30 Under 30 – Meet The Young Guns of Australian Art (Part 1)
For an artist to find their creative identity, it can take a long time as well as a lot of hard work, experimenting, and perseverance. Bluethumb is lucky to represent young artists who have already been able to boast their own distinguished brand of art. In no particular order, this is part 1 of 30 artists under the age of 30.
Ashley Cullen may be young, yet she is already exploring complex notions like the human condition. Well versed in portraiture, she in her own words seeks to capture people, “…at their most raw and vulnerable”. This can be seen in her oil works Solstice, The Mystic, and Undine.
Ashley has already been well recognised for her work, winning the ANU School of Art & Design EASS Belconnen Arts Centre Exhibition Award in 2020. It’s young artists like this that show us how to explore difficult ideas.
Inspired by revered Australian artists such as Vali Meyers and Del Katherine Barton, Aimee Rytenskild creates large-scale pieces full of dense imagery. Aimee has a clear method to painting, which she describes as “…juxtaposing different patterns and colours against each other in order to create lush visual scenes full of vibrancy and detail.”
There is a great emotional depth to Aimee’s work, exploring womanhood and mainstream depictions of femininity. Aimee speaks of this, “The woman in my paintings are always the main character, emoting a sense of strength and holding the viewers gaze.”
Adam is mysterious. A prolific creator, he keeps his identity hidden, yet his work is well known. He’s an artist born in the information age, with a clear exposure to a huge amount of culture. This can be seen in CREATURES POLYPTYCH, a pop-art interpretation of Sesame Street characters.
Adam’s work is also topical, exploring concepts like consumerism with artworks Roger That and Oh Yeah Fuel Up. He’s an artist whose work celebrates and criticises the era that he lives in, and along the way just makes really fun pieces.
Gold Coast native, Ashley Bunting has already developed a definitive style, and it all started after being gifted a wooden box with oil paint. As a self-taught artist, she paints what captivates her and pays close attention to themes of femininity, with soft palettes and textures. She’s ambitious with her work, like The Garden of Eden, a grande scale piece that fully imagines the biblical story. Ashley can skillfully transition into abstract works as well, like the textural Sahara Sands. Bunting isn’t afraid to explore new techniques, and in doing so is rewarded with great art.
5. Dave Court
Dave Court paints with a purpose. There is nothing random about his process and even more so with his objectives, who has said to us in the past that his work must have a reason to exist. It’s this kind of purpose driving thinking that has allowed him to become one of Bluethumb’s Rising Stars. Dave Court is an Adelaide-based painter, art director, and designer working in a variety of areas and media. Having sold paintings in a variety of mediums like watercolour, acrylic, and mixed media, he is always willing to try new methods.
Also a Bluethumb Digital launch artist, Dave’s current work on-site consists mainly of digital works, like visually stunning, Loop Gesture and digital artworks of home interiors like Hallway. There is clearly no limit to what Dave can do.
6. Hyunji Kim
Hyunji Kim is part of Australia’s strong multicultural art scene. Currently based in Melbourne, Kim Hyunji (Kim Kim Kim) is an artist working predominantly with paintings from South Korea. Her experience as a millennial underpins her work, making reference to the projection of self and identity through ever-present social media.
Her paintings can be direct criticisms of modern image-oriented culture like the piece, “The Identity of the future is a completely smooth, featureless, beautiful sphere, like pearl that formed inside an oyster that is also itself”. Some works are just simply stunning like Uncanny Candidness. Kim speaks of the issues that affect her generation and sends powerful messages through her work.
7. Fern Siebler
Painting is Fern’s nature. A trained graphic designer, she’s also a self-taught artist. Applying the skills that she learned in her studies, Fern uses concepts like negative space, colour, and balance in her work. She speaks about her process saying, “I am inspired by nature and also draw from my own personal experiences, allowing the emotions, memories, feelings to guide my intuitive painting process.”
Fern’s works are collected in Australia and internationally.
Danish is a true millennial. Lover of coffee and cartoons, he explores a variety of both global and Australian cultural touchstones. He puts his own spin on pop culture icons, with the Dragon Ball Z character, Goku, and the video game character, 32-bit Megaman. He also depicts classic Australian brands like Four n Twenty with Meat Pie.
