Hayley Scilini is a Wonder Woman.
We first encountered Hayley 18 months ago when she popped into our Brunswick studio. Instantly we fell for her striking work drawing inspiration from bold palettes and abstract shapes. Since that moment we’d been waiting for an opportunity to build something with Hayley and our Melbourne Central Pop-Up fit-out seemed just the project.
Hayley is a magnetic woman, very humble and unassuming in life and in her practice. We are so pleased with the results of our collaboration and caught up with Hayley is her studio to learn more about her influences, her relationship with architecture and how she came up with our gorgeous shop boards.
Your work is strongly influenced by colour, geometric shape and spatial obscurities. What moves you about these concepts and how do they inspire your art?
I love the quote from Georgia O'Keefe where she says "I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way -things I had no words for" -that pretty much sums it up. For me colour is about life, joy and playfulness and I've always had a thing for symmetry and visual order. In that way, abstraction is like a kind of language that just makes sense in my mind. In my work I try to use both these elements to create spatially ambiguous images -there's no clear foreground or background and the forms shift in and out. The colour plays help to emphasise these slippages.
Often your work and the space it’s displayed are fused as one. What do you look for in a space and how does it influence the final piece?
I like quirky architecture, something with an unexpected angle or corner that I can play on. It's always nice when as a viewer you can look at a work and then notice how it relates back to the space. My last painting installation was at a little gallery that had been converted from an old shop in Prahran. The front window was angled and cast a beautiful shadow across the wall. I was setting up on a particularly sunny afternoon and managed to match up some of the angles in my painting to the shadow on the wall so that at a certain time of the day they would be aligned. I really love those incidental interventions that are unique to each installation. I think there's always a relationship between an artwork and the space it's displayed in so I'll always choose to respond to it rather than ignore it.
You produced the totally radical boards on display in our Radical Yes! pop-up at Melbourne Central. Tell us a bit about the creative process behind the designs!
This really was a collaborative project with radical Brand Director Kerryn Moscicki. She had a vision for creating the display and visited my studio in Northcote. Together we mapped out a placement for the shelves that I could play on with my design. I also visited the Radical Yes! Pop Up several times and took inspiration from the new styles for palette reference. The design itself is based on a recent series of work called 'SUB/DIVIDE' that I developed from images of old works that were cut up and rearranged to create new compositions.
Tell us a bit about your background. How did you come to be the artist you are today?
I've always been into drawing since I was a kid and had a serious obsession with colouring in. (At school my friends and I used to make up our own colouring competitions!) I studied Textile Design straight out of High School and worked for a few years as a designer, but I found that I actually didn't really enjoy working in a structured design environment. I ended up quiting my job and going back to Art School in my mid twenties. My interest in pattern, colour and repetition still comes through in my current practice.
Tell us about your daily routine. Where do you predominately work and how does this influence your art?
My studio is in an old coverted Northcote warehouse that is shared with 4 other fabulous female artists. I love having other artists around for chats and advice. I don't really have a set routine but when I have free days for art I like to start things off quite slowly. I'll often potter about the house after brekky before heading to the studio. If I'm starting a new project I like to do a bit of a clean and re-organise of the studio when I first get there. I find it helps me to organise my thoughts and plan out my work. There's a lot of thinking involved. I call this 'invisible work'. Before I start any paintings I'll have a play with colour palettes, mix any new colours and try out combinations with commercial paint chips. When I'm painting I like to have 2 or 3 works on the go at once and I'll jump between them all through the day. Generally I'll head home just before dinner to chill out at home in the evening.
Tell us 3 things you always say YES to.
Roadtrips, Chocolate, Dinner out with friends.
What does being radical mean to you?
Being honest with yourself about what you want and going for it no matter how much your self-doubt tries to talk you out of it!