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The Creative Issue – News for Creatives | August 18, 2019

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Meet Sharon Hendy-Moman of Chimpalimpa Designs

Ratu Lewis

Sharon drawingWe are so glad to have had the opportunity to talk to the lovely Sharon Hendy-Moman; the creator and artist of Chimpalimpa Designs. According to Sharon she lives a double life – by day she is a teacher/librarian and by night she is an artist, making pages come to life in an explosion of colour. Read our interview with her to find out about her artistic style, process and influences…

CD: Can you explain your style and technique? Why did you choose it?

SHARON: I am a mixed media artist – Lead pencil, ink, digital and colour pencil colouration, embossing. I have a 4 layered approach to my artwork. It’s very involved. It starts form a rough sketch to become a polished piece of fine art. I am a librarian and am heavily influenced by colourful glossy picture books. My style has evolved over a few years. I am so busy that I have to be able to take my artwork with me everywhere. I always travel with a pencil case, my laptop and my iphone. I continually photograph the evolution of a piece. Sometimes the finished product looks so different from the beginning, I have to check back to see if ‘I really made that?’

CD: Have you experimented with other mediums?

SHARON: I have tried to paint – failed, pastel – failed, oil pastels – a little success, sculpture (I have a Degree in this). I work best with lead pencil and coloured pencil as I have greatest control this way. I sometimes sculpt with found objects but this would be rare.

CD: Describe your creative process.

SHARON: I think that I would have excelled in advertising. I love working under pressure and do my best work this way. Creating is never a leisurely activity for me. I have to seriously categorise and timetable my creative process into time ‘chunks’. Throughout the day at my library job I think about different influences and stories in my own life. Some people might think that being a librarian is boring and staid but in reality it is anything but. I spend my day looking at illustrator images, creating with children through story-telling and drama, connecting with the world via the WWW and drawing inspiration from the hundreds of people I deal with daily in my VERY busy library. It is a very stimulating environment. I probably meet with over 800 people every week. It would be a tragedy if I couldn’t draw inspiration from this vast array of people. In the evening I usually have a single splintered hour in which to create. I never get my drawing ‘wrong’. I sharpen my mind and draw exactly what I imagined during the day. I simply do not have time to make mistakes and start again or to experiment. I have already done this with my imagination throughout the day. When I put pencil to paper it is precise. After making the drawing (base), I make my work transportable, digitally. In this way I can work at any time wherever I am – dancing lessons, horse riding lessons etc.

CD: Where does your love for creating come from?

SHARON: It’s the thinking process that ‘gets’ me. I create in every aspect of my life in different ways. I like cooking – the cupboard is bare for others but I can always see inspirations and create something unexpected. In my job as a teacher librarian I am highly skilled and have won quite a few national awards for creative teaching programs. It’s like I have a creative thinking formula that overlays onto whatever I take on in my life. My creativity is not narrowed to my artwork. Creating opportunities, spaces, communities, artwork, even the way I creatively pack the dishwasher to make more dishes fit generates a buzz for my brain. Thinking creatively is like a narcotic for me. I must have it daily, hourly. My Dad is ingenious at finding solutions. When we were little he built our first house with his own hands. A twelve week brick laying course and he was off. I watched every brick being laid and the house coming to life. This early experience sticks with me even today. He is a remarkable man. It’s his influence and creative example that made me see things differently. My mum’s creative too.  She would actively deny this though!

I love fashion however; I usually wear straight laced attire. When I finished high school I was accepted into the Qld Fashion Design College. I did not take this opportunity as I also received entry to the Qld College of Art. Fashion features heavily in my artwork.

CD: What collections have you done?

SHARON: I have never actually completed an entire collection. I am working towards this. Rather, I work in themes – women, culture, colours, retro and history. I am very particular that each piece has a strong identifying story. I like my jobs to blend. I can’t just be an artist and then just be a librarian. I love both of my ‘jobs’. One role influences the other.

CD: What are you currently working on?

SHARON: I am currently working on a really large piece. When I say ‘working on’ I mean that I am busy formulating an image in my head. When I am clear about the image I will then go to paper. I have to have the story for the piece entirely sorted in my head first. It will be a rhythmic piece about dance focusing on when I use to ‘teach’ at my daughter’s kindergarten. The Kindergarten teachers loved me because I would spend an hour at ‘pick-up’ time entertaining my daughter and her little friends with songs, dancing and games. I remember teaching them all ‘Ring-a-Ring-a-Rosie’ when they were nearly 3 years old. It took them ages to catch on. What fun it was to watch the cogs click over in their brains as they coordinated thinking and dancing.

CD: Where do you get your inspiration?

SHARON: Everywhere! I particularly like historic and retro themes. As long as there is a good story I will be inspired. I take a lot of time designing the name for each piece. I often go on a Google hunt to search for word origins and meaning. I am deeply inspired by different cultures. I lived in Sweden for a year when I was younger and learnt to speak the native language. I loved the Scandinavian flat design work and patterning. I also lived in Far North Queensland for 8 years where I was deeply inspired by indigenous art. I like patterns from around the world; Navajo, Peruvian, Moroccan. I use ‘Pinterest’ to collate my ideas in a virtual way. I continually have my home filled with exchange students to keep the world flowing into the daily life of my family. We love travelling and languages. Red is a favourite colour.

Genie Feraal

Genie Feraal

CD: What is your favourite piece that you have created?

SHARON: Genie Feraal – Artwork with a double meaning. I have added an extra ‘a’ to the word feral to make it less harsh. Genie was the name of a little girl who was trapped until the age of 13 in her room strapped to a chair. She was almost mute when she was discovered by authorities with a limited vocabulary of only 20 words. I feel so much for this little girl who is almost the same age as my own daughter. In this artwork we have granted Genie her wish and released her from her tormented life. Like an exotic princess, she sits upon her fancy stool. I think about her story all the time. Also, I loved the TV show I Dream of Jeannie when I was young. Jeannie had the perfect life with a little bit of naughtiness thrown in.  For this piece I have researched a still photo from the TV series and have use a digital eye dropper to collect the authentic pink colour from Jeannie’s harem outfit. This artwork has authentic colours from Jeannie’s outfit and the from the lush interior of her bottle.

CD: Have your works been showcased? Where?

SHARON: David Hart Gallery (Noosa and Mooloolaba), Cairns Ukulele Festival, and Redlands Creative Alliance

CD: Can you explain the name Chimpalimpa?

SHARON: Chimpalimpa is a name designed by my husband. My nickname is ‘The Chimp’ – Apparently, I never sit still and jump around the place chanting like a chimp. I call this efficiency! Limpa – we just like language games in our family and this seemed to roll off the tongue. ‘Designs’ refer to the way in which I calculate everything I do – I have ‘designs’ on everything. When I exhibit as an artist I simply go by name. I actually prefer this. Damn Facebook won’t let me change my page title now that I have so many followers! So …Chimpalimpa will have to do for now.

CD: Where do you see the future of Chimpalimpa Designs?

SHARON: I’m headed for the big time (I hope). I have made the decision to be a professional artist and that’s exactly what I am going to do! I can see a future of networking with artists and the world. I would like to go a big adventure overseas sometime soon to be further inspired. I actually think that I would like to illustrate a book. I would REALLY love a young fashion designer to make one of my creations come to life.

DETAILS

If your interested in seeing more of her work check out her Facebook page or her website.

Like us you’ll go Chimpalimpa crazy!