Photo by James Robinson

melbourne’s rising art stars on inspiration, fear and the future

At the start of a brand new year, we catch up with the individuals defining Melbourne’s emerging art scene to discuss creative expression, political fears and where they plan to take their work in 2017.

by i-D Staff
24 January 2017, 3:40am

Photo by James Robinson

Jacob Coppedge, 21

What themes do you explore through your work?
I explore sexuality, identity and right now intimacy between men. I play on homoerotic visual representation, while intertwining them with internal thoughts that are led astray in one's mind. It's both a mixture of my life experience and my imagination in a light hearted manner.

Why focus so much of your work around the body?
I find the human form both enticing and raw. It can be misunderstood and interpreted in many ways visually.

What are your plans for 2017?
I'll be focusing on completing my first zine and hopefully a second solo show, but also just getting back on track with my practice.

What are you afraid of?


Photo by James Robinson

Ruth O'Leary, 26

Tell us about how you explore gender in your work?
People have the tendency to frame my work within feminism because I use my body and I have a vagina, but I am dubious of the feminist label in 2017. Feminism is in fashion and it has market value because it is profitable. Women's rights are more than an outfit to me. As a woman, the female form is the only form I really know, I have powerful feelings I can't repress and I have to project my emotions onto my work regardless of my gender.

Who are your biggest artistic inspirations?

What has been your favourite creation so far?
Painting my pussy with make up in art school.

What are your plans for 2017?
I am honoured to have been shortlisted for the BalletLab McMahon Contemporary Art Award (BMCAA) and am also very excited to be showing new work under the mentorship of Janet Burchill and Jennifer McCamley at c3 Gallery curated by Meredith Turnbull later this year. This year also marks my journey into motherhood as I gave birth two weeks ago to my first child, Apollo. I plan to be a good mother.


Photo by Umairah Murtaza

Kim Kim Kim, 24

Your portraiture examines the anxieties of young people. Why is this important to you?
Our generation is living in a very different environment from the past, with the accessibility of the Internet and social networks. It definitely affects our way of perceiving relationships with others or observing ourselves. It affects how we formulate our egos and access memories. I think this has made our generation more 'shallow and vulnerable'. As a theme I want to focus on the potential of anxiety as a result of these digital spaces, as a contributor to our inner conflicts.

What are your plans for 2017?
Paint as much I can and study English more.

What are you afraid of?
I'm the kind of person who lives day by day. But, Donald Trump bothers me.


Photo by James Robinson

James Prentice, 23

What first drew you to painting landscapes?
I've always painted things that I liked, that fascinated me, that I grappled with the understanding of, and that consumed me. Developing a better understanding why I like these things in the first place has given painting landscapes the gravity within my practice needed to prolong my curiosity.

What are your plans for 2017?
I have a new car and I'm setting it up to leave Melbourne indefinitely to go surfing, fishing and to hide myself behind the curve of the earth.

What are you looking forward to in 2017?
Independence, distance from obligation and solitude.

What is your best advice for other artists?
Go to art school, for so many reasons, but the depth and diversity of the art school platform and the way its embedded within the greater art community is incredible.  


Photo by James Robinson

Charlotte Aldis, 23

What themes do you explore in your work?
My art is influenced heavily by my dreams, but I usually try to instinctively make and not overthink. I paint the best when I am really emotional. I like to make things when I get obsessive about something and just go from there.

Who are your biggest artistic inspirations?
Kids, they're the best builders and makers and always will be.

What are your plans for 2017?
My loose plans are to have my first show, finish my psychology degree, learn a new craft and of course, get to the bottom of things. Buster my bulldog also turns four which is like always the biggest event of the year - everyone's invited by the way.

Who are your favourite emerging artists?
I always find this a challenging question, it's like, whose your favourite child? You can't pick. I think that any artist who is 'emerging' is great. Like, who even knows what is about to happen they just came out of their cocoon. If you're emerging out of anywhere, I can only imagine good things. Keep going.


Photo by James Robinson

Jordyn McGeachin, 22

Your illustration explores body image and self-love. Tell us a little more about that focus.
Body image has played a major part throughout my whole life and unfortunately still does. I didn't make a conscious decision to focus my work on these things, it kind of just happened. It mainly started for myself; I need to see more bodies like mine in art.

Tell us about art's role in social movements?
Art has already changed the future of feminism. Women and queer artists from the 60s and 70s pushed and pursued boundaries and if those things didn't happen I don't think art would be where it's at now for female artists today. The impact between the relationship of art and feminism is only going to continue to grow.

What do you dream about?
Just the cliché. Work and live in a giant studio, art is my career, my partner just happens to be an artist also so we're like an art power couple and then we break up and I spend my final years making work about heartache until I die. The dream.


Photo by Wave Lashish

Seala Lokolo Evans, 23

You're a multidisciplinary artist, but do you have a favourite medium?
At this moment I am in love with clay and its many possible transformations. It's a natural material from the earth. It is alive in my hands. It moves with me, it listens and so do I. It is a relationship, and that is where my sculptural work stems from.

Tell us about how you feel moving from 2016 into 2017.
I felt despair that the people who lead the majority ignore and reject facts about climate change. Something that is evolving so rapidly cannot be ignored. For 2017, I feel sadness regarding the future. There is always suffering and that is something to fear. But I will always pray for love

Describe the local art scene in one word.



Text Alex Manatakis

Jordyn McGeachin
charlotte aldis
jacob coppedge
james prentice
james robinson
kim kim kim
ruth o’leary
seala loko evans