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Inkable Spotlight: Chelle Destefano

Customer Spotlight: CHELLE DESTEFANO – Gypsysnail’s Arts


We are honoured to have GYPSYSNAIL’S ARTS for our Customer Spotlight!


Chelle is a visual artist who works mainly with watercolour, ink and wash, and mixed media. She does both commissioned work and personal projects, for solo and group exhibits, and she has won prestigious prizes for her heartfelt artworks in pen, watercolour, and acrylic media. She is a hero to us not because she is a print advocate like us, but because she is a passionate artist who sheds necessary light on the simple joys of life–the places often passed by without a second glance, made breathtaking with a new rendering; the charm of vintage objects, the beauty of details in forgotten things; the delightfulness of animals as art muses; the magical concepts that are at the same time fanciful and real. She does this with ease and grace, and we are rapt to feature her here and now. 

 Inkable Spotlight: Chelle Destefano

• What type of design do you specialise in? What are your favourite subjects and what make them fascinating to you?


I specialise in illustration in watercolour, no means is it fine art! Far from it 😉 best thing is it is fluid and an enjoyable discipline and I’m able to turn them into books. My favourite subjects are Volkys especially ones doing the things we would do, ghosts, old places/abandoned derelict places, antiques especially the rather exquisite designs of typewriters or the retro typewriters that came in orange, blue or pink, and animals especially dogs.


The volkys especially the star of my art, Taxi my yellow bug are a great laugh to do, particularly of them indoors playing cards, pool or doing other acts and many love the quirkiness of these art works. Ghosts and abandoned places have for a long time inspired my illustrative and artistic sense in that they were once alive and I have always wondered about their heyday, and what the places were like and ghosts in these rundown places sort of tell the story, leaving many to wonder when they see my works of these. I love antiques and vintages, and the detail in the old objects that were used many years ago, I find their design way more interesting than today’s moderns. With animals, especially dogs, they are a delight to draw and particularly playful dogs.


• You are an inspiration to us not only because of the genuine love you have for art and print, but also because your work has paved the way for other artists with disabilities. How do you feel as an ambassador for all the other deaf artists like yourself?


I think it is fabulous! I hope to encourage more deaf artists to come out with their artistic pursuits and be confident in themselves. There is nothing to stop them and their eyes from creating something they see out there or in their imaginations.

 Inkable Spotlight: Chelle Destefano

I have recently had a deaf artist be introduced to me, a friend asked if I could point her in the right direction regarding her art getting it out there which is a great start! I’ve had a couple other deaf artists one out of high school recently who did a survey and I was able to give answers in how art can be successful by thinking outside the square in forms of how we can present our art.


• How does your workspace look like and what is your favourite piece of art you’ve created?


Ahaha my workspace is a big typical artist mess 😀 Many many materials around the place, but of recent, tidied into neat storage boxes and on shelves and in cupboards and to one side I have a huge long desk around one side of the room for the computers, graphic tablet and immediate-reach materials, and the other side is a huge converted table which consists of an old old desk probably from the 1930s or 40s, with wheels that we attached to its legs to move it around easily, and on top of it is a huge thick board of wood that I can remove or move around when needed and it provides easy space for huge artworks.


 Inkable Spotlight: Chelle Destefano

My favourite art pieces to date that I have created would be the abandoned room of toys II, and the Taxi at Abandoned Petrol Station ☺ this can be found on my website.

Inkable Spotlight: Chelle Destefano 

• The last time we touched base, we ran art prints for you… Our favourite is your Volky artworks! Could you please tell us a short story about your beloved characters in your pieces?


Taxi the bug came to me in Adelaide from Sydney 7 years ago, when I won a bid on her and I was chosen for that I’m an artist. They were right to choose me as Taxi is now a star in my arts. She came to me, broken down and that was devastating to find her in that condition! We still don’t know if they sent Taxi to the transport depot already broken down or if she broke down in transit when they changed her over from carriage to truck. Never mind, she was still a cute beetle in my eyes and we had her winched home on a truck from the Depot.


