RESIDENT ARTIST #1: BELLA REBOUL

Welcome to the mind of Bella Reboul - our first resident artist for 2017. Having only been illustrating using her signature stippling technique for 6 months, Bella's humble creative concepts express an air of quality and compassionate creativity well beyond her years. We're very excited to welcome her into The Culprit Club for our one month residency program to continue creating her latest body of work, Exodus.

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How would you describe your style in one sentence?
I would describe my style as stippling or dot-work based illustration. 

Tell us about the body of work you’re creating throughout your Culprit Club residency?
During my time at The Culprit Club I will be creating a body of work called Exodus which portrays extinct or critically endangered animals. Exodus mainly consists of portraits of these animals based on natural history drawings and aims to bring to light the mass biodiversity loss that we have been experiencing in recent times. I do not try and place blame for these extinctions in my work, by rather try to encourage my viewers to understand the significance of the loss of these creatures. 

What inspired you to make this your creative focus?
My focus on animals is born of my innate curiosity regarding the natural world. It is mainly as a result of my zoology studies that Exodus came about, as I think understanding an animal's adaptations such as behaviour and physiology makes it that much more enticing to draw. Australian creatures are particularly interesting to me purely from a scientific and evolutionary perspective as the isolation of Australia from other land masses resulted in a number of unique species lineages that will become totally extinct if not protected. 

How long have you been illustrating?
I have been illustrating using stippling for about 6 months. 

How/where did your interest in art begin?
I have always been interested in art and cannot remember an age where I was not drawing or painting to some extent, but it wasn't until about year 10 that I realised how important art was to me. I was fortunate to have incredible art teachers in high school who took a very contemporary approach to art education and that opened my eyes to modern art. 

Who're you favourite artists, and why?
I have always been fascinated by the works of Patricia Piccinini, despite working more as a sculptural artist. Her grotesque, organic forms have always intrigued me and I love the interactions she creates between the children and creatures in her work. It is from her that I have learnt that I do not necessarily have to accuse or blame my audience for anything but can rather present them with material and an issue (for me mass extinction, for her usually genetic modification) and let them form their own opinion on the subject. More pertinent to my body of work are the works of Walton Ford, which I find to be an almost paradoxical mix between natural history illustrations and surrealism. 

If we were to trawl through your backpack, what would we find?
My backpack always contains a sketchbook and pencil case, both things I can never go without! I don't like clutter, so I usually only really have necessities like my purse, sunglasses and earphones, but often I keep leftover brochures from galleries I've visited and unnecessarily old receipts.

Do you think Brisbane has enough initiatives to offer local artists?
I think Brisbane has some wonderful initiatives for local artists but they can be very difficult to find. When I was 15 I painted a traffic signal box in the Valley/Newstead through a Brisbane City Council art initiative called Artforce which is still in place today. Visible Ink is also an amazing space in the Valley provided by the Council for artists to use for free to rehearse or create. I entered the art scene through a collective called Primary Arcade and later TBC. My only 'criticism' is that unless you know the right people I think these events and groups can often be difficult to find. 

Where can people find more of your work?
On instagram @bellareboul

If you're interested in applying for an artist residency for 2017, click here for application information.