Taking the Creative Leap: A Disney x Bluethumb Collaboration Celebrating Soul

To celebrate the release of Disney and Pixar’s Soul, which is now streaming on Disney+, we’ve collaborated with Disney to create and give away 3 incredible artworks inspired by the critically acclaimed animated film.

Ever wondered where your passion, your dreams and your interests come from? What is it that makes you… YOU? Soul will take you on a journey from the streets of New York City to the cosmic realms to discover the answers to life’s most important questions.

The Soul inspired artworks are by top Bluethumb artists Todd Simpson (last week announced the winner of the Bluethumb Art Prize 2020 People’s Choice Award), Laura Thomas and Andria Beighton, and each piece reflects a different aspect of the movie. Continue reading to hear about how these 3 artists took their creative leap, see the process behind the artworks up for grabs and find out how you can enter to win one.

Do You Know Someone With a Hidden Creative Talent?

In the spirit of Soul’s themes of creativity and transformation, we’ve teamed up with our friends at Disney Australia to discover hidden creative talents!

Whether it’s painting, drawing, music or anything else, if you know someone who has a flair to share with the world, tag them in the competition post for your chance to win one of our major prizes – the specially created artworks from our top artists!

For those you tag, there are runner-up prize packs ($500 Bluethumb voucher + awesome Soul goodies) if they show us their creative leap. They simply need to post an image or video of their creative talent on Instagram and tag @bluethumbart and use the hashtag #mycreativeleap!

Click here to shout out your creative friends and enter on our Instagram post.

Bluethumb Artists’ Creative Leaps

We all know how hard it can be to take a creative leap, so we spoke to the 3 Bluethumb artists who have not only painted the artworks especially for our competition, but are also thriving on the Australian art scene and inspiringly made the leap themselves. Find out when their creative path began and what advice they would give to anyone who is thinking of taking the leap themselves.

Todd Simpson

With a portfolio of hyperrealistic painting that is often mistaken for photography, Melbourne-based Todd Simpson, who was last week announced the winner of the Bluethumb Art Prize 2020 People’s Choice Award, exercises incredible technique in his work. Intense, uncompromising and often referred to as ‘technically accomplished’, we could think of few better to give their take on the cityscape of New York for this collaboration. Todd’s artwork pictures a New York street at dusk, amidst the hustle and bustle of the city. The main character of the film, Joe, is the prime subject of the piece, bewitchingly tying the commissioned artwork into the film.

What is your first painting memory?

“My father worked in IT, and this was back in the day when they used to print on this concertina paper with holes down the side. They’d always have heaps of leftover paper, so he’d bring that home and I’d create my little masterpieces on that. I remember creating war scenes, but also cards – birthday cards, Christmas cards… I was just expressing my imagination through all the materials, through these scrap piece that my father had brought home.”

Todd Simpson painting his Soul-inspired artwork.

We were lucky to catch some of Todd’s process; he also brought by a few of his favourite pieces for us to admire!

What was your ‘creative leap’? Was there an influential person or event that encouraged you to take a serious interest in art? Or was it more a growing interest over time?

“I wouldn’t say it was one thing; I’d say there was a series of things. At school, art was always my favourite subject but I’d always looked at art as not a realistic career. For the next twenty years, I focussed on careers and formal education and doing ‘normal’ things, while art became less about producing, and more consuming – [such as] going to galleries.

“I was stuck in a job that I never really loved. As a gift, my wife bought me a weekend course in a traditional art school in Sydney. It gave me the impetus to start looking at things outside work that could give me more satisfaction and meaning in life. It led me to take more time on art than work – little by little, work disappeared and art became a full-time role.”

Does revealing a new artwork still make you nervous?

Yes. Not as much as it used to, but it certainly still does! You put so much of yourself into an artwork, and when you present it to the world, you feel exposed. It’s you on the line. Artists are very self-critical; you can see faults in your own work that no one else can see. Especially when you’re trying out a new idea you haven’t done before! Social media is a great way of finding out if that idea has any legs, because you get feedback pretty quickly.

Todd Simpson painting his Soul-inspired artwork.

With Todd‘s expertise, this airbrush produces uncanny results!

What would you say to people afraid to share their creative talents?