She still has not been fixed due to money but there are now plans in the works to get her fixed under a Kickstarter project on the well known website Kickstarter, using artworks of her and an art book of her to give as pledge rewards. When this will happen, we are not sure at this stage but it is hopeful for mid to late 2015. I’m expecting to have created many more artworks of Taxi and her beetle friends adventures to compile into a book before I launch the kickstarter project which will go for one month. Back to Taxi ☺ when she first came to me, I had thoughts of her sitting in my lap looking at me and giving me a big beetle’s lick on my face and my then baby niece pushing her off and jumping onto my lap! I’ve since developed Taxi’s character, a rather humble and funny beetle with a dry sense of humour and a best friend called Snail.

The Taxi and Snail picnic is one and that particular art piece will be turned into a series of its own and compiled into a short story section in the art book. Oh and Taxi loves nice dogs too ☺ and her other good mate is Floppyears, an old AU Ford that lives with us and a quiet and humble Toyota Taronga van who is Deaf, that the resident doggy bought when she came to live with gypsysnail. This is a story that has been developing for awhile based on true events 😉


• What projects are you working on right now?

Yes the ghost project is the current focus (December 2014 to March 2015) doing further exploration through illustrating old buildings and imagining their heydays and the ghosts that live on to tell the story. Also, friends told me they were curious to see the dark art in my practice develop after they saw my Dream Series I and II from 2005 (you can see this on my website under paintings, down the gallery page on www.chelledestefano.com) and I decided to further develop the ghost story telling concept after doing some watercolour works on ghosts in old places in 2012 for an exhibition at Urban Cow Gallery in Adelaide.


• What inspires you and your style of drawing?

I have a love for the pen and watercolour look, it’s beautiful and very artistic looking, not all realistic, sort of how do I explain it? Let’s say 2D work looks more beautiful than 3D. I don’t like 3D style at all and would avoid it as much as I can unless I can create it with a true artistic detail style than realistic looking style. I love the look of the cartoonish (almost cartoonish) sense of watercolour illustrations, particularly it looks arty, almost like from another world and I love illustrations since I was a kid, and I would be drawing things growing up, especially bushes, trees, and objects in unusual places.

• What hobbies do you do outside of design?

Walking on the beach, watching movies, playing indie games (indie games are the type of games such as the old classic Seirra games that included Kings Quest, Police Quest, Colonel’s Bequest, and lucas games like Monkey Island, and the newer games like Broken Sword, Black Mirror, Rue Gemini etc, which have resurrected that game genere from the Sierra days.) I love those games since I was 7, they bring joy for the fun of going on missions with a third view playing character and seeing all the amazing artworks that are the scenes. I also love to read books, real books and ebooks, going out for lunch or dinner with my friends.

• Our customers are small businesses and designers who’ve had their share of tough challenges. What’s your favourite way to de-stress and unwind after a long day of work?

I love to sit down with a cuppa and read a magazine and then do some drawings or read and watch a movie with my loved ones.

• Where else can we find you?

Website: http://www.chelledestefano.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gypsysnailsarts

Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/profile/gypsysnail

Blog: http://gypsysnailarts.wordpress.com/

We have been fortunate to have met really awesome people through our work, and learning about them and their challenges and triumphs is always humbling. Thanks heaps for your time, Chelle! As print advocates, we truly enjoy talking with designers and small businesses who inspire us everyday.

Inkable Spotlight: Chelle Destefano

Chelle is a Visual Artist, having graduated with a Bachelor Degree in Visual Arts and Applied Design in 2006. She works mainly with watercolour, ink and wash, and mixed media, and has a love for the illustrative style and enjoys working within it and outside the usual bounds. She creates commissioned works and independent pieces, has done illustrations for the cover of books, portraits of people and their pets, artworks of favourite vintage objects and places, landscapes of locations made special to clients with her nostalgic style. Her pieces have won prestigious prizes, and currently she is working on an art book about her volky bug Taxi, and one other about ghosts in our space called “Blue Ghosts”. Chelle can often be found in her art studio, working on a drawing or painting.  


We hope you enjoyed meeting Chelle, and please do check out her portfolio at www.chelledestefano.com.