From the West Australian desert to the jungles of Asia, Heidi's artworks have an extraordinary story to tell. Of adventure, of travel and tragedy. Of lonely nights in rice fields, getting lost in sweltering city streets, and sitting alone in the forest. Of living a full, meaningful, heartbreaking, unbearable, tremendous, terrifying, courageous - but always, beautiful life.
A colourful History
Eight generations ago, Heidi’s ancestors arrived in Australia as 18th Century Scottish Convicts. A family of painters, writers, farmers and fighters, Heidi’s grandparents survived wars, plane crashes, poverty, crowded prison ships, orphanages and German Concentration Camps to bring their family to fruition.
Growing up in this strong, nomadic unit, along with her seven brothers and sisters; a spirit of resilience and adventure slowly enmeshed its way into Heidi's bones. The Australian land began to bleed eight generations of love and loss into her toes. And surrounded by this chaotic world, she learned how to live.
First as a sunburned child in Western Australia, toenails full of the desert sand blanketing the Aboriginal community she called home. And then as a teenager, running barefoot through the Queensland rainforest. Hiking through the night, tripping over snakes, jumping off waterfalls, swimming with giant stingrays, and riding car tyres down flooded river torrents. (Please don't try that one kids, it's not the 1980's anymore, and we now know that flooded rivers are, errr, super dangerous and will probably get you strangled and drowned under a fallen tree, which did, by the way, nearly happen at least twice.)
At age 13, Heidi received an academic scholarship to attend Private College, and at 17, was awarded a Government scholarship to study at The Queensland College of Art, completing her 2002 Bachelor degree in Design with the award for Top Graduating Student. Within 12 months Heidi had launched an award-winning magazine, undertaken an (also award-winning) redesign of the Big Issue Australia, and been hired to work for one of Australia's most elite design studios in Melbourne.
By 2004, Heidi had won multiple awards for her design work, including the Fairfax Australian Young Creative award in Sydney (which took her to France to represent Australia). Starting her own company, Heidi began to work direct with clients producing her eclectic range of commercial illustrations, magazines, books, photography, branding, advertising, film and documentaries. In 2008, she partnered with Creative Director/ husband Peter Hibberd, to form The Bird Collective as an umbrella studio for these works. Simultaneously, Heidi launched her own music label, and along with her commercial work, spent 5 years touring Australia as a performing singer-songwriter, winning awards for her songwriting, and performing everywhere from the bars of Melbourne to the Woodford big Top on New Years Eve.
In 2014, after a decade of running a studio, an album launch, a year living in a caravan, a month spent hitch-hiking across three states, and a family relocation to Singapore, Heidi decided it was finally time to take the inevitable, exciting step into fine art. Heidi's first series of work 'The Tropical Collection' is a culmination of two years worth of notebooks, canvases and timber panel artworks, created on her travels all around Asia. This collection is to be launched firstly as a series of original paintings at the 2016 Affordable Art Fair in Singapore, and secondly as a design range of kaftans, cushions, scarves and printed products being launched for Chinese New Year in 2017.
In 2014, Heidi took a backpack, a small case of pencils, paints and paper, and began documenting her adventures through the islands of Indonesia and Malaysia, with a travel journal. In 2015, with a growing body of sketches, she began to move into large scale experimental artworks which she travelled with as dismantled rolls and planks. The intention of these canvases was solely to capture the feelings and emotions of her ephemeral experiences.
By 2016 Heidi had settled into a routine of mixing up her pieces: expressive watercolour canvas portraits (which are layered with pencil and acrylic, then coated with an acid-free sealer); creative travel journal landscapes; and a growing collection of exciting abstract pieces inspired by the experiences of life.
Stylistically, Heidi's work is vibrant and lavish. Full of colour, movement, and a fierce sense of life. Influenced by her time spent all around Australia, her childhood connection with indigenous culture, her years living and travelling in Asia and her deeply emotive spirit. The work is uniquely Australian, very tropical and very Heidi.
Most of these pieces have been dragged across the world, and painted whilst travelling. They are rich with stories. Over the last two years, these canvases and sketches have followed Heidi across moonlit rice fields, through rainstorms and streets full of flashing motorbikes. In the back of dinged-up vans, up treacherous mountains and through jungle-rimmed river crossings. They've been rained on, had mosquitoes and ants pummelled into the paint fibres, and been imprinted with the scent of Hindu flowers, the vibrations of the call to prayer, and the incense of Balinese temples woven deep into each piece of fabric.
Every piece captures a moment of beauty, reflection, sadness or joy. They are made to be enjoyed and loved.