he encounters whilst navigating it. From June 22nd to 28th, the Northcote-based artist will be hosting an open studio exhibition. The showcase will bring together works inspired by his extensive travels across Australia – references that return him happily to those immersive landscapes.

Sonny’s passion for art has been unwavering and life long. In 1973 he was a a wide-eyed art student at RMIT. ‘I believed then, and now, that an artist needs to understand and practice in all different mediums. Practicing across painting, printmaking, and sometimes ceramics gave me a sense of completion,’ he explains.

By the time he’d graduated from his degree in sculpture, painting had emerged as his favoured discipline. Sonny’s teachers at RMIT recognised his aptitude, offering him direct entry in to the third year of a painting degree and additional post graduate courses, as well as a scholarship to study in Paris. This residency enabled the keen young creative to spend many inspiring days absorbing the art of the Louvre, and other museums.

‘Ever since those student days, I’ve been enjoying painting and making sculptures,’ tells Sonny. From 2008 through to 2014, he travelled across Australia, producing hundreds of small gouache works on paper. ‘For me, it was back to basics… Perhaps the Red Centre of Australian was the most inspiring, quiet, and hot place I’d ever been, and its vast space and colours continue to be driving forces of my creativity,’ he says. ‘It was an experience of a lifetime.’

Working industriously from his home studio in Northcote, Sonny approaches art as ‘total freedom of imagination’. He ventures out for new inspiration as often as possible, returning to experiment with an array of media and techniques. ‘It all depends on the subject matter and material… anything can instantly become my tool,’ he explains, deflecting that ‘good recipes for creativity are personal, and not many artists give them away!’

Sonny shares his residence with his daughter Claudia, who is one of his biggest fans, and kindly put Sonny on our radar. ‘She is a very creative person with fantastic sense of aesthetics, and I value her opinion as a critic,’ say Sonny. ‘She’s also very enthusiastic in helping to get my work out to larger audiences, making it her priority to keep my online presence up to date!’

For the 71-year-old artist there are many more works to be made in the coming years, and he hopes to hold a retrospective exhibition next year. ‘I am only just getting started now,’ Sonny announces. ‘My motivation is not about merely making art, but exercising my imagination.’

Open Studio Exhibition by Sonny Dalimore
Opening night June 22nd June, 6 to 9pm 
June 23rd to 28th (weekdays 12 to 8pm and weekends 9am to 6pm)
159 Westbourne Grove, Northcote

Artist Sonny Dalimore, pictured with his daughter Claudia in their Northcote home, where he will be hosting an open studio from June 22nd to 28th. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Recent Art