I’d say first and foremost, you need to be doing it for yourself, rather than for other people. If you’re proud of what you’re doing, then it’s important you’ve gotta be out there. Music needs to be heard; art needs to be seen. Everybody has their own audience niche – art’s very subjective and you’re not going to be universally loved. There’s going to be some people who love what you’re doing, and other people that don’t. That’s fine, because there will be people [whose] lives will be enriched by you sharing what you’ve done.

Find more of Todd’s work on his Bluethumb profile.

Laura Thomas

Meet Laura! We loved getting to know the woman behind the most sought-after and original still lifes in Melbourne.

UK-born artist Laura Thomas has fast become a much-loved still life painter within Australia’s art and design networks. By creating an abstracted form of her everyday surroundings, her work always involves an eccentric aesthetic and playfully breaks the rules. Laura’s commissioned piece for Disney and Pixar’s Soul depicts a quirky take on a jazz night club.

What is your first painting memory?

It’s a bit of an odd one – I guess that’s why I remember it! I was about 4 or 5 years old, at [school]. We had an afternoon session of painting. Everyone else was painting pictures of their families and flowers… beautiful, colourful paintings. I painted mine completely in black – black lines, black shapes. I was really chuffed because I thought mine was completely different from everyone else. Maybe not so well-received by my mother! That sums me up with my art today. Pushing boundaries and being different from other artists.

Laura Thomas painting her Soul-inspired artwork.

Doesn’t this look like a fun place to work? Laura Thomas in her creative process.

What was your ‘creative leap’? Was there an influential person or event that encouraged you to take a serious interest in art? Or was it more a growing interest over time?

Throughout education and studying it at university. Going to the galleries in London and experiencing real art, and wanting to be part of that world. The real creative leap was when I was studying way back when. I quit my journalism degree to explore the art world, and studied fine art.

Does revealing a new artwork still make you nervous?

Yes, definitely! Especially with commissions and working with collectors, because you really want to reach their expectations. Within my own practice, I am really confident now. It’s taken me a fair few years to find my niche, but [now] I’m fairly confident in my style and I know when a piece is complete.

Laura Thomas painting her Soul-inspired artwork.

Various still life compositions are now brightening up the Bluethumb gallery – thanks, Laura!

What would you say to people afraid to share their creative talents?

I would say take the plunge and just explore creativity! There doesn’t have to be too much of a risk in this – just get a canvas and some paints and see where it takes you. Art’s so subjective, there’s no right or wrong. Whatever your style is, someone out there is going to absolutely love it. The stranger, the better!

Andria Beighton

Andria Beighton painting her Soul-inspired artwork.

Andria’s bold and bright floral painting paired with our office plants are a match made in heaven!

Andria Beighton‘s large scale, acrylic still life paintings show a fascination with colour and a requirement for balance. Her 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 – so you can imagine how excited we were to see her piece for the competition! For her spin on the Soul-inspired piece, Andria’s artwork is based on a 1950s travel poster for New York with music motifs ringing throughout and the Half Note Jazz Club featured in the film.

What is your first painting memory?

It’s something I don’t remember myself, but I have been told about many times! My dad was painting the walls in our lounge room and he left me unattended with a paint tin. I decided that the newly upholstered couch needed a bit of a touch up, so I went ahead and did that for my parents!

What was your ‘creative leap’? Was there an influential person or event that encouraged you to take a serious interest in art? Or was it more a growing interest over time?

It’s been more of a series of small steps. I’ve always enjoyed all sorts of creative things. Recently I started painting just for my friends, and slowly I started to show some of my friends. They were really encouraging, so I decided to give it a go properly and share my work with more people. It’s been great!

These cute 1950s posters formed part of the influence of Andria’s piece for Disney and Pixar’s Soul.

Does revealing a new artwork still make you nervous?

Revealing  a new artwork is actually really scary! I put so much of myself into each piece. It’s scary, but it’s also really exciting to see other people’s response to the work.

What would you say to people afraid to share their creative talents?

Just give it a go! I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by other people’s responses and it can encourage you to keep doing more work.

Enter Our Competition with Disney Australia!

If hearing the stories of 3 successful artists left you as excited as it did us, remember to check out the competition over on our Instagram! Not only could you help shine a light on a friend’s untapped talent, you’ll also be in the running to win one of the 3 commissioned artworks by Bluethumb artists for Disney Australia!

You can check Bluethumb’s Terms and Conditions further info, or click here for the competition’s Ts & Cs.

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