Georgie Seccull’s Art Installations Inspire “Growth into Fruition” Through Nature
Dabbling in salvaged and recycled materials to create three-dimensional masterpieces out of the forgotten things that surround us, is Melbourne based artist Georgie Seccull’s niche. Her background in advertising and copywriting, coupled with her unwavering knack for expression through art, made for an effortless transition to designing storefront window displays with a nature-seeking focus. Seccull gained momentum as store owners began to recognize the intrigue that came from her unique ability to advertise their product alongside her artwork— her recent “Garden Book” display at Corrie Perkin’s indie bookshop in Melbourne (which encouraged passersby’s to get excited about the new range of gardening books) is a perfect example of this.
Today the self-taught artist continues to challenge herself working in new mediums— there’s the permanent, long-living nature of her sculptures and the fleeting yet impressionable art of installation. Recently, Seccull created a wall of roaming butterflies for the Spring Racing Carnival at the Lexus Pavilion in Melbourne. This was her way of paying homage to the CEO’s mother, who loved butterflies and recently passed. “The design philosophy of the pavilion is the idea of “growth into fruition”, which takes guests on a sensory journey over 3 levels,” Seccull wrote me. “The installation I created is made up of several layers of butterfly wings, carved out of wood and brought together to create a visual journey of the beauty and diversity of the butterfly. It then has hundreds of micro paper butterflies coming out of it, leading guests up the staircase to the herb garden on the floor above.”
Seccull will launch her first solo exhibition at the Gasworks Arts Park next year. Garden Collage scored an interview with the resourceful artist and nature lover, to discuss where she gets her recycled materials, how road trips throughout Australia continue to inspire her, and of course: her most impressionable memory of gardening.
GC: Tell us about your first solo exhibit—
GS: Gasworks had a group organic sculpture exhibitions in April of this year that I was a part of, which was called “From Nature”. Artists were asked to respond to the provocation: “What would happen next if the energy and vitality of the park grew in self expression, so that new forms became apparent, DNA began to change, and evolve, and surprising structures of transient beauty were made to manifest?” Artists were asked to only use materials from nature. I absolutely loved this concept and created “Another Earth”, which won the People’s Choice Award and led to this solo show.
“My favorite tree is the banyan tree– I find them beautiful and absolutely fascinating, like I could lose myself in them. It’s also interesting to me that it’s a tree only because it has taken over another tree. It’s kind of showing the darker side of nature.”
It was through the process of sourcing and finding only organic materials to use that I discovered the amazing array of materials available to me from nature – such as acorns and cumquats and gumnuts, etc. So for the show in October, I used a lot of natural materials combined with salvaged wood, wire, and metal. I incorporating bones, skulls, and feathers that I have collected from all my road trips over the last few years. I’m exploring the ideas of life and birth, and how that may exist and look in other forms not from this world.
GC: When did you first begin using salvaged and recycled materials?
GS: I think it began when I was 19 and I needed furniture for my apartment. I would make benches, jewelry holders, and chairs out of other peoples ‘hard rubbish’ I found on the street. Later on, when I started making installations, the work was usually unpaid, so the materials I used were all collected from scrap yards and the street. I found them so inspiring that I continued to use them throughout my work. There’s a very special feeling you get when you can save things from going into a landfill and give them a new life.
GC: What piece are you most proud of?
GS: “Another Earth” and the bee sculptures for ‘The Bee Keeper’s Garden’. These pieces are the best representations of myself. I had so much fun making them – it felt very natural and I learned so much from making each one.
GC: You share a work space with fellow artists. Does that inspire you?
GS: Yes, it’s awesome. We have such a different array of artists here – welders, builders, painters, jewelry makers, woodworkers. We all bounce ideas off one another and can help each other learn new ways of working. We’re always developing our skills and ideas.
GC: How does traveling influence your work?
GS: I think the road-trips around Australia have been some of the most inspiring and influential times of my life. The rawness of the Australian outback and the incredible feeling you get when you’re out there is incomparable with anywhere else in the world I’ve been. All the bones, skulls, feathers, crystals and wood I have collected on these journeys… I’ve taught myself how to macerate animal bones so that I can use them in my art. I make jewelry using the crystals and feathers I’ve found. I think it allows me to create sculptures that are very personal to me. Each piece has a story attached to it – whether it’s the wooden wings of a creature that I made out of a cupboard I found on the side of the road, the skull of a wedge-tail eagle that I found in Arnhem Land and taught myself how to macerate and decompose, or the gumnut and acorn details in the “Another Earth” sculpture that I spent weeks climbing up trees to collect.
GC: What was your most impressionable memory of nature/gardening growing up?
GS: My grandma and dad are both gardeners / landscape designers. I spent my weekends growing up on my grandma’s nursery and violet farm. She would always take us on adventures to climb mountains, or visit gardens, but our favorite adventure was collecting the rubbish on the road that people had just thrown out their car windows. She made us believe it was an adventure and we’d get to sit in the boot of her car with garbage bags. It was mostly just trash– nothing you’d make art out of– but it’s one of my favorite memories.
GC: What’s the most underrated flower or plant?
GS: I’m not sure if it’s underrated but my favorite tree is the banyan tree— I find them beautiful and absolutely fascinating. I could lose myself in them. It’s also interesting to me that it’s a tree only because it has taken over another tree. It’s kind of showing the darker side of nature.