Alli Cullimore moved to Australia 12 years ago from the UK and quickly found and cultivated a talent and a passion for painting. She first picked up a brush as a way to cope with stress that was beginning to affect her health. As soon as she started, eight years ago now, she couldn’t stop. What began as a tool to help her calm down became a piece of her identity.
Alli states that it was all guesswork at first. The first painting she completed was done on a cheap canvas with cheap paint that she just picked up at a shop. But as soon as she started working, she fell in love. As for process, she never takes photographs for inspiration. Instead, Alli begins with pastel paints or chalk and draws part of the design. She then paints over it. As soon as she begins, the original design falls away. She says that getting the paint on the canvas leads her in a direction. As a result, texture is a huge part of her work – she actually starts with texture rather than a focus on colour.
Flowers came about while trying a new technique. Allie put dots of layered paint down and later decided, “Hey; that looks like a flower!” and just kept adding to the pattern. There are actually two paintings underneath the finished product that she was unhappy with – until Flowers bloomed.
Comet of Color is a photo manipulation of Flowers. Alli begins by taking a photograph of one of her original paintings and then loading the image into Paintshop Pro. She has a play to create prints. Occasionally Alli is happy within a few minutes of manipulating the image, but, more often, it can take a few weeks before she’s really satisfied with the work. And the results are always strikingly different from the originals. You can check out more of her Before & After Work (Original Art & Photo Manipulation) here.
Alli’s personal favorite piece, one of the first pieces she completed, is Scattered Mind. After selling a smaller version, Alli elected to keep the 20×40 inch version for herself. And who could blame her with a textured, cherry-blossom and cinnamon palette, and an awareness of space reminiscent of one of Cullimore’s greatest influences, Jackson Pollock, it’s no surprise that the artist is keeping this one to herself!
Like Orbital, a photo manipulation that appears as a spider from one angle and a lion’s head from another, Cullimore has two distinct professional lives. On the one hand, she’s a visual artist, but she identifies just as strongly as a bookkeeper. That admin part of her enjoys the business part of art that quite a few artists shy away from. Cullimore states that, “bookkeeping keeps my brain ticking over.” Doing all art, all of the time, wouldn’t be an ideal balance.
As far as advice for aspiring artists goes, Cullimore states, “don’t give up. Take the knock backs and use that to push yourself forward. Keep doing what you obviously love to do. If you truly believe in what you do, don’t stop!”
Check out Abstracts by Alli, Alli Cullimore’s incredible digital gallery, here.