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Wynnum Fringe Artist Profile – Elisha Oatley Escreet

WynnumCentral had the chance to chat with Elisha recently. Here’s our short Q&A session with her…

So, tell us about your exhibit – Hues of Happy
Hues of Happy, affectionately named ‘Hue’, is a sculpture shaped like a large teddy bear standing nearly 1.7 metres tall. The idea is that Hue will grow during the Fringe with the help of festival goers, so he’s really more than a sculpture, he’s an interactive canvas-cum-sculpture.

People coming to the Fringe will be able to use recycled materials to create their own works of art that they will attach to the sculpture, but there’s a catch – they’ll need to wear a blindfold while in the creative process – something that I hope will remove fear of judgement and encourage mindfulness.

Intended as a symbol of childhood and innocence, ‘Hue’ reminds us to embrace our inner child and the whimsy and excitement of youth. By removing the element of sight, participants will be fully present with all other senses heightened and will be guided only by the smells and sounds around them, as well as textures of the materials.
All the art materials are sourced from Reverse Garbage and participants will be allowed to collect the materials they want to use first before putting on the blindfold.

Tell us a bit about your journey to becoming a visual artist
Although I originally studied acting and producing, I went over to the UK – to London – for three years and worked in marketing for British Airways. But all the way through my corporate career I was always drawn more towards the arts side of things. When I came back to Australia to work in arts administration I was faced with the choice of returning to full time work just after having my daughter (now 3) or focusing on my own art projects. I chose the latter.

Illustrating, doodling and sketching has always been how I practice mindfulness. While navigating the challenges of motherhood and corporate life, I found that I was lying to myself, pretending to be happy when if I had only taken a moment to check in with myself I would have found that I was exhausted, depressed and stuck on a hamster wheel I didn’t know how to get off! The birth of my daughter changed that and now, through ‘Hue’, I hope to remind people that taking a moment to be present can have long lasting effects on our mental health and happiness.

How did you get involved with the Fringe?
Ten years ago I used to work with Tom (Tom Oliver, founder of the Wynnum Fringe) in the box office at La Boite theatre in Kelvin Grove and we stayed in touch. When I heard he was organising the Wynnum Fringe I said ‘Can I please be a part?’ and here we are.

Where will people be able to find Hue?
Hue will be based in Edith Street and you’ll be able to find him as he will be in a bright yellow and purple spot with a decent amount of space around him.

What will happen to Hue after the Fringe?
I’d love to take Hue on tour and run an interactive experimental art project with him across Australia at all sorts of events and festivals.

Can we see any of your other work at the Fringe?
Yes – I will have some of my paintings on display at the Whiskey Bar Art Show.

Where to from here?
I’m also working on digital illustrations and producing a range of greetings cars, all incorporating a sustainability theme.

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