news direct from the industry

Bookmark and Share

Artist builds Small Island

Source: The West Australian

One of Australia's most prolific and exciting artists, Perth-based Kyle Hughes-Odgers has exhibited his work on everything from the sides of multi-storey buildings to pillows.

 

For almost a decade, the 33-year-old artist has had his artwork and public art exhibited extensively throughout Australia and overseas, with exhibitions in Amsterdam, Brooklyn, Miami, Singapore, Melbourne and the Pilbara. 


Hughes-Odgers' work spans all forms and media, including the illustration of children's books. In 2012 he collaborated with author Meg McKinlay, illustrating the award-winning book Ten Tiny Things (Fremantle Press). So when the opportunity arose to write and illustrate his own book, the artist didn't hesitate. "I've always wanted to work on my own children's books," he says.


The result is On a Small Island, a dazzling, irresistible production, just like the idea formed by the book's main character Ari, who longs to have interesting friends. Ari lives on a small island surrounded by a gigantic sea. He longs to see exciting things and have large ships visit, so he begins to work on his "dazzling" idea.

"I was interested in creating a book that was celebrating resourcefulness and the idea of being excited about where you live and what you have," Hughes-Odgers says. "In theory, by doing this you contribute and help strengthen your community."


The artwork alone gives the reader room for personal interpretation: the artist doesn't believe in spoonfeeding. "The book does have some clear messages but I think artwork that is successful has unspoken elements and details that add to a story without ever being mentioned in the text."


Hughes-Odgers' imagery is intended "to spark imagination and help the reader find their own path."


The artist recently finished a major project at Perth Airport. It covers nine walls across 80mx6m, and took 22 days to complete. Creating art for such an intimate medium as a book was certainly a change in direction.


"The creative process is different," he admits. "I enjoy both. Painting large-scale buildings is very physical and has unexpected variables like weather, and windows in walls and so on." By contrast, illustrating books is very focused and controlled. "It's a great format for exploring more subtle details."


Hughes-Odgers is working on his next book. "But it's top secret for now!"


On a Small Island is published by Fremantle Press ($25).

 

Send us your ARTiculate news  

ARTiculate news is:

  • listed on the Foyer website Monday-Friday
  • ciruclated to the Foyer Crowd via email every Thursday
  • promoted through our social media channels