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Fresh Faces: Camille Olsen-Ormandy

At just 18, Camille Olsen-Ormandy is well on the way to establishing a path that’s well and truly her own. With Stephen Ormandy and Louise Olsen of Dinosaur Designs as parents, it comes as little surprise that Camille has chosen a life of art.

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Camille works primarily in portraiture, and if her rapidly-growing Instagram is anything to go by, it’s a myriad of faces that constantly provide this artist with fresh inspiration.

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There is a distinct quirkiness and naivety to Camille’s work that is compelling. Her portraits capture something real and untold about her subjects; joy, sadness, confidence and strength all come alive on canvas through vivid colours and a skillful use of tone. Camille’s work evokes the emotion of glimpsing behind a face and into a soul, which is ultimately what good portraiture is about; the capacity to recognise ourselves – our own hopes, dreams, failures – in the faces of others.

With her studies at UNSW Art and Design just beginning and the commissions already flying in, this young talent is certainly one to watch. We recently caught up with Camille to talk faces, fashion and Vincent Van Gogh. Here’s what she had to say.

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Clearly, a love of art and design runs in your blood! How did you personally fall in love with art?

I have always lived in a world full of art and creativity. As an observant child, I saw my own parent’s contagious love and passion for art and seeing their drive and excitement sparked my own fascination.

 

How have you developed your own unique style?

I have always been very much inspired by my family’s work, but my parents never sat me down and told me to paint! That was something I taught myself through practice, which has now evolved into what I showcase today. However, a link that I can make with my family’s work (both my parents and grandfather), is colour relationships and the importance of the colour conversation, which is what my dad would call it. Even my art classes down at Bondi Beach which I’ve attended for more than eight years never set any rules. There were no wrongs, only happy accidents, it was a true creative free-for-all.

 

What drew you to portraiture as a mode of expression?

Portraiture is something that everyone can relate to. Everyone has a face and I believe we see faces in the objects found in our everyday. My expression with portraiture is a direct reflection of myself. My use of bright colours, quirky faces and outfits mirror my own creative outlook. Some people have told me that they can see elements of my face within my portraits, that in some way I am adding myself subconsciously, which I find very interesting.

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How do you decide who you’ll paint next?

I usually look to Instagram for inspiration, scrolling through photographers I either follow or find on my Explore feed. I never know exactly who I am going to paint, but when I see a face that interests me in any way, I instinctively feel that this subject will translate well into paint.

 

We see you’re a bit of a traveller! What has been your favourite place in the world to visit so far?

My absolute favourite places would have to be both New York and Tokyo! I have been very lucky to be able to travel to these places many times in my life and this has shaped the way I view the world.

 

Where is next on your list?

This year I started to really have fun and play with fashion. So, I would love to go to Korea where there are so many independent young designers creating such unique and innovative styles.

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What music have you been listening to lately?

Music is very important to my creative practice. I always have music playing while painting, hence I’ve been through many genres this past year! My most recent discovery is Lo-fi Hip Hop, it produces a chilled vibe which is great to listen to while painting.

 

If you could have three artists, living or dead, over for dinner, who would they be?

Only three?! I would definitely say Vincent Van Gogh, he would have so many interesting stories and insights to share about his own creative practice and history. Secondly, I would invite Ai Weiwei, I admire his drive and persistence to create the art that he wants to create, regardless of the restrictions he has faced. And finally, I would invite Rembrandt. I would love to learn more about portraiture and his own techniques in approaching faces.

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Portraiture is something that everyone can relate to. Everyone has a face and I believe we see faces in the objects found in our everyday – Camille Olsen-Ormandy

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If you weren’t an artist, you’d be…

An actress. I have always had a love for acting and performing. I studied at NIDA for four years during high school and have appeared on TV shows as an extra.

 

What’s next?

I never really know what’s next, at this point in time I take it as it comes, accepting any new opportunities to open my horizons within the art world. There is a possible opportunity to have my own art exhibition in the next couple of years and while I am at art school I’m taking all the opportunities I can.

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You can see Camille’s latest work on her Instagram: @camilleormandy

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