Sydney-based artist and designer Dina Broadhurst specialises in mixed media prints that juxtaposes the world of fashion and luxury branding with contrasting and sometimes garish splashes of glitter, shapes, flowers and food.
The end result is beautiful prints that not only arrest the eyes but speak in depth about femininity and the exterior.
It’s the kind of work that makes a bold aesthetic statement but also allows the audience to apply their own meaning. Which is probably why it’s such a favourite of interior designers throughout Australia.
What’s also wonderful is her ability to create commercial collaborations (such as large-scale installations in Westfield Shopping Centres around Australia and most recently with skincare giant Ella Bache) that are crowd-pleasing but still feel authentic and uncompromising.
Something that all artists know is an incredibly challenging line to walk.
Here she shares what goes into creating a Dina Broadhurst print and what she hopes you see when you stare at one…
“A work always begins with a trigger that makes me want to stop whatever I’m doing and begin creating. A song, seeing a certain pattern of light hit something, a reflection, a colour that I can physically pick up and use such as a flower, a leaf, a piece of plastic, a shape, or a found image that prompts a feeling or a memory.
Sometimes I see 2 things at the same time, on the floor walking the streets, on my studio desk, on my computer screen, and I am compelled to instantly join them together to create a new visual. A meaning in my current state or at that point in time.
It’s then like a jigsaw puzzle to arrange, crop, edit, scale and compose a story to tell in a single image. Sometimes it takes many versions until I am happy and sometimes the frame is instantly the one.”
“I need to hide away daily to nourish myself even if what I create doesn’t end up working and gets deleted.
It’s like a meditation to me.
Like a daily expression and mental challenge/stimulation. Without it I would feel flat and my fingers would probably fall off from over tapping on a table or something (ha)!
As this time is also so reclusive it helps me to recharge myself to be able to face the world all over again as I’m really quite shy and take on a lot of emotion, by my own and others, and it can get overwhelming at times.
My own time and my own space is essential to me and such a pleasure. So then I can fully give back to others when I return to the real world.”
“My work is all about about being real and not hiding what’s inside. Don’t feel you have to be perfect but also don’t hide the fact that yes we can make ourselves a beautiful package on the outside but don’t do that at the expense of hiding what’s inside as well or changing for others. Be yourself as no one is like you.
“And everything has beauty.
Pain has beauty. Age has beauty.
The mundane has beauty.”
So yes luxury and perfection are desired but they are not the only forms of beauty and not the only things that create desire. Mostly it’s the complete opposite of perfection that creates desire.
So my works explore these themes of desire, of perfection, of protection, of beauty, and give them a little twist or a playfulness, creating mystery and juxtaposition.”
ON KNOWING WHEN TO STOP
“I favour simplicity and less is more. Colours, shapes and textures register with me subconsciously and it is only after the works are created that I see the patterns formed and the visual repetitions made without even realising.
So there is usually just one work that I know instantly is the one or if there is a shortlist of 2-3 I am very lucky to have amazing people around me in my family and my intimate relationship that have a great eye and also give me the decision of what to choose based on how others will view my work rather than myself.
It’s crazy as I could ask my partner, my son, and my mother individually and they will all make exactly the same choice on the final image.”
“I only ever create for me based on a feeling or a trigger in my life and my journey.
Nothing ever comes from trying to follow a formula. I do a lot of commission based works or collaborations to a brief where there is more structure or feedback or guidelines and this is definitely more of a challenge as I don’t just flow and it’s a stop start process so it definitely takes more time and concentration with a lot more communication.
However it’s nice to be pushed creatively and be able to share a journey and a vision together with a brand or a private client.”
“My recent work for Ella Bache was an absolute pleasure to collaborate with as they allowed me to stay true to my style and just go for it.
When the works are created digitally, I save a few steps and versions during the process and then the final edits and changes are made with the team.
Communication is utmost at this stage and we were all crystal clear on the vision, the themes and the message.
Jewels like diamonds were used to emphasise the brightening properties and the technology in the new range. Glitter was another element to create glow and sparkle, with fruits and florals in large scale highlighting the unique active ingredients of Neo Bright.
It was then about editing a collection of 3 works down that sat well together as a set and we were all exactly on the same page with our decisions and I am so thrilled with the results.”
ON ADVICE TO HER YOUNGER SELF
“You were right to never let others change your values and opinions. Stay true to you and those who accept you as you are will always be around you.”