Hello, my name is Carmen Cilliers.
I downed the tools of insurance in mid 2007 and replaced them with a painting apron, brushes, easel and canvas!
My paintings are an exploration and expression of my personal emotions, interpersonal relationships and recollections of childhood; the human condition; and also influenced by my travel experiences and their influences on my senses as well as inspiration drawn from current fashion and pop culture.
With this inspiration, I then seek to express the image while aiming to maintain a sense of exploration when it comes to the process; sometimes allowing the paint to run, pool, or drip, employing glazing methods that allow the previous layers of drips to show through, while in other areas slathering the paint on thick to hide the layer beneath… and scribbling, I have to scribble…like a child with a crayon. At other times I enjoy indulging in the blatant use of vibrant colour thickly ‘globbed’ onto canvas.
My aim is to represent my world and express, with my chosen media the emotional moments, quirky twists and often humorous encounters of life.
Carmen Cilliers was born in Durban, South Africa in 1973.
From an early age she set out to re-arrange the world around her according to personal whimsy beginning with re-painting the expressions on dolls faces to spending entire school holidays on art projects, including the creation of a gigantic dragon which was later stolen from school.
Although passionate about the fine arts, making a living from it was discouraged and Cilliers sought compromise by completing 3 years full time study in Design and Fashion in Cape Town -subsequently working in the industry for a number of years as a fashion designer.
Lured by her lifelong desire to travel and see the works of the great masters and impressionists Cilliers left South Africa to travel through Europe and the UK, also managing to include a trip to galleries in New York and Washington.
In 2000 Carmen travelled to Australia, eventually settling in Perth. With her priority shifting to surviving and building a life in a new country Carmen worked in the Corporate World but by 2007 could no longer deny that she must ‘down the tools’ in favour of those more suited to her creative spirit.
While her painted genres have remained fairly constant, reflecting images and symbols reminiscent of Africa, personal and inter-personal relationships, personal experiences and elements of nature; there has been a noticeable exploration and shift in painting style and technique.
Over the course of time her approach has loosened up and her paintings are more abstracted and seemingly painted, then pushed forward under a new layer of pastel scribbles and areas of paint skins while random drips appear untethered and exposed beneath layers of translucent glazes.
Carmen’s palette is broad and ranges from the cleverly selected combinations of muted hues to the much wilder colours reminiscent of African rickshaw costumes, seed beads and bustling markets.
While there is an open and honest attitude towards exploration one senses at times, a sense of vulnerability as she navigates through, and expresses the world as she sees and experiences it.
Cilliers’ work is fast gaining popularity – she was awarded a High Commendation by Janet Holmes A Court for her quirky beach scene “Life Saving Trials” at the Margaret River Rotary Art Awards and her work forms part of both corporate and private collections as far afield as the UK, US, South Africa and of course around Australia.
2011 “Seasons” – Moores Fremantle – Group exhibition
2011 St Marks Private School (Featured artist – by invitation)
2011 “It’s all about love” Studio 281 SOLO EXHIBITION
2011 “City Life” Parmelia Hilton – Group exhibition
2011 Hale School (By invitation)
2011 Newman College (By invitation)
2010 Studio 281, Group Exhibition (By invitation)
2010 “Urban Safari” Kulcha, Fremantle (SOLO)
2010 “Inside Out”, UWA, Crawley, Western Australia
2010 Inglewood Hotel (SOLO 21 June)
2010 Contemporary Art Fair, St Hilda’s, Western Australia
2010 Exomod, Claremont, Western Australia
2010 Media 140 Conference, Perth Town Hall, Perth, WA
2010 Members Exhibition, Victoria Park Centre for the Arts,
2009 ‘Painted Nation’ Creative Mood Gallery, WA (by Invitation)
2009 ‘In Perspective’, Mia Cafe, Inglewood, Western Australia
2009 ‘Creative Connections’, Atwell Gallery, Atwell, Western Australia
2009 ‘Colour Texture Form’ MyHQ, East Perth, Western Australia (3 man show)
2009 ‘The Interactive Arts Exhibition’ Creative Mood Gallery, WA
2009 ‘Melville Art Awards’, Melville Civic Centre, Melville, Western Australia
2009 ‘The Interactive Arts Exhibition’, Creative Moods Gallery, Myaree, WA (3 man show)
2009 ‘Water Works 3”, Atwell Gallery, Atwell, Western Australia
2009 ‘Concoction’, Mokka, Inglewood, Western Australia
2008 Sugar Bean Café, Nedlands, Western Australia
2008 Exomod, Claremont, Western Australia
2008 Canvas Fine Art, Victoria Park, Western Australia
2008 ‘Creative Journeys’, Victoria Park Centre for the Arts, Western Australia
2008 ‘City of Swan Art Awards’, Western Australia
2008 ‘Trio’, Victoria Park Centre for the Arts, Western Australia (3 man show)
2008 ‘Victoria Park Art Awards’, Western Australia
2008 ‘Town Of Vincent Art Awards’, Western Australia
2008 ‘Imagine’, Victoria Park Centre for the Arts, Western Australia
2008 ‘Cossack Art Award’, Cossack, Western Australia
2008 ‘Water’, Margaret River Rotary, Western Australia (Highly Commended By Holmes a Court)
2008 International Artist, Elite Art of Africa, Florida, U.S.A (By Invitation)
2008 Members Exhibition, Victoria Park Centre for the Arts, Western Australia
2008 ‘Abstract Perspectives’, Victoria Park Centre for the Arts, Western Australia
2008 ‘Summer Exhibition’, Victoria Park Centre for the Arts, Western Australia
2007 ‘Spring Group Exhibition’, Victoria Park Centre for the Arts, Western Australia
2007 ‘City of Belmont Art Awards’, Belmont, Western Australia
2007 ‘Victoria Park Art Awards’, Victoria Park, Western Australia,
2007 Members Exhibition, Victoria Park Centre for the Arts, Western Australia