The Alchemy of SWC – The Art

A vintage interior featuring a vibrant Skye Llewellyn painting, horse skull, books and Southern Wild Co scented candle

If you follow the Southern Wild Co journey, you’ll know that visual art plays a crucial role in everything we do. In fact, it was an ‘A-ha!’ moment at the Art Gallery of NSW that sparked the humble beginnings of our brand.

Mesmerised by the golden light and colours of the landscapes depicted by the Australian Impressionists, the inspiration muse hit with the proposition – how amazing would it be to capture the scents of these scenes?

Three years on, and we’ve stayed true to our artistic roots. The birth of each new candle concept is strongly tied to a carefully selected art piece. Our Journal regularly features updates on the latest exhibitions, emerging artists, and art world resources, such as guides on starting an art collection or art-making ideas for kids. The Shedquarters is filled with all types of art, from anonymous op shop pieces bought for pocket change to the coveted originals we saved up for.

We can’t imagine a world without it, and we can’t get enough of it in our day.

 

A soft landscape by Natasha Daniloff rests on a vintage sideboard and quietly invokes the magical dusky haze of the Blue Mountains.

 

We are constantly hunting for artists’ interpretations of the Australian landscape, for our enjoyment and as a vital element of every SWC candle concept.

Written and visual expression combine in the creation of a scent story. We search for a harmonious pairing of poetry and visual arts, each informing the development of the candle in their own way. Whether it’s stunning photography or a showstopping oil painting, the artistic expression colours the experience.

The art sets the tone as the feature of our beautiful packaging. Just look at the happy exuberance of Llewellyn Skye’s piece that brought our Sunshine State to life, or the dark romance of Luisa Brimble’s Dutch Masters inspired photography heralding the heady evocative notes of Sirens.

 

Scented candles and a painting by Rowena Dean rest on a vintage sideboard.

Paint brushes

A postcard with an image by Norwegion artist Edvard Munch

 

Art-infused details abound in the Shedquarters. An artistic narrative flows over the space, from the roughened fringes of fat paintbrushes to the postcards of iconic works, casually propped against the thick spines of weighty art theory texts.

Swathes of luscious oil paint in moody, dramatic tones glisten on a large scale Paul Ryan painting hung by the front door. In contrast, a soft landscape by Natasha Daniloff rests on a shelf and quietly invokes the magical dusky haze of the Blue Mountains. That’s the beauty of art- it explores and entices the gamut of human emotions. Art has the power to shift the mood of a space and change an individual’s perspective.

 

Art found in an op shop or junk stores sit on a corrugated iron wall in a converted shearing shed

Vintage oil painting

 

Art found in an op shop or junk store is the most affordable art in the truest sense of the word. If you get your timing right, for a few measly dollars, you can scoop up a piece that speaks to you and fits into your home like it was created for it. Even better if you stumble across it during the hard rubbish clean up!

We look out for landscapes and still lifes when we hunt. Prints, originals, tapestries, textural sculptures and interesting ceramic objects. We keep our minds and eyes open, checking for signatures and dates, but always going with what we love.

We live in the hope that one day we will uncover a famous Hill End artist’s work priced at a pittance. Let it be known, however, if the Lotto numbers roll in our favour, we would rush out and purchase original pieces by some of our favourite artists – Emily Kame Kngwarreye, Margaret Olley, Joy Hester, Lloyd Rees, Luke Scibberas and Bill Henson... one day!

Southern Wild Co founder, Tania Robinson works on a charcoal landscape piece in her converted shearing shed

A glass candle jar with paintbrushesOil paints 

Observing the changing character of the landscape keeps us connected to nature, and documenting the scenery with charcoal, gauche, or pencil is the perfect way to stay in tune with the seasons.

Tiny nuances reveal themselves through the evolving light, colours, smells and textures, and it’s these elements that inform our creative process and provide ongoing inspiration for Southern Wild Co.

The easel is a fixture in the Shedquarters, as are well-thumbed sketchbooks and myriads of mark-making instruments. We’ve always loved the unrestrained, pure creativity of artist’s studios, where the mess of making can be as beautiful as the completed piece.

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Shop the range of art-inspired candles hereLearn more about one of our favourites, artist Lloyd Rees here.

 

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WORDS

Jessica Bellef

PHOTOGRAPHS

Sue Stubbs