Isolde’s contribution to the Melbourne street art scene is in the form of one-off paste-ups!
And although they are infrequent due to slowness of technique, her portraits are much anticipated. When they do appear they are a delight to discover!
They are realistic renderings in either charcoal or pastel – sometimes which the addition of pencil or ink.
“My work is quite detailed and I need to take time with a piece. In doing so, I find that I develop a relationship with it. I love the connection and depth that this enables me to have with my work,” she said.
The peeps that she portrays have faces that are full of character – emotive and weathered. “They’ve led an interesting life and it’s this that I try to convey in their portraits.”
A recent hiatus for Isolde was due to what turned out to be an unsatisfactory move to rural Victoria.
“Lack of external motivation and interest caused my productivity to lose momentum. There were less opportunities for street art and I quickly discovered that I’m really a city girl,” she said.
“I’m a self-taught draftswoman. I just love drawing and dabbled a bit when I was at school. Although I’ve taken a few classes, it really comes from within. Time is also a precious commodity for me – juggling my art and raising a small child.”
As for Isolde’s alias, it derives from a love of Dali’s Tristan and Isolde painting and Wagner’s opera of the same name.
“It just came to me as a natural choice. And although it’s such a classical and feminine name, a lot of people mistakenly think I’m male. Is this a natural assumption because most street artists are male?”
“I started contributing to the local scene about three years ago but, due to my aforementioned slowness, it took a while for my art to gain recognition.”
“It was a portrait of Patrick White, pasted in Hosier Lane 2013. Just before the infamous Doyle’s controversial Baby Nursery Blue buffing took place, that focused a spotlight on my work.”
“I’m not as prolific as I’d like to be. If I get a piece up every two to three months, I think I’m doing well!”
Isolde is very accepting of the speed with which her works can disappear – through buffing or vandalism.
“I’ve tried to get around pasting-up originals but I like the immediacy and spontaneity of doing so. However, the downside is that when it’s destroyed, it’s the end of several months work!”
“Some may last a few days, others survive and mellow with age. It feels good to put something raw up and see how it evolves. Deterioration can have a beauty of it’s own – a bit torn and weathered imperfect.”
“My pasting technique can be a bit slapdash and once it’s done, the works are no longer mine. They belong to the street and all this entails. I totally disconnect and let go. I’ve learnt to accept this vulnerability!”
“A recent piece pasted in Fitzroy only lasted a day. It was disheartening as I felt I hadn’t had a chance to share it. However, if I didn’t accept this, I’d exhibit in a gallery!”
“Part of the thrill of putting it out there is never knowing the outcome and I do like the ever-evolving and changing nature of the street.”
A former New Zealander, Isolde’s initial motivation for settling in Melbourne was that of inspiration.
“I was blown away by the energy on the street. It was really visceral. It was something I hadn’t encountered at home or in my travels. The city and suburbs like Fitzroy, were outdoor galleries. It was so vibrant and something I wanted to be involved with.”
“It was also exhilarating to discover that one of my favourite artists, the American SWOON, had work in the CBD. Her paste-ups really resonated with me and were further motivation for my street art journey,” she said.
Isolde is a young woman with an abundance of natural talent and ability. Although her work has a long gestation period, like all good things-it’s worth the wait!
One for the diary is Isolde’s exhibition at Off The Kerb Gallery, Collingwood, March 3-17, 2017.