White Night Melbourne is returning on Saturday 17 February, bringing stunning projections, installations and interactive art to the city. Redbubble and State Library Victoria, one of the world’s leading cultural institutions, are teaming up to add their own touch of magic.

The work of ten #CreateArtHistory competition finalists will be brought to life on the State Library façade for all of Melbourne to see. It will be a vibrant celebration of the amazing work created by the Redbubble community and artists around the world.

See the artists, their work and their artist statements below.

Explore by Natasha Sim

Explore by Natasha Sims was the first prize winner in our #CreateArtHistory competition, taking inspiration from our weird and wonderful creatures collection images.

Natasha’s artist statement:

‘My parents are migrants from Malaysia, who moved to Melbourne to start a family. When I was a kid, my dad would frequently take me to the local library and encourage me to read, so that I would learn how to speak and write English well.

‘I was never allowed out much when I was small, but reading books allowed me to learn about the world and travel to different places. I was particularly interested in stories about peculiar creatures encountered by explorers.

‘This illustration is a tribute to the explorers who catalogued those peculiar creatures, and to the power of books to take readers to new and strange lands.’

Victoria by Frank Moth

Frank Moth was #CreateArtHistory’s second-place winner combined images of Melbourne and our botanical collection.

Frank Moth’s artist statement:

‘We’ll never be alone as long as books make imagination blossom in our Heads.’

Fantastic Botanical by Paul Summerfield

#CreateArtHistory’s third prize winner, Fantastic Botanical combined books and images from our botanical collection.

‘These images are from rare books in the Library’s collection. The illustrations when combined together make a wonderfully colourful and textural landscape with hidden details.’

Laura’s artist statement:

‘The theme that inspired me is ‘Magic’. I started from the amazing illustration you gave and I applied a more modern connotation to it. It would be fun to see how 1800s people could approach virtual reality – they would certainly have thought it a sort of magic.’

Browse Laura’s Redbubble shop

Magical Creature Folk Art (Lamia) by Anna Bucciarelli

Browse Anna’s Redbubble shop

Paradise Corrupt by Liis Roden

Liis’s artist statement:

‘Painted lush paradise floral pattern glitched by rogue code, it’s a disease corrupting reality. Philip K Dick would approve.’

Browse Liis’ Redbubble shop

X Marks the Spot by James Ormiston

James’s artist statement:

‘When you look closely at the drawing you can see these tiny letters beside each species. These letters presumably once corresponded to a key that would denote the name of the species being depicted, but since the key is missing, we are left with these mysterious letters floating around.

‘In my reworking I tried to capture what a dive photographer might see in this world. A huge shoal of fish, and their letters in tow, spot lit by the divers torch.’

Browse James’ Redbubble shop

Whimsical Pop Botanical Flea by Rendra

Browse Rendra’s Redbubble shop

Birth by Hector Mansilla

Browse Hector’s Redbubble shop

The Blossoming of Venus by Mathijs Vissers

Mathijs’s artist statement:

‘Following the Birth Of Venus, this is the Blossoming of Venus. A coming of age story, blossoming youth, with all the gritty and rough experiences that shape a person.

‘A combination between the classic botanical illustrations and the rough aesthetic of modern abstract art and street art.’

Browse Mathijs’ Redbubble shop

That’s not all. Inside the State Library’s famous domed La Trobe Reading Room, The secret life of books will let you see what happens after the crowds leave. Thousands of books sit quietly side by side, their covers closed, waiting to be opened again. Or do they?

You may need a break after all of that. Drop into the Library’s Cowen Gallery and create your own masterpiece with colouring and origami, or just pull up a bean bag and enjoy the surrounding artworks.

#CreateArtHistory was a competition run by State Library Victoria and Redbubble. We challenged artists worldwide to design new work inspired by the Library’s vast collection. Thousands of artists reimagined historic images from three  themes: MagicWeird & wonderful creatures and Botanicals, dating back as far as 1493.

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