Passion Pays Off

The Sunday Times, Ripples, April 24 2005, Tonia McNeilly

Passion Pays Off

“Shannon has been trying to break into the American market for a long time now. Now shes got the break shes been waiting for.

Perth Artist Shannon Hamilton has just sent four large oil-on-canvas paintings to New York for her first international show at Agora gallery’s Out From Down Under and Beyond exhibition.

The Soho gallery was established in 1984 and is dedicated to the promotion of national and international contemporary artists.

It caters to the tastes and trends of the sophisticated New York art market and the gallery’s discerning worldwide collector base.

The Out from Down Under and Beyond exhibition opens next Sunday and features new paintings by 11 artists from Australia and New Zealand. Many, like Shannon are making their North American debut.

“Several years ago I had an exhibition booked in Florida that fell through, so when I received the initial email from Agora accepting me I really didn’t believe it,” Shannon says.

“But after speaking to them on the phone, I was elated that my works were accepted. I have been trying to break into the American market for sometime and have applied to over 30 galleries, so I’m thrilled.”

Shannon completed an extensive application form and waited for two months to hear the result. Now she and fellow WA painter Rob Forlani, who has also been accepted, are tickled pink by the prospects.

It’s a great achievement for the predominantly self taught artist, who resigned from a career as an Occupational Therapist to take up the brush.

“My mother, who wasn’t an artist, bought me an easel when I was three and I have been playing with paint ever since. I cant wait to but one for my son, Xavier, who is only 6 months,” Shannon says.

It was just five years ago that Shannon and her husband decided the time had come to seriously focus on her art and give away her secure and well-paid job.

“I spent all my weekends painting and doing short courses and my art was starting to develop its own life,” she says. People were commissioning me for jobs and I was finding myself saying no to opportunities that I really wanted to be involved with.”

Something had to go and it wasn’t going to be Shannon’s art. “My new career has slowly grown and it is so much more exciting to be working at my passion every day,” Shannon says.

Her work is inspired by the Perth lifestyle and climate. Her candid portraits of beach lovers at play on the sand and in the surf are sought after. She works with oils on canvas and chalk pastels. Art lovers can see Shannon’s work at the end of the year in an exhibition at Margaret River Art Gallery.

She is currently taking part in the Affordable Art Fair in Melbourne. Shannon is represented by Gullotti Galleries in King St, Perth, and the Red Sea Gallery in Singapore.