Meet Australian aerial artist Simone Read, who creates stunning works of art centred around the Aussie coastline
What spurred you to focus on ocean pools as the subject for your artworks?
We were having breakfast in Byron Bay at the beach and a lovely friend, who swims in a lot of ocean pools, suggested I do a series of pools around NSW. I started looking at aerial views of them, and immediately feel in love! I love the serenity and rhythm of the ocean from above - there’s a quiet calm that I feel.
Do you live near the ocean?
I don’t live near the ocean, but it’s a place I feel so connected to. When I swim there, I lose myself in the noise and feeling of weightlessness. I actually live in a bush setting, which gives me the same relaxed, almost cathartic feeling.
Simone pictured at her home studio is a mum of two boys "I am passionate about my paintings and feel so supported by my family, enabling me to create and give me the time and encouragement to do so."
How long have you been an artist?
I have been producing all sorts of art for many, many years, however, in the past four years, I have been focusing on a particular style that I finally feel most comfortable with. My art has taken a leap in the right direction, and I am more passionate about this than ever before. Our boys, now teenagers, give me the time to create in my studio and I have been fortunate enough to work on commissions, exhibitions and have representation at a fabulous gallery in Sydney.
What is the process of getting those amazing shots?
Initially, I look at Google Earth for specific locations of the pools. I then research them further by either obtaining photographs or visiting them. My artistic practice is portrayed through the combination of inks, gouache and rock salts that are intriguingly used in a free and uncontrolled way; an organic connection to the natural space that I am painting. The distinct ‘Australian’ colours used become a meaningful treatment to the way I highlight the absolute beauty of our ever-changing environment.
'Freshwater Ocean Pool' edition print by Simone Read
What inspires you creatively?
For my most recent series of ocean pools, it’s their shape and coexistence with the natural landscape that intrigues and inspires me creatively. No matter how crowded the pools and beaches may be, there is a natural power that seems to omit the noise that surrounds you and you feel as though a quiet calm overrides everything. I usually take about three weeks to produce each painting, depending on size. My process of layering inks takes some time to dry between each veil of colour to create the depth. Then the fine detail of line is added which takes HOURS! But I love this stage - it sends my thoughts to another realm, and it is so relaxing; almost therapeutic. I have a studio at home which is filled with photos of my family - this also gives me the inspiration to keep creating.
Are there any other artists you particularly admire?
John Olsen is my ultimate inspiration - I love the way he looks at the Australian landscape from an aerial perspective and the whimsical lines and vibrancy of colour he uses to portray his journeys through this incredible space we share.
Simone's artistic practice is portrayed through the combination of inks, gouache and rock salts that are intriguingly used in a free and uncontrolled way.
Aside from your work, what keeps you busy and what are you passionate about?
My days are kept very full with being a Visual Arts teacher, Mum of two handsome boys, and wife. I am passionate about my paintings and feel so supported by my family, enabling me to create and give me the time and encouragement to do so. Although I am crazy busy, I’m very happy with my work/life balance and think it is so important to be conscious of this.
Stunning ariel edition print from Simone's original artwork 'Curl Curl Ocean Pool'
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