The Bluethumb Team Share the Stories Behind Their Own Artworks

As we approached the end of last year, the Bluethumb team reflected on the stories behind our own artwork acquisitions. In keeping with this week’s Collector Sale, we are back for another round of the anecdotes, narratives and yarns behind recent additions to the team’s own personal collections. Large statement pieces to small shelfies, each of the artworks here have a story to tell that gives the piece value surpassing monetary.

Alexandra, Interior Designer & Trade Sales: Seeing Something New

For about two months I had my eye on this artwork by Christopher de Hoog before I pulled the trigger and purchased it. I’m not one for impulse purchasing, but I loved the artwork and kept coming back to it which was a sign for me that I had to add it to my collection.

Alexandra’s bedroom makeover slowly came together thanks to last year’s lockdown!

Previous to moving it was hung as the feature piece in our bedroom and I just loved looking at it first thing in the morning and before bed, each time finding a different shape or colour that I hadn’t noticed before. To this day my partner is still trying to convince me he can see a rabbit in the artwork, but I’m still lost on that one. I love that it can be interpreted in so many different ways.

Shop Alexandra’s hot picks for winter in her recent curation here.

Amélia Davis, Art Advisor: The Shelfie of Three Shoes

Sometimes you come across an artwork that you didn’t even know you were looking for, but that instantly resonates with you. My Little Red Shoes Diptych was one of those for me.

When I was a little girl my mother bought me a pair of little red shoes whilst we were visiting family in Paris. It was love at first sight. I ran and played everywhere in these shoes and even slept in them. Eventually I wore them down, but I couldn’t let them go. Luckily my grandfather was a cobbler who created all the shoes for the theatres in the West End in London. He could stretch, re-heel, re-sole, and re-colour anything. Every time my little red shoes needed fixing or stretching so I could wear them just that little bit longer, my beloved grandfather would work his magic.

When you’ve ran out of wall space, there’s always room for a shelfie!

Eventually of course, they had their day and could no longer be worn, but I kept one little red shoe as a reminder of happy childhood memories and my always-merry grandfather. Sadly he passed away before he got to meet my own children, but my mother ensured they were given their own little red shoes in due course. The diptych, and the well-worn original shoe, now sit together in my bookshelf and make me smile every time I pass them.  I had been searching for seascapes on Bluethumb that day, but I found a joyful emotive artwork instead.

Noticed Amélia’s colour-graded bookcase? Our art advisor was inspired by the addictive Netflix series, The Home Edit. Click here to see our curation honouring the rainbow gradient!

Freddy, Head of PR & Comms: From Black & White to Life in Colour

Working with Ken Done on the Bluethumb Art Prize has been a dream come true and also pushed me over the edge from thinking “one day it would be awesome to add a Ken Done to my collection”, to “Ken is the best and I must buy one of his artworks now”. I buy art for many reasons, but more often than not I kind of fall in love with the artist. One of the things I enjoy most about my job is the friendships I form with artists. I wouldn’t go so far as to say Ken and I are friends, but we are now friendly and he even gave me a copy of his new book when we bumped into each other outside his gallery. He wasn’t meant to be there that day – I had a meeting with his manager – and just as I was leaving he appeared. I said, slightly starstruck, “I thought you weren’t going to be here today.” He replied charmingly, “So did I, but I think it was meant to be.” He invited me back into the gallery and was everything I’d hoped he’d be.

Freddy with the man, the myth, the Aussie legend, Ken Done.

One of my favourite quotes in Ken’s book is: “My paintings are my words. They are half a conversation, hoping that somebody might respond to those ‘words’ that I have put down on canvas.” I was looking for the perfect piece of his for a few months and when I saw the one, Ken’s quote was so true.

Freddy in Ken’s studio with his new piece, Black and White Sydney, 2009. A piece aptly named for his own story!

To me this artwork represents a time in my life when my world went from black and white to colour. I was living in Sydney in 2009 when Ken painted it and finally allowed myself to begin exploring my sexuality, something I’d repressed for years. A life changing moment happened very close to Ken’s gallery in The Rocks, with a similar view to this painting. I also met my now husband that year. 

