Meet Paola Milani: local Brisbane artist and long-time friend of Perfect Potion. We have featured her beautiful art on an array of our potions, with the most recent being an absolutely breathtaking commission she created for Perfect Potion's 30th Anniversary: Flourish. This artwork, accompanying a special anniversary blend, embodies the heart and soul of Perfect Potion.
Did you always want to be an artist? What first inspired you to pursue your dream of becoming an artist?
I always needed to be creative as I was growing up and absorbed myself in learning as many artistic skills as possible; anything from welding to fabric printing to ceramics, drawing and painting. I had a desire to master as many skills as possible so that I could express myself creatively with whatever I had lying around. I think by the time I hit the end of high-school I knew there was no way around it and to much of my parents disappointment I enrolled to study Fine Arts at university. My parents had always encouraged my creativity but were concerned I would not end up with a job at the end of it, so I decided to do a double degree in Fine Arts and Media Arts. Media Arts went into film and photography, so gave my parents a bit more hope, haha. And I was happy because I got to explore all mediums now, not just painting, drawing and printmaking!
What are your favourite artistic mediums?
Haha gosh that is a tough one for me as there are so many mediums I work with, depending on what I’m creating. Currently focusing on oil painting but do love drawing and watercolor also… oh, and ceramics.
What are your main sources of inspiration as an artist?
Everything and anything. Everyday life, nature, conversations. I keep a journal and for me it’s a way of processing ideas and creating preliminary sketches. Inspiration is everywhere but I find journaling to be so important to the creative process. Things that are going on in the world, the way I react to it, this is all part of it. It’s hard for me to walk far without taking a photo too! I make notes of colours, angles, textures that I see all around me and use this as reference material to help me build visual narratives I’m working on.
Do you have any special rituals to help drop into a creative flow? What does your artistic process look like?
I don’t necessarily have a ritual but do have motivators! There is nothing like having an exhibition to work towards to keep those creative juices going !!! This year was a bit crazy as I had five exhibitions and so I was basically painting at every spare moment I had. I have a solo show coming up next year and am pacing myself so as to produce a strong body of work. Starting with many preliminary sketches to get a strong understanding of what I’m trying to achieve. It’s only then that I will pick up the brush to paint.
Your work often has a strong environmental message. Is art a form of activism for you?
Yes, I guess you could say it’s a form of activism for me.. Currently I’m producing works that have an emphasis on climate change and in particular the effects of bushfires, as well the changes I see in the weather around me.
Perfect Potion & Flourish
Your beautiful artworks have featured throughout Perfect Potion over the years. Do you have a favourite piece of work that you’ve created for us?
They are all so extremely different, it’s hard to pick one !!! I’m a sucker for botanical illustrations so I do love the Aromatherapy Essential oil kit. I also loved creating the collage cover for Sal’s Aromatherapy and Chakras Book.
When did your relationship with Perfect Potion begin?
If I remember correctly it began back in 2001. I had been working as an artist in Melbourne but then moved up to Brisbane in 1998. Everything was new to me and I had not found my feet with the local art scene, so I decided to study aromatherapy as a change of scene for a bit. This led me to working for Perfect Potion and eventually combining my two loves!
Your latest commission was the stunning Flourish artwork. Could you please tell us about this piece? What was the inspiration, are there any special symbols to look for, and what did you want to express through this artwork?
Thank you! Oh this was an exciting piece to do! Sal wanted something that represented Perfect Potion thus far for their 30th anniversary. But he also wanted something that represented the Flourish blend he had just created. Sal often gets me to smell scents he is working on as he knows I will instantly come up with a visual representation of what he has captured.
For the 30th anniversary image I wanted to capture things that represented the essence of Perfect Potion. The use of the lotus, which is also used in their logo, is a symbol of purity, enlightenment, self regeneration and rebirth. With this painting I created layers and layers of botanicals that represented the flourish scent for me. The ‘being’ I painted captures the essence of all the botanicals that were layered underneath her. To me she represents the Spirit of Nature.
The earth is a reddish brown colour - one that I felt captured the scent of the Australian Sandalwood that is used in the Flourish Blend. I also felt it captured the essence of this country. To me, this painting it more than just an image for Flourish, it’s an image that represents all that Perfect Potion stands for as a highly ethical Australian brand.
Do you have a favourite Perfect Potion product? Why do you love it?
You can’t ask me to narrow it down to one !!!! There are so many that I have as favorites! So for the skin first, people always comment on the condition of my skin and think I’m 20 years younger than what I am. I put it down to my favorite skin care product which is Skin Elixir Facial Oil. It really does make your skin look and feel soft and dewy. For scent I love Elixir of Wisdom Perfume as well as Eros Aromatic Mist. And my all time favorite essential oil blend has to be Zest !!! So incredibly refreshing and uplifting !!! A true hidden gem !