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Sam Michelle · Flourish

Creative People

Today Mornington-based painter Sam Michelle unveils her solo exhibition, ‘Flourish‘, which will go on show in Sydney next week.

We’re not only fond of her charming oil-on-canvas artworks, but are chuffed to chat to someone who quite clearly shares our obsession-level love of Melbourne florists, ceramicists and textile designers!

11th July, 2017

Sam praises Instagram for keeping her connect with other inspiring artists. Photo – courtesy of the artist.

‘I wanted to base the series on my love of ceramics, flowers and textiles,’ explains the painter. Photo – courtesy of the artist.

New Zealand-born Sam, moved with her family to Melbourne in 2001. Photo – courtesy of the artist.

Artworks by Sam. Photo – courtesy of the artist.

The artist recently relocated from her home studio in Berwick to what will be a collective of artist studios in Mornington. Photo – courtesy of the artist.

Sam works primarily with oil paints. Photo – courtesy of the artist.

An artwork for ‘Flourish’. Photo – courtesy of the artist.

Mornington-based oil painter Sam Michelle. Photo – courtesy of the artist.

Sam working on a painting for the forthcoming exhibition. Photo – courtesy of the artist.

Elle Murrell
Tuesday 11th July 2017

A case in point for backing your ambitions and putting your work out there, late last year Sam Michelle’s art was featured in a popular group exhibition at Saint Cloche in Sydney. On the back of this success, the Melbourne-based painter was encouraged to work towards her first solo show, ‘Flourish‘, which will open at that very gallery next Wednesday.

Stepping into the spotlight, the industrious artist will exhibit 25 paintings on canvas, at a larger scale than previous works. ‘I wanted to push myself with size in this series… to explore and play with fabric; I’ve really enjoyed interpreting the texture of the fabric with paint,’ tells the still life painter, who visited her favourite Melbourne florists, and assembled her ever-growing ceramics and fabric collections to create the scenes depicted.

Fortunate to have grown up as part of an artistic family (in New Zealand before relocating to Melbourne in 2001), Sam was surrounded with art supplies, as well as the encouragement to nurture her own artistic expression. ‘My Grandpa was a successful painter and sculptor and always had us working on creative activities during our holiday stays,’ she recalls fondly. Sam’s Grandfather’s interest in her painting was unwavering throughout her school years, proving a constant source of motivation, and, when his eyesight sadly deteriorated, it was to her that he bequeathed his treasured oil paints.

For a long time, painting with these heirloom materials could only be a side practice for Sam. ‘Although pushed by my high school art teacher to study art at university, I had been fearful that if it was an actual job I would tire of it, so I moved to Melbourne at 17 and worked in finance for 13 years,’ she explains. Bolstered by business savvy from her day-job, she eventually set her mind on seeing if art could be a financially-viable full time career. ‘Making the decision and actually writing down my goals and wishes had such a powerful impact on opening up opportunities,’ she reflects, listing opening her local council art space in 2014 and live painting demonstrations as early, pivotal highlights. ‘These events kept rolling into more fabulous opportunities, and I count myself very lucky to have met some incredible people, supporters and mentors.’

Earlier this year Sam outgrew her home workspace in Berwick, and moved into a new studio in Mornington. ‘Micah and Bern from the wonderful Southern Buoy  (who have been making my canvases and frames for nearly three years now) invited me down for lunch and explained their fantastic plan to create purpose-built studios and an exhibiting gallery space for artists next door to their new factory – how perfect!’ she says, of her new ‘little arty family’.

Like many emerging creatives today, Sam feels indebted to the social media tools that have facilitated her networking and also sales. ‘Instagram has introduced and connected me to some wonderful makers and creatives  I love that I can follow their process, stories, and am able to interact so directly, it’s all very inspiring!’ In a kind of meta form of emerging-local-talent-exposure, we hope that our posting of Sam’s work will only contribute to this further!

Flourish’ by Sam Michelle
July 19th to 30th
Opening Night Wednesday  July 19th, 6-8pm
Saint Cloche
37 MacDonald St, Paddington, Sydney

Sam has more solo shows planned for September, October and December – keep up with all her news on her website, here.

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net