Freddy's bedroom gallery wall

Freddy’s piece by Ken Done (bottom left) sits nestled in a stunning collection of artworks.

Of course Ken knew nothing of my story when he was painting it, but as he wisely prophesied, I am half of the conversation and will treasure this artwork for all the meaning I see in it. I also love how it’s a rare black and white by the King of Colour. The colour I see in it is everything that’s happened after it was painted.

Ken Done is now a Bluethumb artist! Click here to see the artwork he is auctioning for charity – more details coming soon! Looking to make your home your very own gallery? Read Freddy’s tips here.

Grace, Content & Gallery Assistant: Art that Brings the Fun Factor

I had the absolute pleasure of working with Bluethumb artist Ellen McKenna earlier this year in the run up to her Feeling Colours exhibition. Normally, the water sign in me loves deep, emotive artworks – most of my collection so far is based on that feeling of emotional resonance. Ellen’s work, however, focuses on a bold and vivacious use of colour and shape, playfulness and balance. It’s not what I’d usually be drawn to, but over the course of the past few months as we set up for the exhibition, I came to find a special softness for the intentionally simple and cheery nature of Ellen’s work. It matches her bubbly persona so perfectly.

Falling into Line I & II were destined for this little space!

Coming into the gallery every day to the primary colours of Ellen’s exhibition was a small reminder to embrace more of what’s light-hearted and carefree. I’d been eyeing up Falling into Line I & II the whole time and already had the space in mind back home where they would go. By the closing night, there was no way I was leaving without them!

Browse our curation celebrating the relationship between mood and colour here.

Julian, Marketing Manager: Marking Milestones

I bought this Tjanpi sculpture for my daughter while my wife was still pregnant. I love the colours, quirkiness, and that it looks so animated despite being stuffed with native grass. Occasionally (and without encouragement) the child will fall off the bike, so I like to think it does have a life of its own.

It perches atop my daughter’s cupboard, surveying the room and keeping an eye on her. She’s almost 2 now and aware it sits up there. From certain angles and in the dark of night it can look pretty creepy…though she seems more fascinated than scared by it.

Tjitji on Bike by Tjanpi artist Sally Lane.

I think most people hold a memory of something ‘made for kids’ that is so fantastical, creative, or off-kilter that it sticks with them into adulthood. For me, it was Jim Henson’s film The Labyrinth. Bowie’s character used to really freak me out, but I loved that movie and still do.

I’m not sure if Tjitji On Bike will be that memory for her, though I’m hoping it’s something she’ll treasure from before she was born, right throughout her lifetime.

See more art for magical kids rooms here.

Megan, Content & Creative Manager: Embracing Slow & Simple

When Sarah Park uploaded Tote Life, it wasn’t just me who saw myself in it. Within an hour, two members of the Bluethumb team messaged saying the piece reminded them of me. I knew that it was fate. This piece was meant to be mine.

Megan hadn’t expected to resonate so deeply with this piece by Sarah Park.

It’s not just the fact that it features a camera and plants (two of my passions). It’s the stunning simplicity of it – the focus on light and shadow, the soothing muted colours and the hint of foliage peeking out. Sarah’s piece could have been taken from a corner in my bedroom – and she has captured it masterfully.

Tote Life is now one of the growing collection of artworks gracing Megan’s bar.

I’m a huge fan of the concept of slow living and the simple lifestyle. I just feel that reflected back at me every time I look at this amazing piece hung salon style above my bar.

Sarah Park is one of the many talented artists featured in our recent curation celebrating Classic Traditionalism. Click here to see who else made the list!

The Bluethumb Collector Sale is now on, giving you up to 15% off artworks site-wide. Hurry, offer ends 31 May!

Head to Bluethumb and use codes on checkout:⁠
COLLECTOR10 > 10% off any order⁠
COLLECTOR15 > 15% off any order over $1,500

Exclusive Artworks, Collectable Artists: The Bluethumb Art Prize Winners Exhibition

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