10 Local Melbourne Artists You Should Know

Melbourne has a bit of a rep for being the arts capital of Australia. While we find inspiration from all pockets of the country, we’d be lying if we said Melbourne doesn’t have a special place in our hearts for its rich culture, vibrant art scene and its inclusive nature of creativity. Plus, we’ve heard there’s a pretty good gallery recently opened in the city… Continuing with our local series, this time round we’re tipping our hat to Melbourne artists.

Marinka Parnham: The Unconventional Melbourne Artist

Marinka gives a new hue to the rugged beauty of the Australian landscape in this textured abstract, Bush Sunset

Who’s our go-to for quirky flora and fauna? You’d have a hard time finding someone who does it as cool and spunky as Marinka Parnham. Between her abstract depictions of the Australian bush and her surreal take on the country’s quintessential animal and plant kingdom, Marinka captured our hearts with her native-inspired lino prints. You can see the mesmerising process for yourself here!

We love the sassy and sparkling nature of Marinka’s Penny Protea prints!

Theo Papathomas: The Melbourne Artist and the Australian Landscape

Black Pearl is from Theo’s confetti series painted in thick oil paint with a pallet knife and a brush, and was inspired by confetti falling on the landscape

The rhythm and unpredictable command of the Australian landscape is the cited source of Theo Papathomas‘s inspiration for his bestselling and well-renowned abstract art. Formally educated in Fine Art at RMIT University, Theo works as a full-time artist and aims to intuitively evoke the immense spirituality of the country’s environment through his own construction of these landscapes. Expect a vibrant palette and thick textures in Theo’s impressionistic capture of the land’s spirit.

Colours of petals blown by the wind fill the sky like fireworks in Theo’s artwork, Dancing Stars

Jemma Cakebread: The Melbourne Artist Painting Flesh in Tension

Jemma Cakebread‘s self-portrait painted under the instruction of artist Fiona Bilbrough

Sensual, interrogative and at times unsettling – Jemma Cakebread‘s body of work veers towards exploring the body’s many forms, human and otherwise. Growing up just outside of Melbourne, it was the encouragement of an art teacher in secondary college that encouraged Jemma down the creative path she follows today. Jemma has found a unique groove in exploring skin and flesh with rich oils, all of which pose a timeless and delicate nature to her work.

Jemma’s appeal to fleshy subjects such as this Stretching Nude thoroughly explores and plays with texture and light

Find more of Jemma’s paintings here.

Penny Prangnell: The Photographer Going Above and Beyond

Penny at the office!

Growing up in rural New South Wales, the foundations of Penny Prangnell’s love of landscape photography trace back to capturing the countryside with her Dad’s film tape camera and experimenting with basic video editing programs. During her time studying Film & Television at Swinburne University, Melbourne, she became intrigued with the aerial perspective, taking whatever opportunities possible to capture photography from the sky.

Fitz Roy is one of many Penny Prangnell captured from the Patagonian ranges during her travels through South America

As Penny gravitated further away from film and further into photography, she has combined her ever-present love of landscape photography with her passion for travelling. Her work often delivers symmetrical or geometrical shapes and patterns, either from ground level or the less seen perspective up above.

“When picturing an Australian landscape, red clay, eucalyptus trees, blue skies and endless horizons may come to mind. ‘Alpine’ showcases a hidden aspect of an Australian lifestyle, which juxtaposes this common perception.”

Find more perspective photography on Penny’s profile.

Liliana Gigovic: Melbourne’s Daily Dose of Joy

commission an artwork

Liliana Gigovic getting stuck into a seascape!

Hailing from a family of creatives, it was only natural Liliana Gigovic would follow a similar artistic path. Through a zest for life and a love of nature, Liliana floats between a variety of genres within her work, and brings her joyful outlook to canvas in whatever scene takes her liking. “My art is not placed within the boundaries of a single style or genre,” Liliana explains. “I love using a combination of thick paint, a palette knife and experimenting with different colour tones.”

