Janine Daddo’s eyes are like black beads. Smart, shiny and intense. Revealing yet guarded. This Peninsula-based world renowned artist paints colour, emotion and organics – stories to lean on, learn from and enjoy in all their eccentricity and connectivity. Her ideas come thick and fast. They hitch a ride on her brush and give the thumbs up to an expansive and eclectic breadth of work that hangs in both private collections and public spaces throughout Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and beyond. She’s had sell-out shows in Sydney, Melbourne and Chicago.
I caught up with her over coffee and conversation about life, art and all the ‘wiggly’ things in between. Firmly planted within the Peninsula’s salted earth, Ms Daddo has no intention of leaving the coastal region she has called home for more than 19 years. She can’t. She’s hooked, line and ‘sinker-ed’ to her purpose-built backyard studio set in the salty scrub of Mount Martha where she creates colour infused, textured and layered work that celebrates her well lived life.
Her father once said, “You’ll be common if you get your ears pierced Janine”. Enjoy catching a glimpse of this ‘common’ Peninsula person’s world where art and life are intrinsically linked.
What do you think your Dad meant by being ‘common’?
(Much laughter) My dad was such a gentle soul. Very kind and funny. You see he was Scottish and had a real sense of humour. The idea that one thing would ultimately lead to another! You know, if you got your ears pierced, well then, you’d get a tattoo! And then the next step would be prostitution! (More laughter). It was all said tongue in cheek. He just meant stay as you are. Be yourself.
I began a Fine Art degree when I finished school. Dad was the one who suggested I transfer to graphic art. “What are you gonnna do with a Fine Art degree?” he said. I didn’t like it at the time, but looking back he was right. He understood what I needed to do.
You paint, sculpt and make jewellery amongst other expressive forms. How much work have you created?
I’ve never let it pass my lips, but it’s a lot! To give you an idea – I’ve got a solo show based on botanicals and losing self in surroundings coming up in August in Perth which will have 38 pieces in it. There’ll be a grove of 2m to 2.4m-high powdered coated steel trees. I hand-draw onto the steel which is then hand plasma cut, joined and welded. There’ll also be paintings.
My work has just been showed in Singapore (with Manyung Gallery) and I’m always creating outdoor installations and commissions. I’m about to launch a new project in September, which is a secret for now. I’m never not producing!
How does living on the Pen influence your work?
We lived on Frontage Way when we first moved to the Peninsula and had a boat shed on Mills Beach. Days were spent eating chicken rolls, swimming with the kids and getting together with friends. That’s also where we scattered my second son’s (Hudson) ashes. We moved to Gypsy Meadows in Stumpy Gully Road and lived on 20 acres of virgin bushland where the kids constructed tents while dressed in costumes and my daughter began horse riding. She’s now a professional dressage rider. I’m currently looking after my elderly mum as well. These experiences have made my work what it is. The pleasures of every day. Nature, love, loss.
What’s a typical day look like for Janine Daddo?
I’m up around 6.45am and like to be in the studio by 7.30/8am after being a bit domestic! I get into the studio and see if I still like what I was painting the day before. I usually work on two to three canvases at a time which I have prepared myself and are stretched by local Peninsula business Southern Buoy. I even get my paints delivered now! I paint until lunch time with my two dogs nearby. Check in with the (adult) kids - son Jak and daughter Arkie and work again until dinner time. More drawing and jotting down ideas after dinner.
So, you do have some time off! What do you do when you are at home on the Pen?
I visit some of the local wineries. Montalto is a favourite. I love the Mornington Main Street Wednesday market too. Sometimes I go to Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm or drop by Tully’s Corner Produce Store. There’s so much great local produce and it’s all so close. I love living local.
Follow this local artist on Facebook @JanineDaddoArt and Instagram @janinedaddo or log onto http://www.manyunggallery.com.au/Artist-Detail.cfm?ArtistsID=829 to view her work.
We should all be so ‘common’.