Seven artists have been selected for Bayside’s 2023 Billilla Studio Artists Program, based in what was once the servant’s quarters of Billilla Mansion.
These artists will take up residence until December 2023, providing a unique opportunity to further their art practice in these beautiful grounds. This will also be a platform for the artists to connect with local communities through public programs.
Meet our artists
Jacquie Byron developed a fondness for reading at a young age; an early love which instigated her passion for writing. After pursuing studies in Journalism, Byron devoted more than twenty-five years to the field of professional writing and has occupied roles as varied as fashion publicist, jewellery editor, and motoring writer. In 2021 she published her first work of fiction, Happy Hour which was longlisted for the Indie Book Awards 2022. The same title was recently selected to feature in the national public library reading program, Together We Read, and was borrowed 7000 times during the three-week program run.
Carolyn Cardinet is a multi-disciplinary artist whose practice involves the re-purposing of single use waste into experimental sculptural forms, installations, and wearable art which convey powerful environmental messages. Born in Paris, Cardinet spends time in Bayside with her family. Cardinet holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting from the Victorian College of the Arts and a Master of Fine Art from The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, which was awarded with distinction in 2012. She has exhibited widely in solo and group exhibitions, and in recent years has been involved with environmental and sustainability programs both locally and overseas.
Yvette Coppersmith is a highly regarded painter whose arresting self-portrait won the 2018 Archibald Prize. In a more than two decades long career she has participated in multiple group and solo shows, including the first iteration the now widely acclaimed Know My Name initiative developed by the National Gallery of Australia in 2020. As a predominantly portrait painter, Coppersmith is particularly interested in the depiction of women and the subject of the female gaze, and regularly returns to the self-portrait as a vehicle through which to express her interests in art history, modernism and representation.
Francis Greenslade is an established actor, director, and writer whose work is celebrated widely within Australian screen and theatre culture. In an acting career spanning more than three decades, Greenslade has performed with distinguished groups such as Melbourne and Sydney Theatre Companies, and graced Australian television screens in popular shows Winners and Losers and Jack Irish, to name but a few. In 2019 he published a book entitled, How I learnt to Act with Currency Press and has recently been working on various theatre projects, including an original play.
Marie Honoré is a visual artist whose painting practice has spanned more than twenty years. She has a particular interest in both figurative and landscape painting, and often works within the stylistic conventions of Surrealism and Magical Realism to create works which blur the boundaries between ‘reality and fantasy’. In 2020 Honoré was awarded a Diploma of Visual Art through the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne, and was most recently selected for inclusion in the Bayside Local 2022 exhibition.
Born in Germany and now based in Melbourne, artist and curator Sean McDowell works across a variety of disciplines including sculpture, painting and installation. His works draw on influences as diverse as planetary science, psychology, and colour theory, and are grounded in a compulsion to explore both materials and fabrication processes. In 2018 McDowell was awarded a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Sculpture and Spatial Practice) from the Victorian College of The Arts, University of Melbourne, and a Bachelor of Fine Arts (First Class Honours) from the same institution in 2020. He has staged numerous solo exhibitions, including The Repositioning of an Object that Once Functioned at Seventh Gallery in 2017; Cuprum, Cuprum at Kings Artist Run in 2019 and most recently Organisms at Five Walls.
William Vyvyan Murray
William Vyvyan Murray is a composer and performer who draws heavily on cultural influences from across the globe. After abandoning a budding jazz and pop piano career, Murray turned his focus to classical music and holds multiple qualifications from distinguished institutions including a Master of Music in Musical Performance from the Conservatorio della Svizzera italiana and a Master of Music from the Conservatorium van Amsterdam. He has worked with esteemed individuals such as Bruno Giuranna, Rainer Honeck and Peter Buck; and been fortunate to play on a composite viola crafted by Antonio and Hieronymous Amati of Cremona in 1620.
About the program
The Billilla Artists Studio program offers free studio space for 12 months to artists from across Victoria and Bayside. The program supports artists from diverse practices and across career stages. Located in Brighton, the program provides an opportunity for artists to connect with local communities through public programs as well as develop their practice without the financial pressure of paying studio rent.
