by Lily Whiting
Landscape artist and creative Elliott Nimmo is enjoying discovering Hobart’s vibrant art scene and local environment after relocating here from London to pursue his art.
Where in Hobart do you live? Currently kinda North Hobart/Lenah Valley, but I’m moving soon closer to the city, so I guess it’ll be more North Hobart. Basically, a five minute walk to everything.
Tell us a little about your work? Tassie has always been a bit of a pipe dream, and when I got back from living in London, Mona was looking for senior creatives. So, I applied… and got the gig! It’s been a wild 18 months — it’s the dream job, really, because you’re working across a multitude of brands and briefs: music festivals, wines, beer, new products for Mona, the museum itself.
How has living here informed your art practice? It’s funny, in London I made work about the Australian landscape because I was pining for it. I painted memories to pin down the feeling for each place. Since living in nipaluna/Hobart, the landscape has enveloped me: mountains roll to my left, the ocean sweeps to my right. My painting has expanded physically with this change to canvases 2m wide, for example, and also in terms of subject matter. It’s less an idea of ‘horizon line and a figure/ground relationship’ and more about the scent, the light, the temperature of the air in the painting. The subjects are remembered feelings still, but much more recent. Like the sound of the waves at Long Beach the other morning.
Do you isolate your creative pursuits or do they flow into one another? I don’t isolate different ways of being creative because for me that would be like isolating my brain. I have to paint, I have to write, I have to think about these things on rotation. I’ll go for weeks when all I do is write and then I’ll get a deep need to paint and then I paint for weeks and weeks. For me it’s a primordial need: the work must be made at any cost.
What’s the Hobart art scene like, compared to other places you’ve lived? Moving to a new place is always nerve-wracking – meeting new friends, let alone other artists. But in the last few months I’ve been meeting more and more peers and it’s been wonderful.
How is your week structured with the juggle of making and working? I think about painting when I’m not painting, so it kind of cuts out any hesitation when I’ve got a brush in hand (great for time management!). Depending on how many shoots there are at work, or how hectic projects are, I’ll paint early in the morning or in the evening. It really depends on the day.
What do you love doing outside work? I’m lucky that my day job is super creative, so I’m not drained when I get in the studio. Which is pretty much every day. I work on several paintings on rotation, so they feed into each other. If I’m not painting, I’ll either be stretching canvas or doing art admin (the Virgo side of me loves this organisational behind-the-scenes stuff). Other than painting I do 26+2 yoga (also known as Bikram): a 90 minute class in 40 degree heat. You either love it or hate it but after my first class several years ago I was hooked.
Who do you admire? There’s a big list, but currently it’s painters like Aida Tomescu, Otis Jones, Wolf Kahn, Elisabeth Cummings. Amazing painters who elicit so much with the brush and make it look like a walk in the park.
Favourite podcast or tv show? Ooh, The Last of Us is my fave show currently. I love ancient history, so I listen to The Emperors of Rome.
Secret vice? I’m pretty simple: a block of Cadbury’s Top Deck. The whole block.
What are you reading now? I go through phases where I’m nerding out on art (i.e. For the Love of Painting by Isabelle Graw) but I’ve recently been binging fantasy. I inhaled The Lies of Locke Lamora and am currently reading Godkiller by Hannah Kaner.
What gets your goat? Wilful ignorance.
What was your first job? Working at Industrie at Robina Town Centre on the Gold Coast. I was hopeless. Couldn’t upsell, couldn’t fold the t-shirts. Ah, what a time.
What are your daily news/social media habits? I’m trying really hard to minimise my news/social media because it hijacks valuable real estate in my brain, which is better devoted to the problems of painting. Honestly, the first thing I do is check BOM ha! If it’s a sunny day I’m straight to the beach.
Your favourite place for…
Breakfast: I don’t normally eat breakfast, but when I do I go to The Duchess in Sandy Bay. Their eggs benedict is the best in town. The eggs arrive overflowing with sauce—the dream!
Lunch: Bar Wa! The ramen is next level – actually everything on the menu is. Great cocktails too.
Dinner: Aloft is hands down my fave place for dinner. It’s right on the water and the view is bliss. The staff are superb and the food is just so good. Before dinner, go to Mary Mary for some dirty martinis.
Favourite team? The Pelicans, my trivia team. We consistently come fourth.
Favourite Hobart secret? The beaches. There’s never anyone there (even on a hot day), which blows my mind. Suffice to say my fave beach is tucked between Sandy Bay and Taroona *winks*.
Parting words? I’ve felt so welcome by so many in the relatively short time it’s been. You kind of get enveloped by goodwill here, and it’s so rare.
Where can Hobart view your work? I’m moving into a new studio warehouse space, which is super exciting. Get in touch with me on Instagram and we can arrange a studio view. There’s gallery news afoot too, so watch this space.