The paintings of mixed media artist Alison Coulthurst have become highly sought after by art collectors around the world. Following her huge success in Australia where she resides, Alison has a growing list of gallery representation around the world.
Born in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, Alison studied fine arts and graphic design in Capetown and Durban in South Africa, before moving to England in the 1980s. By 1987, Alison was at the peak of her graphic design career whilst ensconced in a London advertising agency. She recalls, “It was an up-market agency with only a few accounts that each had lots of money, so I could do what I wanted.” It was this freedom to incorporate stylised illustrations in design briefs that became the precursor to her later paintings. In the early 1990s, Alison relocated to Sydney and established her own creative agency “Design Ali”, which specialised in creative corporate identity.
It was in 2001, however, that Alison began her career as a professional artist in the medium of painting. After completing a large number of commissions Alison has secured gallery representation in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, NZ, the UK, Italy and recently, the USA. All of her solo exhibitions have been highly successful. Well recognised art collectors have purchased Alison’s art leading to a number of exciting initiatives such as a solo exhibition held at Australian Fashion Week and selection as one of 39 artists around the world for a collaborative art initiative with Nobel Peace Prize Winner Nelson Mandela.
Alison’s creative exploration of many techniques, including sgraffito and application by hand, results in the rich layers displayed in each artwork. Alison says “When I am painting, I am often not thinking, I block out the busy thoughts of life by listening to music. Through music I draw artistic rhythm and mood and feel inspired. The text in some of my paintings is derived from music. I love making something work not knowing what is going to happen. Painting is like long distance running which I used to do . . . I just can’t stop once I start. It’s a thrill when something really works.” Alison endows her painted forms with sculptural qualities, creating an ethereal feeling to each piece.
Alison presents a powerful array of figurative abstract art. She says her art is an extension of her non-conformist outlook on life. The theme of her work has potent African and Australian influences and one rather bold image that seems to run through most pieces, Alison’s trademark - sanguine coloured lips, as though each painting has been sealed with a final “Red Kiss”.
Artist's Statement: I’ve become more spontaneous instead of trying to force my art, force my love. I’m going deeper within; real creativity is an inner thing. When you look at my paintings feel, don’t think ‘what does this mean?’ ‘what does this mean?’ ‘what does this mean?’. Just feel the emotions and experience the colours and energy from them. I have to be in touch with myself and trust everything will turn out fabulous. Through my art I’m learning to love myself. I’m not taking my art too seriously, I’ve put my thinking aside, silenced my mind, let my journey just happen. I give thanks to my paint brushes.