A Key Priority under Theme 5 of Bayside’s Community Vision 2050 is Nurturing Creativity.
Council seeks to create an environment where creativity is encouraged and celebrated. This includes establishing formal and informal spaces that foster creative endeavours, promote celebration and bring people together in creative pursuits. By fostering accessible cultural and arts programs and activities Council provides opportunities for creative expression and engagement for all residents.
Billilla studio spaces
The studios are all part of a heritage building and although refitted as workspaces there is no heating/air-conditioning and there is limited insulation against heat and cold; all studios have power and lighting. There is a portable wireless device situated in the old kitchen at the rear of the mansion which is accessible to all Billilla Studio Artists but there is no WIFI access in the studios. Some of the studios take their name from prominent artists who lived and worked in the Bayside area.
The gardens surrounding the mansion are open to the public.
Beckett Studio (named after tonalist painter, Clarice Beckett)
This studio consists of 3 small adjoining rooms. The space measures 9m x 2.5m and includes a sink and running water. Suitable for painters working on a small to medium scale.
Grainger Studio (named after composer and artist, Percy Grainger)
Dimensions 3.5 m x 3.5 m and includes a sink and running water. Suitable for composers and musicians and most types of practices excluding large scale work.
Marshall Studio (named after writer, Alan Marshall)
Dimensions 3.5 m x 3.5m. Most suited to writers and/or playwrights as has no running water or sink.
This studio is located within the footprint of the Mansion and includes permanent fixtures and equipment from the days of its original use. This studio measures 5m x 4m and has a sink and running water. Suitable for most types of practices excluding large scale work.
Parr Studio (named after sculptor, Lenton Parr)
Dimensions 5.3m x 5.4m and includes use of the fenced yard making it suitable for large scale work. There is a sink and running water. Hot work is not permitted on site.
Tayler Studio (named after architect, Lloyd Tayler)
Dimensions 5.2m x 3.7 m including a small storage area. Located in a standalone building, has a sink and running water. Limited natural light but suitable for most practices including larger scale works.
Traill Studios (named after artist, Jessie Traill)
This studio is attached to the mansion and is located upstairs on the first floor, it measures 5m x 4m. There is no sink and running water in the studio and access is through the kitchen area which is a common space on the ground floor.
"As an artist-in-residence at Billilla Historic Mansion for the Bayside Council, I was given the gifts of both time and space. I was able to sit quietly with questions in addition to making the art which attempts to answer them. The room, evocative of a time which lived at another pace, provided the frame while the gardens, in their various seasonal perfections, offered a sense of place. My time at Billilla was a gift for which I am still grateful."
Joiwind Lowe, Artist in Residence 2019
"It is a joy to arrive at your Billilla studio at any time of day, at any time of year. To get there, you have to walk across lawns that stretch between manicured gardens and pass beneath ancient oak trees. Maybe, before starting work, you might like to drop into the historic Mansion kitchen that’s exclusively for Artists to use and have a cup of tea and say hello to other Artists that might also be there. If you step outside at any time of day be prepared to say hi to the local residents; they know Billilla is for Artists and they love having you there. You’ll get to know quite a few if you want to. And be ready for offers from the team at the Bayside Gallery to get involved with programs and activities. They like to support Billilla artists too. It’s a wonderful place to have a residency and best of all its free. What could be better than that?"
Adrian Spurr, Artist in Residence 2020 – 2021
Image credits in order of appearance:
1. Jacquie Byron. Courtesy the artist.
2. Carolyn Cardinet. Courtesy the artist.
3. Yvette Coppersmith studio portrait. Courtesy the artist. Photo: Mel Savage.
4. Francis Greenslade. Photo: James Penlidis.
5. Marie Honoré in studio. Courtesy the artist.
6. Sean McDowell From Heart + Mind 2020, The Dax Centre, Melbourne. Photo: Stef Harris.
7. William Vyvyan Murray. Photo: Marije van den Berger.