CHLOE - Clumsy Hands


Clumsy Hands (or as her family calls her, Chloe) is an illustrator and muralist. She doesn’t fully remember where the stage name Clumsy Hands came from, but she is in far too deep now to change it.  Within her work, Chloe loves to create diverse characters and intricate worlds filled with colour, florals, warmth and a hint of cheekiness. She regularly explores topics of feminism, diversity, pop culture and where to find the best flat white. 

How do you typically find inspiration for your work?

The people I have met! So many of my characters are based on the beautiful people I have been lucky enough to meet during my life. When I draw a character, I have a narrative in my head about who they might be, what they might like, what they might not like etc. It helps me create little specialities about the character within their appearance like their clothing or style. 

What has influenced your personal artistic style?

So many experiences and environments, the biggest being where I grew up. I am from a small hippy town nestled in the Dandenong Ranges. It is a very colourful community surrounded by unique wildlife, bushland and incredible characters. Like our local wizard who would wear a different extravagantly coloured outfit every day, sit outside the local coffee shop, and chat with everyone who walked past. When I lived in London and I was homesick, I revisited a lot of my memories of growing up in such a colourful, earthy community when drawing. My time living in London was also pivotal in developing my style, I finally got the confidence I always wished for myself and found an incredible creative community that encouraged me to express the boldest version of myself. I think an artist’s style is just a collection of cultural and social influences during our formative years that we channel through a brush or pencil. 

What does ‘The Future’s Our Creation’ mean to you?

To stay curious! To create the future we want, I think it’s vital to stay curious. Curiosity might have killed the cat, but it makes humans more empathetic, knowledgeable and, as an added bonus, an all around better Hinge date. Whether it's learning new skills, meeting new people from all walks of life or educating ourselves on the past, regardless of who we are and our generation, we need to stay curious so we can be more empathetic and have a greater understanding towards people and the things impacting their lives. 

Were there any specific design choices or artistic elements that you felt really got the message across?

I wanted to represent people from all walks of life taking the initiative to educate themselves and learn new things that potentially defy societal expectations of them. But especially people from different age groups. Dolly Alderton once said "Life is a 3 Act play". Society is so wrong to make us feel that as the curtains draw on Act 1 in our lifespan, our value begins to decline as if we have learnt everything we will need for Acts 2 and 3. When in reality, if we are fortunate enough to live through the entirety of the 3 Acts, we have so much time and endless opportunities to learn, evolve and build a diverse community around the new versions of ourselves. Growing our value in ways unique to us, and making a better future for the next generations. There is no scientific ruling that says our brain stops learning after a certain age. 

I hope if I am lucky enough to make it to Act 3 of my life, I will be as curious as I am today. I envision myself having finally dyed my hair pink and learning a new skill, like playing the drums or speaking Italian. Because I seriously think this is when I will be at my most valuable, empathetic and hottest self - when I am overflowing with knowledge and experiences, and have a treasure trove of fascinating people around me from all walks of life.

Do you have any advice for someone wanting to pursue a career in art?

Work really hard (really really hard) on your skills and craft, learn as much as you can from others and reach out to chat with artists you admire. The Australian creative community is incredibly supportive and welcoming, so tap into it! What’s the worst that can happen?

Do the same with dream clients and galleries - even if they don’t have opportunities for you right now, it’s always great to get your name out there for something that may arise in the future! 

My biggest recent learning is not to pour all your focus into social media or making money. If you work hard on your passion projects, all that will come by itself. London-based artist Mr Bingo said “You don’t always get rewarded for hard work straight away." I think that’s so true, if you're only doing it to chase money and approval, maybe take a step back and rethink your goals. What do you actually care about gaining from your efforts?

How do you want people to feel after viewing your art?

I would love people to look at it and feel a sense of warmth and happiness. If it inspires one person to learn something, talk to someone new or have a more positive outlook on their future, I’d be chuffed. 




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