Meet the artist behind our Holiday 2020 campaign: Melanie Macilwain
This year, our beautiful range of limited-edition HOLIDAY 2020 gifts come in a 100% recycled cardboard box, exquisitely wrapped in a colourful selection of uplifting, bold and unique designs created in collaboration with Australian artist, Melanie Macilwain
Melanie designed five covetable limited-edition HOLIDAY Trios (the must-have gifts for anyone with #HairGoals on their holiday wishlist) along with three ever-so-shiny HOLIDAY Bon Bon’s (that also double up as stocking fillers and gifts that will dress up your dining table) containing cute, travel-size shampoo and conditioner buddies.
We caught up with Melanie to ask her a few questions about the collaboration, what inspires her, what advice she’d give to any young aspiring artists out there, and what her haircare routine looks like!
HOW DID THE COLLABORATION COME ABOUT AND HOW WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE WORKING WITH ELEVEN AUSTRALIA?
The experience was really lovely, I was approached by ELEVEN Australia and they were pretty simple and honest in their approach which I liked.
The team at ELEVEN Australia said that they were really interested in collaborating with me for our next HOLIDAY collection. They said they really like my work and think it would really fit in with their work. They said; “We’re Australian, you’re Australian, it’s something that could brighten up people’s routines, the salons and where customers sit.”
I already knew it was a great brand as I had used their products before but once I checked out their website and did a bit more research, I thought, yeah! This feels good and I thought it would be a great collaboration!
WHAT SPARKED THE IDEA BEHIND THE HOLIDAY 2020 COLLECTION?
We’re so fortunate in Australia as we have really beautiful summers! We’re probably one of the luckiest countries as everyone wants to be here, in their bathers, in the hot weather. Eating and drinking outside and just being together (I mean, COVID has thrown a bit of a spanner in the works) but as a holiday collaboration, that really sparked the idea to keep it fresh, light and colourful.
WHAT KEEPS YOU INSPIRED?
It’s the simple things. I’m not a person who has this big grand house, I’m not dressed to the nine’s all the time. I’m more into taking inspiration and living my life by just being outside and spending time with family and friends and enjoying the sunshine – the free kind-of-things. You know, sitting in the park, going for a walk and seeing some beautiful things to the eye that happen to be in our everyday life. Beautiful clothes are always great, and make me feel great too and Pinterest, Instagram and stories keep me inspired, but it’s also just the everyday life, I mean it’s pretty good (it is, we’re pretty lucky!) This COVID time has also been a really positive experience because you get to spend more of that downtime and appreciate the calm (I agree) and that inspires you to do more, I mean by doing less you do more, I don’t know how that works, but it does!
WHAT'S THE BEST ARTISTIC ADVICE YOU'VE EVER BEEN GIVEN?
My grandparents were from Europe and they came to Australia in the mid-’60s, (where were they from in Europe?) Croatia! They were creative in all sorts of ways, just around the house. I was shown it’s not a risky kind of thing to be creative. In my growing up, it was just a part of life. It was never the wrong thing to do, you could be creative when you cook or clean or doing the garden or you make something from bits in the shed so it was just normal. You just did it, that’s basically it.
WAS IT ALWAYS THE PLAN TO BE AN ARTIST, OR WERE YOU PURSUING OTHER GOALS?
Yeah, I was, so my mum was actually a scientist and so I thought I’d just go into science. I initially went into environmental science because I really like the aspect of sustainability which is another reason I really felt connected to our HOLIDAY 2020 collaboration with the sustainable packaging. (What made you choose environmental science?) So I did environmental science to become a park ranger actually, but that didn’t work out! Then I thought, teaching could be alright, so became an art teacher and then from there I just did some work on Instagram and got known on Instagram. That’s how I went full-time, just through continuing doing the art, showing on Instagram, getting a bit of exposure here-and-there, and then it just took off by itself really.
WHAT'S THE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU'D GIVE SOMEONE WHO HAS AN ARTISTIC PASSION OR DREAM TO ENTER THE ART WORLD?
I would say, don’t listen to people who say you have to be ‘like this’ or ‘you have to do that’ to become an artist. Everyone’s an artist at the end of the day. I learnt this from teaching with little kids. You can be an artist as soon as you’re born basically if you like colour, that’s what you are. So don’t let anyone push you around or tell you, ‘you haven’t gone to this university’ or ‘you don’t know enough about artists from the renaissance’ or whatever it could be. If you like it and you’re 100% committed to it and you believe in it (even if you don’t 100% believe in it because you’re your worst critic) just continue on and do it because someone out there likes it. If that one person likes it, another 10 people that they know will like it, so it grows again. So just keep going, keep painting. I think Andy Warhol said it best, something along the lines of; ‘just keep painting, let the people decide if it’s good, but in the meantime keep painting.’ So just don’t stop!
“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”Andy Warhol
WHEN IT COMES TO HAIR, WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO LOOK?
I’ve come full circle actually. When I was younger I had long brown hair, and in the midsection of life, I had short hair, blonde hair and every kind of style under the sun. But now it’s back to brown and long. I just love the simple look. I like the ease of chucking it up in a ponytail or just having it down and putting a curl through it. But it’s pretty much a blank slate, I also like a nice clean colour. Low fuss!
TALK US THROUGH THE PRODUCTS YOUR USE IN YOUR DAILY HAIR CARE ROUTINE.
What I’m using at the moment is the DEEP CLEAN SHAMPOO with the purple massage brush (ahh yes our REPAIR MY HAIR Scalp Scrub Brush, how are you liking it?) oh I love it! I’m the kind of person with a scalp that needs to be massaged to help the blood keep flowing. Sometimes I do get an itchy scalp and that really helps! So I give my hair and scalp a good scrub and then I finish off with the HYDRATE MY HAIR CONDITIONER and afterwards, I use MIRACLE HAIR TREATMENT which makes my ends feel really nice. I love it. (You know, all of us in head office can’t live without that product) Yeah, it’s so good isn’t it, it also smells really nice!!
WHAT WOULD YOU LOVE TO RECEIVE THIS CHRISTMAS?
Ohhhh everything from ELEVEN Australia! Maybe 10 of everything (haha). All the brushes, the straightener, the curling iron, everything! (Well, I have a feeling Santa heard you Melanie 😉)
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU'D LIKE TO ADD?
I just hope that people think it’s got a really fun, fresh, feel! I also hope it brightens up salons and it gives people something nice to look at and that they feel great when they get the package. I think everyone deserves to have great hair but I also think everyone deserves to have art in their lives and you don’t have to be a millionaire to have art in your life. I hope that this package does a double deal!
A selection of images have been sourced from Pinterest and Instagram