Meet the local creative behind these unique artworks
If you’re a regular of reading our HH content, there’s a good chance you’ve seen us mention the works of Squidless Studios. From being hung within the gallery space at Newcastle CBD-based studio, Tatt Bratt, inside the newly opened Betty Loves Books, and the beautiful mural over at The Conscious Exchange.
The creative behind these truly unique, quirky, colourful pieces is Gloucester-born, now Newcastle-based artist, Madison Battams.
The charismatic, yet incredibly humble artist exudes creativity, not only in her work but throughout her home and studio, where we were welcomed to get a behind-the-scenes look into the world of Squidless Studios and chat with Madison about her upcoming plans.
What brought you to Newcastle?
“I moved up to Newcastle about three years ago after my boyfriend who was already living here. I don’t know if you know Gloucester, but it’s quite small and a lot of people from there end up moving to Newcastle! It’s a really nice middle ground and I love Newcastle because it’s so artsy.”
Tell me a bit about your background. Have you always been creative?
“I’ve always been artsy, and my family is artsy too. My nan makes birthday cards for me every single year which are always really dramatic. My other nan does lots of mosaics and painting, and my dad would even make stick figurines out of old rakes and put them in the garden. So, it definitely is in the family, and I’ve always been interested in creating.
“I did my HSC three years ago and the work I do now is a bit of a spin-off from that. When I left school, the works were still fresh in my mind, but then covid happened. I had all of this free time, so I just had a reason to start because of the covid lockdowns really.”
So, how did the concept for starting Squidless Studios come about?
“I had just posted on my Instagram story this one painting that I had done, pretty much immediately someone had swiped up and asked to purchase it. I had just made it for fun because I had nothing else to do, but then lots of people were asking about it.
“I wanted to make a bit of an Instagram handle to really showcase what I could do and then I used this colour of pink that I love to create a logo and that was really the catalyst for launching Squidless Studios.”
Speaking of the name, Squidless Studios, it’s so quirky, and it totally matches your work; what exactly does it represent?
“I was sitting in a Thai restaurant in Gloucester with my partner and we were talking about baby names. I thought the name squid was the cutest name ever, and I went with Squidless because I’ve got no squid! It actually works really well because when I first started the business, I didn’t want it to be my name, I wanted something quirky, and it’s got a really nice ring to it.”
Talk to me about how the mural project at Islington’s The Conscious Exchange came about…
“When Emma first opened up The Conscious Exchange, I had actually wanted to get my work in there, but because I was originally doing a lot of pinks and purples, it wasn’t really their vibe. Then she saw some stuff that I had in Fever Dream, and she asked if I would do a mural. I spent a whole day just after New Year doing that.”
And what about the exhibiting of your works at Newcastle CBD’s Tatt Bratt?
“When Zoe Jones from Tatt Bratt messaged me, I had a little fan girl moment. I have known so many people that are still on her waiting list. She messaged saying she was opening up a studio, and I got to go and see it in the works and hang some of my work; it was so great!”
Is there something in particular that inspires your style of work?
“Literally, I just had a blank wall, and I could not find anything that I liked enough to want to hang up. Nothing had the exact colour palette or vibe that I wanted. So, when I started, it was literally because I wanted to create work that I would hang in my own house. It started that way, and it’s just ended up here.
“My style really hasn’t changed since that first time; I’m just exploring different colour palettes. I have a few different distinct palettes like beige, and then blues. The noses haven’t changed and neither have the lips. I find that having something distinct with each piece ties them all together.”
Do you have any big future plans, projects, or exhibitions you can tell us about?
“I’m doing an exhibition at Suspension in Islington in September. I will have some work in there to have a look at. I think they’ll be there for about four weeks; 6th September until 3rd October. I’m also going to be on the lookout for a few more places to be able to showcase my work.
“Ultimately, I would love to be able to get to a point where I can do this full time or even have a little shop. I have been thinking about getting a sister sort of company as well and creating some apparel products.”
Currently, you can browse a handful of Squidless Studios prints in-store at both Betty Loves Books at The Station and LAATE Supply on Hunter St. If you want to browse her full selection, check out the Squidless Studios website online here or drop into the Squidless Studios Etsy store.
We’re so excited to see what the future holds for this incredibly talented up-and-coming artist in Newcastle. To stay up-to-date with all things Squidless Studios, make sure to follow along on her journey on Instagram here.