These everlasting impasto florals are part of Liliana’s Bunch of Love series

Explore the variety in Liliana’s portfolio here.

Andria Beighton: The Melbourne Modernist

Andria with her signature floral still life

Florals never go out of fashion in art, and with good reason – they’re bright, cheery, and much less maintenance than the real things! Andria Beighton‘s background in floristry is evident in her subject selection with flowers being featured predominantly. Her large scale, acrylic still lifes show a fascination with colour and a requirement for balance. Andria’s inspiration for these vibrant statement pieces include bold vintage textiles, the graphic nature of poster art throughout the mid 20th century, and the geometric forms of Brutalist architecture.

Still Life No.36 captures the structure and magic of the dandelion against a soft, ivory background

Shop Andria’s collection here.

Sharon Monagle: The Introspective Melbourne Artist

Sharon’s self-portrait Introspection is one of a series; “Each [painting] gives me a new glimpse into myself. I don’t quite understand me yet, but I’m prepared to keep working on it.”

In its exploration between the abstract and figurative, Sharon Monagle  is best known for her portaiture and signature expressionism. Social justice and feminism, mental illness and human rights are but just a few of the themes Sharon deepens her enquiry into within her work, as she finds influence from “the personal, the political and the aesthetic.” Observe the slight of body language, story telling and what it is to be human in Sharon’s paintings.

In Movement and Colour, Sharon lightly pokes fun at the stereotypical criticism of Melbournians only wearing black

Discover more about Sharon Monagle here.

John Graham: The Multi-Disciplinary Artist

The Friendly Floatee was a finalist in last year’s Mission to Seafarers!

It’s impossible to specify the style John Graham adheres to within his artistic practice. With paintings that vary from the stunning landscape, to animals, to the candid portrait, one thing John is known for is his ability to employ contrast through colour and texture. The comprehensive list of awards John has work includes the prestigious Waterhouse, Heysen and ANL Mission to Seafarers.

John Graham’s practice may expand over abstracts, animals, the real and unreal, but we can’t get over the understated beauty of this Australian Summer

Find more of John’s diverse work here.

Dominika Keller: The One to Watch

Dominika eternalises the Queenscliff Banksia With Succulent & Yellow Florals through delicate watercolours

Although she hasn’t been on Bluethumb for long, we’re tipping Dominika Keller as one to watch over the coming months! Based just outside of Melbourne in the Yarra Valley, Dominika draws inspiration from her garden and surroundings. Her passion for representing house plants and botanical treasures is transparent through her work and allows a viewer to find beauty in all stages of nature’s life cycle. Dominika sees her art practice as a form of meditation and her connection to family and earth.

The Dried Banksia Posing In Blue was given to Dominika by a friend all the way back in 2015!

Shop Dominika Keller’s work here.

Tulika Das: All Things Bright and Beautiful

Flourish focuses on the potential the year 2020 brings. “It promises to flourish our lives with new discoveries, wonderful inspiration, and happiness that fills our heart.”

While Tulika was recently celebrated on our blog for her abstract works, we’ve seen the artist develop across  multitude of categories. The subject matter at hand mainly comes in abstract, semi-abstract or illustrative forms, primarily using Acrylic on canvas. Inspired by the abundance of Australian art, the country’s landscapes and iconic street art and sculptures, Tulika Das finds herself galvanised to create. “If in India I had picked up the basics of colours and application techniques years ago, it’s the vibes of this art-loving nation that my inner self has found to thrive in.”

Tulika Das reminds us that no money or diamonds can fill our hearts at the end of day; even giraffes need to be rewarded with a precious kiss from their loved ones! (Piece: Luv U Dear)

Whether established or emerging, these artists are on the up. You can find a full list of Victorian artists here. If you fancy travelling interstate without the fuss, check out our top picks of Adelaide local artists and those based in Sydney.

Jodie Freeman x Swatch: The Watch Celebrating Aboriginal Culture


  1. Michelle Nettleton says:

    Do you paint or draw pets from photos

  2. Mendo says:

    That’s a great collection. Go Melbourne! 🎨🥰

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