Chelle Destefano, a Deaf artist, born in 1979 and currently lives in Melbourne, Victoria. She lived in Adelaide, South Australia for 18 years where she began her arts studies. She has been exhibiting since 2016 and one of her highlights was being one of the 8 artists in an Arts Exchange for Berlin with Arts Access Australia in October 2017 that gave her experience of working with other artists from different cultural backgrounds. They included workshops run by the artists and an exhibition as part of the Berlin arts festival.
She works with watercolour, ink, acrylic, gouache and mixed media to communicate her stories on past lives and living in the now. She is beginning to work in other artforms that include sculpture, art installations and performance art to compliment her visual art works.
Some of her works are compelling, particularly the works that go deep into the stories she shares about her Deaf culture, life of a Deaf person, experiences, stories about moments in life and perspectives of history. She communicates through spatial movements in her work that draw the viewers in to view, ponder and discuss, such as her Auslan Movements sculptural project she is working on at the moment.
Chelle has a Bachelor of Visual Arts and Applied Design (2006) from SA (South Australia) Arts School. She consistently works on a body of artwork of a particular theme at one time, to produce a moving series of works that are perfect for the exhibition environment.
I dig deep, research deep, think deep and bring out what I feel and think onto canvas. One subject at a time. Each subject provokes thought, discussion and introspection in myself. I feel my past lives come through in my artworks and I treasure history in many forms.
I'm always home with my art, and not just the literal sense but in a mental and emotional sense. Art makes me who I am.
I explore my old memories, my face, my introspective mind. Once it was hard to express onto canvas and then I broke open the seal to introspection and through an arts exchange in Berlin, I found within myself all the hidden memories and memories tucked away that should be out on the canvas. History is important to me as is being in the present moment in creative expression.
Chelle Destefano - Artist CV
Studies 2001 – 2006 Bachelor of Visual Arts and Applied Design – O’Halloran Hill TAFE Campus Awards/Scholarships 2019 Nomination for the Australia Council of the Arts Leadership Finalist in the Noel Counihan Commemorative Award 2019 Finalist in the Midsumma and Australia Post Art Award 2020 Finalist in the Lyn McCrea Memorial Drawing Prize 2019 Arts Activated Grant recipient by Moreland Council for Auslan Movement Performance Finalist in the Banyule Award for Works on Paper 2019 Creative Victoria grant Recipient for Mentorship and Deaf arts project development Selected for Testing Grounds Test Sites workshop for my project development Recipient of Creative Victoria grant for mentorship and Deaf arts project development
2018 Recipient of the Regional Arts Victoria Community Arts Grants for Bushfires of 2009 Second prize winner in the major QLD Deaf arts exhibition Recipient of the microgrant for the Fringe Festival Melbourne Regional Arts Victoria grant recipient for the Sydney Other Art Fair
2016 Australian Arts Council grant - funding for Paris and London exhibitions Richard Llewellyn Arts grant – funding for Wait of World Exhibition in Melbourne Solo Exhibitions 2021 October - The French Sign Language Project: French Residency works, Incinerator Gallery, Melbourne
2020 October - The Deaf Culture exhibition, Art Space on the Concourse, Chatswood, Sydney Jan-March -The Deaf Culture exhibition, Incinerator Gallery - Boadle Hall, Melbourne 2019 September12th - 14th - The Auslan Movement show (performance and exhibition), Melbourne Fringe Festival March - Wonthaggi ArtSpace Gallery, Wonthaggi, Victoria Abstract works of the 2009 Bushfire, commemorating the 10 year anniversary of Black Saturday
2018November - FernArtz Gallery, Coburg, Melbourne The story of the Baby Moon - a collection of illustrations September - Experimental Art Installation Exhibition of The Cot story Melbourne Fringe Festival, Avondale Heights Library Gallery space
2017 October - Berlin Pop Up Exhibition of Enchanted Collection with Arts Access Australia Berlin, Germany Workshop teaching, leading tour exhibition, studio work of Enchanted series and solo exhibition August - Volkys Collection in SALA Festival Dulwich Bakery, Dulwich, South Australia (matching the coffee cups they were printed on) 2016 September - Chelle's Collections in Paris! Galerie Metanoia, Paris, France Exhibition of ranges of collections including the popular Blue Ghost works, volky series, Europe 2015 works, and the Rainbow Abstract collection August - Wait of World II in SALA Festival City Library, Rundle Mall, Adelaide South Australia May - June - Wait of the World Gasworks, Art Gallery, Melbourne, Victoria Exhibition of works relating to the world changes and the perceptions within, A1 sized watercolour illustrations
Group Exhibitions 2020 July - Siena Art Institute Residency Program Exhibition, Siena Art Institute gallery, Siena, Italy January - Midusmma Aust Post Art Prize Finalist Exhibition, No Vacancy Gallery, Melbourne
2019 December - Axiom: A Reimagined Reality, for International Day of People with Disability, SpACE@Collins gallery, Melbourne November - Linden Postcard Show Art Prize, Linden New Art Gallery, St Kilda, Melbourne November - Finalist Exhibition for Noel Counihan Commemorative Award, Counihan Gallery, Melbourne November - KernArt Art Prize exhibition, Kernot, Victoria December - Selected Exhibition, Axiom: A Reimagined Reality, SpACE@Collins, Melbourne November - Finalist Exhibition for the Lyn McCrea Memorial Drawing Prize, Noosa Regional Gallery, QLD October - Selected Catalogue Exhibition of 10 artists for Ignite by Rotary Club / Arts Access Victoria, No Vacancy Gallery, Melbourne August - Finalist Exhibition in the Banyule Art Prize, Hatch Contemporary Arts Space, Ivanhoe, Melbourne 2018 November - The Flow Festival, The Cot Story Extended August - The Other Fair, Melbourne, Australia May - The Skin Gallery show duo with Luke King. Exhibition of two Deaf artists March - The Other Fair, Sydney, Australia January - ArtSpace Wonthaggi, Victoria, Australia January - Mornington Art Show, Victoria, Australia Me & Baby Moon portrait
2017 October - Rome Arts Expo Me & Baby Moon portrait