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  • Writer's pictureTish

Melbourne. I love you.

Where do I start? You were a new chapter, a fresh adventure. Looking back, adventure maybe not so much. Thanks to 200+ days in lockdown. I guess it’s fair to say it was just like the rollercoaster at Luna Park. Up and Down, a little wobbly, but exciting and super fun.

As a creative, I’ve got no problem what so ever staying in and creating, in fact I’m probably one of very few people who enjoyed lockdown ( if that’s possible ). It gave me the opportunity to launch Tish Willo Creative, my creative baby. The time afforded me to experiment with product and designs, which meant anxiously awaiting deliveries from Des and Aus Post on the regular. Yup I know the delivery legends name. Hell, he was the only other person I saw for a while there. Despite the difficulties of lockdown, I did manage to squeeze in a few group shows, enter an art prize or two and even stock my products in a retail environment. Not a bad effort, if I do say so myself.

My cold, yet sun filled studio – I’m claiming it as a studio anyways. The back awkward room provided me the space and freedom to be me. To heal me, to create me. And boy did it get a work out. I don’t think I’ve ever produced so much art in my life than I did in that space. The energy I bought from my time in the South Pacific, to new views and places in Melbourne, I had the motivation and inspiration to create. I painted, I played, I scribbled, I made one hell of mess. And I loved every minute of it.

What I’ll remember most of all about this space, is the fur babies I shared it with. My art Doggos. Ally & Whiskey. These puppa doggos were by my side for so many creative wins, messes and creations. Always there for a pat and cuddle when the art just didn’t work. At times under or on my feet which makes working on multiple pieces in a room a little tricky. Looking back, I wouldn’t change it for the world. While they are unable to continue my journey and join me for the next chapter, I’ll be sure to have a cute framed photo of them both in my new creative space. Dogs really are the best.

What I underestimated about Melbourne was the power of the creative community. Lockdown unfortunately restricted many gallery shows, catch ups and classes but my gosh is social media a wonderful thing. I’ve been lucky enough to find and discover so many fabulous Melbourne creatives, who have supported and encouraged me every step of the way. The inspiration and encouragement these amazing souls provided and continue to do so, fills me with absolute joy and happiness. While I wasn’t able to physically meet most of these wonderful people, I feel through the socials I have creative friends for life. It’s an absolute pleasure to watch these friends grow and develop their styles, follow their creative journeys and DM back and forth little words of wisdom. I can’t wait to be able to frame and showcase the works I proudly own of so many of these creatives in my new space. Stay tuned.

Sure, the wobbles and the downward drop of the rollercoaster kicked in. The constant artist battle of imposter syndrome, the only visitor exempt from lockdown restrictions. It did for a little while break me. I’d worked for many years to see my creative dreams come true, and when part of it did it was wonderful. But honestly, it still never felt like it was enough. It broke me for a little while. I ran out of steam and I stopped believing in the healing power of art. I’m not going to go into too much detail on this – I’ve written about it before and I’m sure I will again. I just want to remember that it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. You have to take the ups with the downs. That’s life after all.

My final works created in my Melbourne space are some of my most favourite creations ever. Yup, ever. So much love, emotion, passion and feeling went into them. For most you, it may just look like a whole bunch of colour and scribble, but it’s so much more. Each mark is a memory, each colour a tribute to a fellow creative, each brushstroke a feeling. My heart and soul poured onto paper for the world to see. They are honest, they are raw and they are me. They are certainly not perfect, but neither am I and neither was my time in Melbourne. The energy they gave me and continue to give me when I look at them, is something I’m struggling to put into words. I’m holding onto this tight. I don’t want to let it go, I don’t want to forget it.

As I sit here, in quarantine looking at my art supplies and writing this, my heart is full. Its full of memories, good and bad, its full of love and its full of creativity. While I’m nervous about what comes next, I’m excited for my creative journey to continue. If I can channel the energy of those final works into new works, I’ll be one lucky duck. And if I can’t, that’s ok – I’ll continue to follow and support my Melbourne creatives and get excited to discover the WA creative community again.

I’ll be forever grateful for the time I had to bring my visions to life, and for the support from those special people around me. You know who you are. Tish Willo Creative has always been a part of me, it just wasn’t put into the world until my time in Melbourne. I’ll always look fondly on my time in Melbourne and one day I shall return to the amazing creative energy the city holds.

Melbourne you broke my heart in so many ways, but you also healed it in so many ways.

I love you,

Tish X

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