'Calm Down Baby' by Llewellyn Skye is a continuation of her obsession and exploration of floral abstraction. While bringing this exhibition together, Skye has surrounded herself with sugary pinks, neon, musk sticks and marshmallows, turmeric and pepper, earthy lavenders, deep midnight blues, and of course, her beloved floral collection.
A complete sensory overload, these objects have provided the inspiration behind this collection of artwork, referencing her becoming more aware of her senses via her recent ADHD diagnosis.
Inviting us to come on a journey, Skye celebrates the positive qualities of neurodiversity, such as imagination, enthusiasm, humour and hyperfocus. Her endless energy and zest for life provide us with a view into her beautiful, fun and exciting world of neon and vibrantly rich abstract florals.
Your collection has come together beautifully, is there one piece in particular that stands out to you and why?
Yes, absolutely…and I almost kept it. Let’s Paint The House Pink was painted after a confronting morning fuelled with emotion. Whenever I paint in that mood it always ends up a fast, raw painting, which gives it an energy that is different to a painting that is made without it.
What do you hope people will feel or take away when experiencing your work, particularly this exhibition?
I hope they are inspired to be themselves, accept imperfections and look on the bright side of life.
What can you share about your creative process and how you go about starting a new body of work?
My favourite thing to do is work towards an exhibition. Having a strong theme and concept behind a body of work gives me direction, motivation and something to obsess about for a few months. It really gets me excited about the work.
Can you explain how you came up with the idea to create collections of paintings representing each word in your exhibition name, ‘Calm Down Baby’?
Calm Down Baby became a private mantra to me in preparing for this exhibition. I always get way too enthusiastic and overexcited about new ideas, but that’s part of me being me and I love it. At times I have to remind myself to calm down…but then I get excited all over again! This body of work is about that energy build-up, from being calm and centred to absolutely bursting with excitement and energy, celebrating this and all of the beautiful crazy moments in between.
Although the colours and themes flow through all three collections, I approached them with three different intentions.
Beginning with Calm, I wanted to reflect the quite and more mindful moments. Inspired by lavenders, midnight blues, natives and earthy florals, I focused on solid shapes and colour, mixed with soft muted tones.
Moving into Down, I reflected on the moodier, spicier moments, when energy is rising and emotions are running high. They include spicy colour references and more movement and energy. Rich spices, peppers and sultry florals were inspirations for these works.
Finishing with Baby, a total explosion of energy and excitement that displays the ‘pumped to be here’ moments and the ‘let’s have lots of sugar and party for days’ kind of abandon. These works are absolutely full of movement and energy, inspired by neon, sugary lollies, shiny things and my collection of colourful flirty florals.
Using your art as a way of exploring the complexities of neurodivergence feels really fresh and unique. How has your recent ADHD diagnosis changed how you perceive and create art?
It’s made me feel even more connected to myself and my work. It brought me that ‘ah-ha!’ moment, and the confidence to own all of the things that come with being neuro-divergent. Within my art practices, it’s allowed me to understand and embrace the hyper-focus that can be typical of an ADHD diagnosis. It can consume you…and painting and drawing have always done that to me. Now, I’m learning to harness this super power on a different level and channel that energy into my work but with more observation and intention than ever before.
What's next for you?
Spending some time on the business side of things with a new website and potential plans for a four-day workshop in Italy, which is super exciting.
Painting of course, for each of my galleries’ Christmas/Summer group exhibitions…there’s so much to be excited about! I’m also looking forward to spending some time with my kids and family over the Summer holidays.