aboriginal artist: Janelle Stockman

Janelle Stockman (born 1980 – 2009 deceased), was a very talented and established aboriginal artist whose paintings are in demand for their unique contemporary style.

Janelle divided her time between Utopia with her husband’s family (Mary Morton, Lucky Morton and Sarah Morton to name a few) and her traditional home land at both Hermannsburg and Papunya in Central Australia. Billy Stockman, who is famed for being one of the original members of the early Papunya Tula aboriginal artists is Janelle’s grandfather, which drew an obvious pride in Janelle at the mention of his name.

Janelle’s paintings have always been very contemporary in style because she wanted to do something totally different to everyone else. Janelle drew inspiration from a number of places including the landscape and a dream to be a famed artist like her grandfather some day.

Her works do not tell a story of her ancient dreamtime but were simply an expression of herself. Janelle had always said that she paints from within, acknowledging the freedom of her expression. She loved mixing beautiful colours, whether they were bright or pastel, or making a bold statement with black and white. She said that the colours of the bush and her environment were all of these colours.

One of Janelle’s most recognized designs was that of the desert sand hills. Inspired by their shape, Janelle depicted them as contemporary designs and was able to create both subtle and electrified representations. Other well recognized designs that followed were her Thirsty Lands series, Dancing Bird Spirits and Fire Sparks. Other styles that reflected Janelle’s aptitude for contemporary art included coloured acrylics that were poured onto the canvas directed by Janelle’s hand or left to drip down after the canvas had been hung on a clothesline; a dump-dump style where small brush dots were integrated with each other; ringlets of colourful swirls that were applied with a brush as if it were a ballerina dancing across the canvas; and concentric circles and other designs that were applied by hair dye bottles (emptied and filled with acrylics).

Janelle was keen to become one of Australia’s top artists. From the moment her new designs surfaced, her work was admired by many and featured in many exhibitions. In April 2005 Janelle had her first solo exhibition, in May 2006 she visited Sydney for the first time for an exhibition featuring her sand hill paintings and her work has been shown throughout the USA. Sadly Janelle’s life was cut short in a road accident in Central Australia in 2009 but her paintings remain her legacy.