Loribelle Spirovski: Art Prize Winner to Art Prize Judge

Loribelle Spirovski is everything an artist can be. Her story begins like any other artist: she worked hard and continually honed her style. Eventually, she was recognised. Loribelle has traveled this path and become truly accomplished. She has gone from a self-made artist to the Bluethumb Art Prize 2021 winner to now becoming a judge of this year’s Bluethumb Art Prize 2022.

This year, she will be joining some of Australia’s most revered artists such as Del Kathryn BartonTamara DeanBlak Douglas, and Kathrin Longhurst on the Bluethumb Art Prize judging panel.

Loribelle represents to Australian artists the very real possibility of becoming successful and celebrated for their work.

Loribelle Spirovski’s 2021 Bluethumb Art Prize winning painting, Mirror into Mirror.

Progression is a natural part of art practice and is developed over time, which is just as true in Loribelle’s experience, “Over the years, my practice has increasingly been driven by intuition; learning to recognise it, sharpening it, and allowing it to grow.” She says.

“After a while, I began to find my feet and learn what I was drawn to visually. I realised that more than anything I was hungry to learn and to experiment, so the years that followed were defined by rapid change.”

She also speaks of her practice being formed through struggle, “…artistic creation has always been my escape and fortitude against the personal challenges I experienced as a migrant, adapting to life in Australia – a vast land drenched in colour, and the murmurings of something primordial.”

Inspiration might be considered to be a cornerstone of creativity, however, Loribelle disagrees, “Inspiration can be fickle and changeable. It often feels like it’s hiding in my peripheral vision and is only visible when I don’t focus on it too hard.”

Demystifying the complexity of finding inspiration, Loribelle claims that it is more commonplace than people think, “I’m inspired by stories. The kinds of stories that repeat themselves like a pattern on our species as a whole. Stories that grapple with the nature of consciousness and the rhythms and habits of humans since we first began to tell stories. This is why I continue to be drawn to mythology and our tendency towards identifying and mimicking archetypes.”

This can be seen in the simplicity of her portrait John Bell at home. It earned her a place as an Archibald Art Prize finalist.

Loribelle Spiro

Loribelle in her studio

Loribelle’s painting process is clear and simple, “I used to do my ‘sketching’ straight onto the canvas, doing very little prep-work, wanting to capture the freshness of exploration on the canvas.” This kind of simplicity is refreshing. Particularly when it’s the beginning of art like hers, which has become greatly celebrated.

“By the time I get to the painting stage, I’ve often been processing the imagery for months and even years. I have a collection of images and quotes on my smartphone that I constantly update and rearrange. This is how I like to create a mental map of everything that tickles my interest (either as an idea I’d like to explore, or something I’d like to avoid).”

Loribelle has learned to trust herself as an artist. She says she has had to “…learn to listen to that little voice in the back of my head that often knows when a work is heading in the right direction or if it’s worth starting fresh.”

As a judge for this year’s prize, she hopes to see the best that Australian artists have to offer, “I’m looking to be inspired. The best thing about seeing the work of others is getting to share in what drives people to create and labour over art. People find inspiration in the most unexpected places, and it can be a great reminder to revisit certain avenues of the human experience.” 

Loribelle has built an art career on venturing into the unknown, and coming out of it with spectacular work. In this year’s Bluethumb art prize, she encourages all artists to do the same thing.

Entries for the 2022 Bluethumb Art Prize are open here.

See all the submissions made so far here.

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