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Behind the Canvas: Interview by Clique Magazine, November 2016.

Janine Dello is an Adelaide artist who focuses on figurative painting that depict personalities and emotions of females that evolves from her long obsession with fashion magazines and love-hate relationship with the fashion and beauty industries.

In the lead up to her graduate exhibition at Adelaide Central School of Art, we chat to Janine about her works and her plans for after graduating from her Bachelor of Visual Art this year.

When did you discover your love for art / artistic talent?

I have always had a passion for creating and always wanted to be an artist. It took me a while to get to Art School though, and now I am concentrating on the advantages of being a ‘mature-age’ emerging artist, having the luxury of being able to put all my time and energy into my art practice. I am about to complete a Bachelor of Visual Art at Adelaide Central School of Art.

We can see there is a consistent theme with females in your current works, is there a reason for this?

My current series of paintings explore the contradictory emotions relating to female consumption habits, focusing on the tension between female desire and the fashion consumer culture. This theme has evolved from my long obsession with fashion magazines and my love-hate relationship with the fashion and beauty industries. I have showcased women in sometimes absurd poses which comment on the pleasure and pain women endure in the name of being ‘in fashion’, but I also want to celebrate the imperfect, messy reality that is contemporary women’s lives.

Are the people in your pieces people you know or are they purely inspired by your imagination?

Yes, my subjects are all women I know. I was lucky they were willing to participate in some crazy photo-shoots with me – even though they didn’t know what I’d end up doing to their image! I use my own photographs as the basis for my painting compositions, adding surreal, unsettling elements to highlight the pleasure and anxiety that desiring, wanting and possessing provokes.

What are your preferred tools for your artistic style?

My preferred medium is oil paint and I use either linen or canvas supports. I love my new Canon DSLR too!

What inspires your unique approach to your pieces?

I am inspired by fantasy-like fashion imagery and anything weird and wonderful I see around me. In my artwork I incorporate different painting techniques to ‘disrupt’ the image and surface of the canvas, such as blurring, over-glazing, sanding and leaving some areas unfinished. These interventions and the cropped compositions are my way of saying “women are not perfect” and allude to the artifice of perfection and unattainable beauty.

How long would it take you to complete one of your works?

If I don’t include my photo-shoots, which take quite some time, each painting takes several weeks, as each ‘layer’ takes a while to dry before I can come back to the painting and add more layers and interventions.

Do you think you will always paint portrait style works of art? Have you ever had experimented with other styles?

Yes, I love figurative painting, depicting personalities and emotions. I used to paint abstract works years ago, but found I couldn’t push that style any further.  People are so complex and ever-changing and give me limitless inspiration.

Where do you hope your art to take you?

I will continue to explore female vulnerabilities and contemporary cultural concerns in my painting practice… and buy too many magazines and covet things I don’t need.

I hope to join or start up a shared artists’ studio space next year.  I am looking forward to producing and exhibiting more artwork and hope that viewers will connect with the theme that I am exploring.



Hear from Janine and some of her 2016 Bachelor of Visual Art Honours and Graduates in this short film of interviews by Sasha Grbich from the Adelaide Central School of Art.

View the Graduate exhibition catalogue here.