Fernandes has a multifaceted creative process, “my creative approach has always been to ‘follow the idea’, whether that idea takes to acrylic, watercolour or digital. I consider myself to be a Swiss Army Knife but with art tools.”. Only 30 years old, there’s so much more for him to explore, both as an artist and as a culture vulture.
9. Emiley Rose
Emiley feels connected to the Australian landscape. It’s the beaches of the Margaret River and the rich colours of the Kimberly region that compel her to paint. Self-taught, Rose creates abstract work that act as aerial perspectives of Australian landforms. She captures the variety of Australian environments from lonely desert rivers in Riverbend and Northern River 2, to stunning beaches in Mystic Earth 3 and Shark Bay. Rose takes you on a journey of the vastness of Australian landscapes.
10. Kahlilla Rigby
Art is what connects Kahlilla with people. Rigby uses Bluethumb as a platform to engage with those who love her art. “I love to connect with people…I encourage you to reach out if you would like to learn more about any of the artworks or to just have a chat.” She says on her profile.
Rigby also expresses a deep connection to the land in her work, and of Wurundjeri culture. As a young artist, she already knows her mission is, “To evoke deep connection and admiration of Wurundjeri Land and with the diverse plants and animals of Australia. Furthermore, to awaken Australian people to protect the country, land animals and flora.” Kahlilla is part of empowered youth, using her platform to further the discussion on the significance of the Australian environment.
11. Rebecca Read
Rebecca Read sold her first painting at 12 years old. A career naturally awaited her. Based out of Adelaide, Australia. Inspiration comes easily for her, finding art in all things around her. South Australian nature plays an important part in her work, with abstract interpretations of Para Wirra Conservation Park and Sturt’s Desert Pea and Poached Egg Daisies.
You know you’re dealing with a proud South Australian when they even paint the North-South Motorway which is a highway that goes through Adelaide. It’s even more impressive when they make it this endearing. Rebecca can capture the artistic quality in things before people can even notice that they are there.
12. Brandon Wockner
Brandon’s story is one of tragedy and triumph. The 29-year-old from Toowomba turned to art for therapy, “I began painting in 2016 after my father passed away.” he says. “ I was incredibly depressed and think that if I hadn’t found an outlet in painting, I’d not be here today.” His work is forged in struggle and pain, and through it, he has been able to create truly beautiful imagery.
Brandon has identified the very reason that art has been therapeutic for him, “Art is one of the few things I can honestly say I am truly passionate about. To me, it is purity in a raw form and allows an escapism I hadn’t ever thought possible.” This escapism can be found in the mystical The Flowering Grove of Delore and Laslow’s Place. Art has become his sanctuary, and Brandon invites you to be part of it.
For Caitlin, art is more than a vocation. The 29-year-old Rockhampton native, works as a primary school teacher, treating painting as her one true passion. Her travels in the country have influenced her work, saying “The natural beauty found in so many locations inspire me every day. From the colours of the Coral Sea to the sunburnt skies of outback Australia, I love painting it all”.
She captures Australia in all facets, from Australian birdlife like Lori and Keet and Summer Clover to the iconic Queensland coast with Yeppoon Main Beach. Caitlin sees the everyday beauty in Australian life.
14. Abbey Bryon
From the bush to the beach; from rural New South Wales to Sydney’s northern beaches, Abbey has got strong familiarity with the land. Working from memory and experience, and informed by the country and coastal landscapes of her home, her work is organic.
She takes this free-form approach to create stunning abstract works including Beneath the surface and Smoke signals and paperbarks. Abbey lets her experience flow naturally through her work, giving way to a truly individual style of art.
15. Michael Sarkis
Michael is what you call a young gun. Only 21 years old, he’s already been a finalist in multiple awards, including the Bluethumb 2021 Art Prize as well as the Fisher’s Ghost Art Award and Kangaroo Valley Art Prize. Sarkis did initially follow traditional visual arts study, however, decided to turn his attention to developing and strengthening his artistic individuality. He’s gone away and done just that, creating many different pieces from the simple to the sublime.
Sarkis has a great visual mind, allowing him to create complex pieces like Determines the View and Brilliance. He also reminds us to find the value in simple things, like his concrete sculpture of a milk crate filled with lemons Citric Sculpt. It’s work like that made him a Bluethumb 2021 finalist. Michael made the right decision to do his own thing.
Get ready for part two of our 30 under 30 this Thursday. In the meantime, see the rest of our formidable up and coming artists in Rising Stars.