Sunday, 17 February 2013

profile artist - renee treml.

artist renee treml photo bevan tessendorf
You can tell artist Renee Treml adores animals. After moving to Australia from the USA six years ago it was while volunteering at a wildlife hospital that Renee fell in love with our native critters and birds and ever since she has captured their form and frivolity using a method called scratchboard. Using a board coated with a thin layer of white clay, overlaid with black, she carefully carves fine lines to create intricate details which depict her favourite wildlife, from wombats and twany frog mouth owls, to bilbies and barn owls. Indescribably cute, you can't help falling in love with each and everyone of Renee's works, as the expressions she captures just makes the animals seem so real.
Also turning her talents to beautiful children's books, One Very Tired Wombat was published by Random House last year, and her second book Colour for Curlews is due out later this year. I can't express just how much I love Renee's work, as she truly captures the beauty, charm and personality of Australian wildlife. If you can't have a wombat or an owl in your backyard I think one of Renee's artworks is surely the next best thing!
You can find Renee's work at a range of stockists including Udessi who kindly supplied all the lovely photos.

How would you describe yourself?
observant, caring, creative, kind, clever.

What was your childhood dream?
Well, I had lots of dreams, but the longest held ones were to be a veterinarian and an artist.  Luckily I realized early on that I didn’t have the people-skills to deal with difficult pet owners.

What led you down your current path?
I spent several years going down a career path that I *didn’t love* and it led me to re-examine my life and start exploring ways to make a living doing what I love.

What do you love most about what you do?
I love it when a new idea becomes a tangible body of work.  I have lots of little sketches and bits of story ideas lying around that haven’t matured or developed into something cohesive yet.  I love that “ah ha” moment when everything comes into place and the artwork or story becomes alive. 

Where do feel most inspired?
Outside: sometimes just a long walk around the neighborhood or a visit to the zoo or forest can spark new ideas. Lately I have been finding inspiration for new stories when I am creating quirky explanations to answer my almost-3-yo-son’s relentless use of the question “why?”.

How do you manage to capture expressions so well when you illustrate animals?
When I volunteered for a wildlife hospital in the States, I was floored by how sassy or sweet or goofy little birds and owls and turtles could be. I guess I always just assumed those strong personalities we assigned animals only applied to domesticated ones. Ever since then, I have been trying to capture that personality on paper.

Who do you admire?
I really admire those who have found harmony being both a creative and a mom – it’s a tough balance. 

What challenges have you had to overcome?
Moving overseas, having a son in a new country away from our family, and recovering from the treatment for breast cancer.

What's been a 'pinch yourself' moment?
Definitely getting *the call* in 2011 from Random House that they were interested in publishing One Very Tired Wombat.  And that they are publishing my second book, Colour for Curlews. Oh, and now I have an awesome agent in the States who is representing my work to international publishers.  All great ‘pinch me’ moments and all were happening right on the tail end of my breast cancer treatment, so the timing was brilliant for getting me moving again.

How did the collaboration with ceramicist Kim Wallace come about?
Kim and I first met because of our art, so it makes perfect sense for us to create artwork together now that we are friends.  I think Kim has the most brilliant eye for design and I love working with her to create our new pieces.(That said, she is doing all the hard bits with the ceramics and experimenting with new techniques. I just do the illustrations and offer opinions when needed.)

What are your top creative resources?
I am very guilty of spending way too much time browsing and reading the selection of children’s picture books at the library and bookstore (and at anyone’s house).  The artwork is so incredible and varied – so inspirational.  I am also a big public radio fan (local and international) – I have been introduced to lots of new music I would have never found on my own.

What is your idea of happiness?
A healthy balance between my family and doing what I love, and living in a city where know I can put down roots.

What's next?
My second picture book, Colour for Curlews, will be released in September 2013.  Fingers crossed I can get a contract for my next book so I can keep on creating pictures books – I just love working on them.  I will continue participating in design markets and filling wholesale orders, hopefully create some new eco-inspired artwork this year.

When the weekend rolls around what do you love to:
Read – Peppermint Mag and fiction novels, as long as they aren’t about death or dying. Vampire or apocalypse caused fatalities are just fine.
Watch- A sci-fi movie or re-runs of Lost.
Cook- Mexican-themed vegetarian on the grill.
Create- Anything with my son,food, crafts, games.
Listen to- The Be Good Tanyas, Mumford and Sons, Neko Case.
Dream about- The house we’ll someday own with a native garden and perfect studio space.
Look forward to- Spending time with my husband and son.