Childhood Is Serious Business
I am a Canadian Australian artist from New South Wales. I live in a small north coast village with my rockstar husband and two sons. I paint at least five days a week unless I’m child wrangling or sneaking drinks from the band’s rider backstage. Painting keeps me sane, but not serious.
While looking through old family photos, I was most intrigued by the ones of my siblings and I captured playing, unaware of the camera.
This was one of the biggest inspirations for my art.
I source each sheet of plywood, sand it, prepare it and create a bespoke box frame for each piece.
After coming up with an idea that suits each piece of wood, the fun begins. Stories range from events of my childhood, fairy tales, vintage toys to countries I’ve travelled to. I’ve done a series about animals, some about words, and ones about children’s health. But I love how most people first look at them and just see bright and colourful paintings with a sense of fun. The backstory comes later.
I do a lot of commission work and it’s interesting to help clients create something meaningful. Often it’s about overcoming a difficult childhood and recreating the power of the child who survived into adulthood. I’ve painted children who survived sexual abuse, physical violence, and childhood illness. I’ve also painted people who have had great childhoods and want to celebrate and reflect on that magical time.
I have a bunch of local children, including my own who I use as models. I love the kids with a lot of personality who are often difficult to raise, but their strength of character really appeals to me. My two favorite muses at the moment are a firey little redhead and a young transgender girl. I also always love painting my son who reminds me of my brother when he was a kid.
My work has a cast of children whose stance and attitude is full of the bravado, nonchalance and swagger of youth. It is very nostalgic and has a bit of a sense of humour. I see kids as these amazing creatures that are perfectly imperfect. Everyone seems to be in a rush to guide kids into adulthood and responsibility, but I’m happy if they want to hang out with a giant squirrel while wearing a Viking helmet and cowboy boots. I think childhood’s an amazing time and quite funny!
You can see more of my work at www.carmeldebreuil.com or find me on facebook at www.facebook.com/carmeldebreuilartist
More info: carmeldebreuil.com
The Night Lighters. Twins, night time and fireflies. What is more awesome?
Falling Leaves, Flying Feathers. In my childhood, I went to school on a Cree reservation. This painting is inspired by their culture, Canada and my father who passed away.
Ardilla and the Acorn Eater. I was inspired by the fact that Australians have a hard time pronouncing the word squirrel.
Ride an Angry Pig. Kids on pigs make me smile.
I Have Wings to Fly. I travelled to Mexico and saw the works of Diego and Frida. Inspiring.
Strut Your Stuff. I took one of my favourite muses and put her in a situation children around the world still have to deal with.
Red Goes Faster. My grandmother had polio and this painting is about her story.
Kat and Maus. When you pretend you are a cat you need a mouse friend.
Who Goes There? Meeting the Thuringer dolls. Did no one think these were a bit terrifying?
Playing with my sister and cousin. So serious!
One Trick Pony. The transition for girls. She loves horses but boys are kinda interesting too.
Singing in the Dead of Night. I love kids on oversized animals with big bold coloured backgrounds.
Mademoiselle Poulet. When the broomstick becomes a giant chicken you get this.
One Fish, Two Fish. It’s all about the attitude. I have this tattooed on my arm.
Alice and Cat. Puff puff puff said the Cheshire cat.
Louder Than a Fire. I experimented with this one including setting it alight.
What a Hoot! My son was my first muse.
Temptation. This was inspired by the books of Narnia.
I love multiples and bright colours.
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