Features

Dive into the mind boggling beauty that is Chelsea Meacthem’s artworks, created specifically with music in mind

Remember making collages as a kid in primary school? Cutting out pics of Delta Goodrem and pairing them with the Sydney Olympic games mascots and the Harry Potter and Philosopher’s Stone movie poster? …No? Just me?

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Well, Sydney born Melbourne based mixed media artist Chelsea Meatchem has taken this to another level ,far exceeding my perceived juvenile brilliance, and turned collage art into something truly extraordinary. And this has meant amazing new things for the music industry. How? Well it’s probably easier to let her work speak for itself.

Already commissioned by Mountain Sounds Festival for their poster art and having begun working on some other music and art projects that sees her art come alive on the telly (that’s all she’ll tell us), Chelsea is a prolific and talented visual artist who is making big things happen in the production and design sphere for up and coming musicians and musical projects.

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From Jason Galea beyond, visual media and music have always gone hand in hand. Chelsea Meatchem could be the next big moment in this illustrious marriage

A music lover with her head in a million different genres and time periods, Chels is anything but contrived, she knows her shit and is all about creating art that represents the best of music and pop culture across history. With a focus on colour, depth, shape and symbolism, she truly is a mixed media wizard. Working with commissions as well, this is one busy lady, but she has not let a change of city and landscape slow her down. Having already settled in Melbs, she is onto the next thing and engrossing herself in the music scene of Carlton.

For artists like Chelsea, there is a real opportunity for music and the music industry to foster new and exciting platforms, for collage artists or otherwise. Albums need art, videos need creative direction, posters need designing. There is a space for fresh talent and organic thought, working with young local visual artists is just one way that bands and musicians can really collaborate and create something unique.

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It’s supporting multiple young industries in need of voices in light of the bullshit of the the recent government cuts to arts funding. The prospects for visual artists in Australia are not looking so fab, with a shrinking industry and a wobbly platform, working together is one way that both worlds can take back creativity, in all its forms.

I had a chat with homegirl Chelsea to see where her head is at since making the move south and what gets her juices flowing to create such amazing work:

HAPPY: When did you start making collage art?

CM:It was winter 2014 and I was living in Surry Hills in Sydney. I remember being inside with a hot tea, two pairs of socks on, surrounded by my vast collection of mags, old 70s cooking books and rock and roll photo journals. I grabbed a pair of scissors and started to chop up an old Monster Children. With no real idea or direction in mind, my hands got the feels, puzzle-piecing the paper, and 3 collages down, I WAS HOOKED.

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HAPPY: Do you feel inspired to make art when you listen to music and are there any artists you keep going back to?

CM: My life is quite literally fuelled by music. That and tea. Every day is a new playlist and I get over excited when I hear a song I love. I’m one of those people who tear up in a cafe when Mac Demarco’s, Salad Days is played to its entirety. If you talked to anyone who knows me, the one artist, or GENIUS LORDS rather, that I keep going back to is King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard. Having collected their discography over the years, every album is like a new chapter of my artistic adventure.

I imagine my insides being controlled by mini gators, floating up and in and out and down, twisting my thoughts but allowing me to form a clear visual of an artwork. I wouldn’t say I’m brainwashed or anything…haha…they just have the gosh darn knack.

HAPPY: Where would you like to see your art take you in the future?

CM: If I could make art for bands, that would be the ultimate dream. Flipping through the racks at JB or crate digging at the local vinyl store and seeing my art on the cover of a CD, words could not describe. Walking to the toilet from the band room at the local with my eyes trailing the walls of all the gig posters and to see my art plastered up would be vomit worthy. Just to intertwine my passion for music and drive for creating visually enticing images is a future goal.

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HAPPY: How important is it to you that bands and visual artists work together?

CM: Extremely important! We are all on this planet trying/wanting/needing all of the things. If we are able to collaborate thoughts and ideas then the end result could be explosive. I’m a fan of kind humans and one of my favourite pastimes is meeting new ones. You never know what rad things could come from being the main act lead guitarist, watching the support band, standing with the crowd and striking up a convo with a beer sipping civilian.

Being a person who enjoys the combination of sounds and visuals I feel like I want to jump in and prove that creative connection of the arts is a one way road to happiness rainbows and smiling crocodiles where everyone benefits.

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HAPPY: Is there any visual artist or music genre in particular that you could pinpoint as the inspiration behind your work?

CM: In my collection of records, CDs and posters the art that grabs me are the weird ones with a psych flare. King Gizz artist, Jason Galea, is always creating wildly strange pieces that are just so fucking fitting to every album. Always having killer colour combos and imagery, Galea creates a whole new world, DONT YOU DARE CLOSE YOUR EYES! Tame Impala’s album covers are always amazing.

Leif Podhasky is the genius behind Innerspeaker’s dreamy landscape void, sucking in vast bushland and pretty cloud porn. Lonerism’s track Elephant held it’s own single cover that is a whirlpool of oil-spill style colours that leave me staring. He is ALWAYS an inspiration and has worked alongside heaps of other rad bands. It’s safe to say that he holds an idol type lead in my music/art combining journey.

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Check out more of Chelsea’s work here.

While you’re here, check out our piece on Aussie musicians who are also artists.