Painting the Secret Garden - 'Chromaoasis'
In August 2021, amongst the thick of lockdowns, QT Melbourne commissioned me to paint the Secret Garden. Melbourne wasn’t the regular bustling city that I knew, and it was a strange experience to enter a hotel that was essentially empty of people.
The Secret Garden was on the rooftop of the hotel. A number of walls were to be painted to create a vibrant cohesive space. With multiple ladders in place, I began building layers on the walls. This time, painting a mural had its extra challenge of managing morning sickness and a little baby bump. In a way, this may have helped me power through to get it done within the small window of sunny weather in the middle of winter.
At the end of each long day I would retire to my room across from the rooftop, and soak for hours in the bath, watching tv insitu or gazing down Russel street, and planning the next day’s moves. It was quiet luxury and time on my own that was rare, but the focus of painting such a large work never really leaves you to rest until the project is complete. Afterwards this I would catch the lift down to the fine dining restaurant on level one in my ugg boots (empty hotel) and eat a delicious meal prepared for me by the chef during the day. It all felt a bit like ‘The Shining,’ but in a good way. The surrealness of the whole situation was most apparent at night.
Being the only person sleeping in a hotel that has 100’s of rooms was probably one of the oddest experiences of my life. Being an artist really does take you to some strange places. Coming back to QT months up the track I am happy to see it alive with people again, and life returning to a new norm, and to know that my work is part of that regeneration is what drives me and my practice.