morgana celeste’s art

Morgana celeste’s art proves a little experiment­ation never goes astray.


Hello! Tell us a bit about yourself. I live in Naarm/melbourne and do a lot of different activities every week: I have a job making ice-cream, run a floral studio with my friend Meg called Candy MT, and make these sculptural pulp artworks.

What is your background in art? I don’t particular­ly have one; I’m a fashion school dropout. But I went to a Steiner school, so everything was about drawing and making and crafting – shout out to the rainbow knitted recorder bag I made in primary school.

Where did the idea of making art with paper, cement and paint come from? It was a happy rainy-day experiment. Not having formal training means I don’t always think to use technical or sophistica­ted materials, because I haven’t been exposed to them. I often try to make things with what I have at home or can easily find. I’m quite impatient and like to jump straight into an idea without having to hire special equipment or do a course, so that was a big part of working with these materials. I could take my time and really get to understand their limits.

What specific techniques do you use in your pieces? Pulping paper, squishing paint and cement and water together, shredding, noticing things, and moving between an open mind and a closed, analytical mind.

How did you learn these different techniques? Partly the internet, but the most powerful technique I’ve ever found is being fearless in the face of a creative attempt that doesn’t go to plan. Now I look at something that doesn’t turn out as expected and check to see if there’s something I can learn from it. It didn’t come naturally; it’s a resilience I exercised. Why is a creative failure so deeply embarrassi­ng, even when no one is watching?! I still don’t know.

What do you love about this style of making? Working with a medium that’s hard to control completely means there’s a lot of room for spontaneit­y. Because I’m squishing paint through the paper fibres and sculpting shapes with my hands rather than a paintbrush, it’s much more tactile and physical, and feels like I have more of an active role in each piece. It’s intuitive and there’s no time to agonise over something; you just have to make a decision.

Is there anything particular­ly tricky about it? Choosing colours is sometimes tricky – there are just so many great colours, and I love orange so much that it can be a real challenge not to use it in every painting! The trickiest part, though, is not trying to please everyone with my art and staying true to my own taste.

What kind of feeling are you trying to express? I like to express feelings of carefree, easy-going optimism, of gentleness and surprise. I aim to draw attention to moments that can get overlooked because they’re small or quiet, like a bump-in with a friend on the street that turns into an aperitivo hour, or finding one perfect stripe or speckle on a flower petal. Those sorts of things are my favourite kinds of treasures.

How long do you take with each piece? Because the cement starts setting as soon as it’s wet, I have to work quickly and all at once. I draw out some shapes and designs onto a big piece of paper, then it’s almost like a paint-by-numbers exercise when I apply the pulp over the top. In summer, I can have a piece ready in a day or two because I dry them in the sun, but in colder months, they can take a week or more to fully dry.

What are your biggest creative inspiratio­ns? FOOD. Desserts and frosted icing. Textures you want to eat but can’t, like mohair. Memories from my childhood that I’m trying to call back to life. Plants and the way we interact with them. People like Iris Apfel who are maximalist­s. And colour. I just can’t get enough of that stuff.

Where can we see more of your lovely art? Online at morganacel­ or on Instagram at @morgana_celeste_art.

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