In recent years the importance of the natural environment around us has become increasingly important. For visual artist Joel Tarling his new exhibition The Trees That Are Special To Me explores this idea by highlighting some of the local trees that he encounters everyday in Sydney’s Inner West.
As Joel explained, “the trees of the Inner West make our community what it is – wild and diverse. These 17 artworks celebrate that nature is everywhere, even in our cities.” As Joel continued he expounded on the misconception that city life is devoid of natures beauty, “people generally think of city living as living without nature and I wanted to play with that idea. That nature is everywhere and it’s important to my city life… The tree artworks are about the feelings I get from seeing trees in urban environments.”
Joel’s artwork has a cartoonish, caricature-esque style about it to help convey those emotions he speaks of. These artworks are fun, light-hearted depictions of some the most iconic trees in the Inner West, such as the ‘Great Morton Bay Fig’ in Camperdown’s Memorial Rest Park.
This is not Joel’s first exhibition celebrating his natural surroundings. In 2018 Joel presented an exhibition about his childhood home of Bermagui with artworks created purely from memory. This time around through Joel says he made sketches of each tree on location before completing the final artwork.
“The Inner West is such a distinct place so I sketched on the street for each drawing. Then if the drawing didn’t hit the right emotional tone of my feelings about the place I would use my memory to distill images or in some cases simply redrew the sketch from an imagined perspective to capture the full glory of the tree.”
The Trees That Are Special To Me will be displayed free of charge at Newtown’s Beach Burrito from June 13 until the end of the month.
The opportunity to display his artwork at Beach Burrito is something which Joel is incredibly thankful for.
“I have exhibited in traditional galleries before, but to me this is alternative art at its best,” Joel said. “I get to exhibit my art without a huge cost and people can buy any of the artworks at an affordable price.”