What’s the approach that you take to arranging and crafting objects for your home? How do you like to put things together, Melinda?
I’m not an interior decorator or designer. I feel a bit naïve on that front. But I really like over the top Victorian parlours, and I have an overall idea in mind of what I want a room to look like. That basically involves the reds, the timber and the old pub style look. I’ve established this over many years. Then there’s the day-to-day aspect. From a daily view, I ask “What do I need to do?” It’s changed from last week to this week. I decided I didn’t have enough light in that corner, so I stacked things more over there, and moved the lampshade over. I just try stuff. I move things around to see what works where. Things find their place. Then there’s the practical side, like “What do I need this space for?” It has to work.
I grew up watching old Westerns with my Dad, and I always loved the old saloon scenes, where people crashed through those swinging double doors. Then it opens up to this huge room, with the huge bar with the huge mirror behind it, and girls in fantastic dresses. It’s red, it’s timber and it’s over-the-top. That’s the feel, so that’s what’s always in the back of my head.
The books I came across while working in the library for years, at RMIT in Swanston Street, Melbourne. The library building itself was an old 70s or 80s building, totally devoid of any thought having gone into it, as to how it looked. But just working there every day, I kept my sanity by looking at all the books during my breaks. There were a lot of interior decorating books from all over the world. They were the best books. I was constantly scouring them to see what makes things work.
I love paintings where the colours have been put together in a certain way, and I like looking at other people’s homes. I went to a woman’s house recently, where you walk in and she had a green wall, and a red kitchen, then a purple room and a turquoise shed, and everything was like that. She had lots of art work all over the place, mosaic tiling everywhere and she is one of those people who collect anything and everything. She had a sunken bath in an incredible garden and amazing sculptures in all sorts of places. People who do over-the-top stuff like that inspire me.
Always! Ever since I was a little girl. One thing that’s always stuck in my mind: At Easter time you get the little Red Tulip eggs in the red foil with white polka dots and the green dash in the middle. When I was ten, I held one in my hands and just stared at it for ages thinking ‘I want life to be like this wrapper’. It was so 'happy looking' and embodied all those emotions and it just felt right. So I’ve always been like that. Maybe I’ve never grown up.
It amazes me that people spend a whole lot of money on Weddings, and decorating a space for just that one day to get it looking right and have every thing perfect. They spend $20,000 all at once, and then nothing the rest of the time… But it’s not just about the money. It’s the idea people have of “Well I’ve had my big day, so I don’t have to have any more big days. That's it. Now we have to save for this and that.”
Yeah. See, I like decorations. It can be Christmas hangings, tinsel, lanterns and all sorts of things. I feel like every day should be like Christmas. I went to Thailand a few years ago, and I saw all those Buddhist shrines and gold painted pergodas, with so much detail. I also like Hindi things and I mix them all up. I think my aesthetics are Eastern in some ways, but also European as well, in that ornate, over-the-top sort of way.
I remember my Mum coming over and looking around, and saying “Well for someone who doesn’t like religion you sure have a lot of religious stuff everywhere!” About a million years ago I went to Europe and saw all the regal excesses they were able to afford and the lushness of it. They’d have whole rooms in palaces dedicated to themes, like the Porcelein Room, the Gold Room, the Red Velvet Room, the Oriental Room. It’s so lavish.
I know some people can’t take it. They come in and go “Oh, that is too much clutter, too much stuff,” but I think having lots of little things reminds you of the special moments in your life. There’s all those memories connected to these things. And everyone has their own style, even if they think they don’t. My partner is very black and white. He thinks that’s not a style, but it is a definite style – Just a different style to mine. I love my red velvet and red walls and flowers and that’s in my artwork too. There’s a continuity in all of that. I find that the more I let myself be myself, the better it is.
Melinda’s work has been exhibited widely over the past twenty years around Victoria and Australia. She’s had six solo shows and participated in various competitions and contributed to many group shows.
Melinda has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. Her latest exhibition, There’s more to life than silver and gold, has just ended at The Unicorn Gallery, Ballarat. In 2013 Melinda had a solo show, Ballarat Baroque, at the Backspace Gallery. In 2012 she worked on two of the Traffic Signal Boxes for the City of Ballarat as well as the huge public mural upstairs at the Ballarat Safeway Carpark. In the past, she’s also managed her own Collectibles Stall at the Ballarat Mill Markets.
Melinda takes private commissions and can be contacted via email: Melinda.firstname.lastname@example.org