Artist Spotlight #72: Janine Dello

Artist Photo
Janine Dello

The capricious and complex nature of emotions of are skilfully captured in Janine Dello’s colourful portraits of women. In our latest spotlight, Janine tells us about her future exhibitions, and what she would like to see in the Adelaide art scene.

Q: Hi Janine! Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

A: I am an Adelaide-based emerging artist. I have had a passion for creating for as long as I can remember, drawing and doodling in school books when I should have been writing down math problems. This passion never went away and I decided to study visual art at a later age, receiving a Bachelor of Visual Art from Adelaide Central School of Art in 2016, which proves it is never too late to follow your passion!

The Strawberry Pink Scarf, oil on board, 76 x 102cm

Q: Who inspires you? What inspires your art?

A: My recent work has explored themes relating to contemporary female identity, the ambiguities of feminism, and femininity and western society’s ‘me’ culture.

I draw inspiration from a variety of areas; from film, music, and the fashion world, to personal experience. I know I am part of the consumer culture that I comment on, having been obsessed with fashion media for as long as I can remember. All this gorgeousness on the top, but underneath it all is dark and needs fixing – in the way women view themselves. This is why I want to look beyond the eternal pursuit for beauty and embrace female weaknesses and vulnerabilities, not just strengths. I think for females, consumption of fashion and beauty in all its guises is a messy business. The very thing that we desire is that which causes so much anxiety!

Q: Do you have a preferred medium?

A: My preferred medium is oil paint and I use either linen or canvas supports.

You are the Best Part of Me, oil on linen, 56x66cm

Q: How would you describe your style?

A: Somewhere in the space between the provocative and the humorous, with deeper underlying meanings. I paint portraits of females, but not just what is on the aesthetic surface; I try to capture expressions, emotions, and the internal dialogue that you can imagine is happening. My painting style is realistic but stylised, and I love intense colours and experimenting with incorporating different painting techniques.

Q: Can you please describe your artistic and creative process i.e.: from lingering idea to putting it into practice?

A: I have far too many ideas than I could ever put into practice. Being an insomniac, ideas swirl around in my over-active mind in the small hours of the night, and I tend to do a lot of sketching and note-taking. In the morning, the idea is either still great or it’s a dud!

I use my own photographs as the basis for my painting compositions, sometimes adding fantasy elements or a touch of dark humour. The hardest part is finding willing subjects to participate in some crazy photo-shoots with me, as women can be quite nervous because having your photo taken plays on your insecurities. Luckily this just adds to the narratives I try to portray.

Wish List1
Wish List, oil on linen, 84x76cm

Q: Where do you see your art practice taking you in the next five years?

A: I am looking forward to producing and exhibiting more artwork here in Adelaide, and also interstate and strive to develop and improve as an artist. I love figurative painting and will continue to explore contemporary issues in my art practice through this genre.

Q: If you could recommend one artist, who would it be?

A: I love so many that it is hard to pick just one favourite! But I can’t go past the amazing work of Lisa Yuskavage. Her work isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. Bold, brave, and layered in meaning, her depiction of the female figure is full of contradictions; beautiful and vulgar, serious yet playful. In my opinion, she is a master of painting technique. Her use of colour and the way she captures light are incredible.

Makes my Lips Pop, oil on linen, 60x60cm

Q: What is your favourite gallery?

A: That inspiring and addictive gallery called the internet! Every work of art is at your fingertips for viewing any time of the day or night.

Q: Where can we find more of your work?

A: I am currently working towards new pieces for a SALA group exhibition and will also be part of an all-female exhibition in Sydney titled ‘Praise You’, supporting the Butterfly Foundation for Eating Disorders, during ‘Love Your Body Week’ in September. At present, I am painting a portrait of the inspirational athlete Jess Trengove, which will be revealed at the Loreto SpringART Star Portrait event in September. I have a work-in-progress website and regularly post progress shots on Instagram.

Pink Powers Up, oil on linen, 61x76cm

Q: What would you change about the Adelaide art scene?

A: This is a tough question. Adelaide is a small city and doesn’t have the patronage of art lovers like Sydney or Melbourne. For a culture-loving city though – we have festivals galore – I feel the audience for visual artists’ exhibitions is too thin. There are many venues doing great work on behalf of emerging artists, but to sustain these existing spaces I’d love to see a wider variety of people to come out and support the local art scene.

– Masya Zabidi

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