Rathdowne's Art For All Seasons...And Reasons
Juz Millsom’s all brushes and brain with her clever and colourful art at Villawood’s Rathdowne community at Wollert.
For starters, her art is curious and engaging. It’s a light and bright trip through the seasons of the year, a trip aimed at helping instil a sense of place and connection for newcomers to Rathdowne. But it goes a good bit deeper, too.
“Art is no airy-fairy thing,” Juz says with a steely conviction. “It has the power to totally transform an environment and culture of a place.
“I think it will create a conversation within the community of Rathdowne and create a sense of culture and connectivity to each other and their surroundings, which is important for a new place.”
Juz, or Justine, has created a 45-metre mural she’s dubbed Seasons of Rathdowne, just a splash from the Rathdowne Sales Centre. It’s a unique melding of art and trade: Rathdowne’s unique selling points and Juz’s artistic depiction of the seasons. The result is an immersive art walk experience for viewers.
“Art and colour is often neglected or forgotten when designing environments, and leaves places feeling a little bleak and soulless,” Juz says. “The heart of this mural is the future community of Rathdowne and we wanted the community to be able to interact with it.
“There are four main points within the artwork to encourage interactivity. I see many interesting elements within the mural people could interact with. I can’t wait to see how people do so.”
The mural is playful, thoughtful, charming and full of little reference points to the suburban experience so integral, and comfortable, to people’s lives. Even a quick glance reveals, kites, letters and paper planes, brollies and butterflies, plants, leaves and lashes – lots of eyelashes: there’s a distinctive feminine touch to the work.
Juz is best known for her feminine portraitures, which are inspired from studio photos she takes of all types of women. “Sometimes I have a concept or idea in mind that we base the photoshoot around,” she explains. “Other times we wing it and there can be one photo out of that which inspires an entire mural or series. I usually look for girls with strong characteristics or personalities, the nature of the mind is inspiring me a lot these days too.”
When Juz says “we”, she’s referring to partner, and business partner, Mark Aidone. They’re a sharp pair with a good grasp of the business realities of art. Mark’s input frees Justine up to focus on her work. Art being the free-bird it is, it’s a good pairing.
“I come from a crazy family of expressive creatives,” Justine says. “My mother is an artist and she always encouraged my brother and I to muck about with anything and everything. I have a degree in graphic design, which partially has an influence on my style. But I think my Mum played a big role, always encouraging creative expression and experimentation.”
And the mural’s powerful female aspect? “My art is a lot more feminine than most street art you might see, and I think the world needs more of that,” Juz says. “And a mural isn’t for me. It’s for a community of people who I may never meet, but they will see my artwork in their everyday life.
“If my art can make a positive impact on even just one person’s day, I’ve done my job.”