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We love Camille Olsen-Ormandy. Her frank, naïve and super-sly style has us captivated. As her current exhibition FACE TO FACE opens at the Olsen Annexe in Sydney, we talk art.

Tell us about this curation of your paintings- how did you did you choose?

“Curation is all about understanding your work and how they relate to each other, which starts from the beginning. Surrounded in a room of colourful faces I try to see how a new adaptation can sit alongside and stand on its own. Playing off colour relationships, fashion and a sense of character.”

And the timeline spanning five years, was it planned? 

“It was partly intended when I decided to stop all sales two years ago beside my commissioned works in preparation. I knew for the past 4 years that the Olsen Gallery wanted to show my art, but I wanted to wait for the right time. Now I can show a beautiful evolution in my early years.”

What do you hope to say to us with this body of work? 

“Colour is fun! The energy of people, style, accessories, stories, experiences. They all congregate on a piece of canvas. It's this life force of my own perception of the world which I want to share with others.”

What influences your choice of subject?

“Freedom of expression and creativity shown by the subjects I choose; I love playing with gender roles and androgyny following my own exploration in fashion.”

How do you choose who to paint? 

“There needs to be an element of intrigue, a statement piece. Whether it's a bold eye look, big earrings, frilly collared shirt or brightly coloured attire paired with an interesting face."

We love their quiet flamboyance how important are their clothes?

“Clothing is everything, it's the structure supporting the face, its where I find the most creative freedom mixing and matching colours sometimes I use references, other times I let it flow naturally.”

2016-2021 - how have you seen your practice/yourself developing?

“In 2016 I had just finished by HSC where I started painting portraits for my major work. After completing the year-long project, everyone in my art class couldn’t even think to continue the practice that had started except for me. I fell into a deeper passion for painting faces and with my new freedom going to art school the following year, I buckled down and continued to learn and develop my skills to now in my 5th year of study with still so much more to learn.”

The pandemic has affected us all in so many ways, what has been the impact on your work/creativity? 

“Free time to explore new mediums and create even more! I started my first year at the National Art School during the pandemic so online art school kept me busy, while have the opportunity to work in my parents studio space at the Dinosaur Designs head office, I came out of the first lock down with a series of large hand coiled wabi sabi vases to fire when I got back onto campus. If anything, the time to myself led to a lot more productivity and exploration.”

If you could travel freely anywhere right now, which gallery and exhibition would you pick? 

“I would instantly be heading over to Tokyo or New York, which are the two cities I’ve been able to spend a lot of time in growing up. But if I had to choose a city for the art, I would have to go Paris. The richness of art history and the quantity of galleries and institutions is insane. I’d definitely be hitting up the Pompidou, Musee d-Orsay, Musee de l’Orangerie and Palais de Tokyo.”

What’s next? 

“Time to finish my Bachelor of Fine Arts and get the ball rolling as a full-time artist.”

FACE TO FACE is open April 14th - May 1st, 2021.