Beyond the Porthole

Sometimes we ignore the most interesting artifacts coastal living has to offer. Often times these artifacts and industrial materials are used so frequently we become too used to seeing them to think about what they could become outside of their normality.

Take for instance, the porthole. They're on factory ships, submarines, sailboats, cruise ships, the International Space Station, and military tankers. Brass and bronze portholes were commonly used since they are the most resistant to saltwater corrosion. Then, these portholes started appearing within home interiors being used as wall accent pieces, being included in front doors, and being used as bathroom decor pieces and even mirror frames.

But recently I met Amanda Donaldson of Nautical Style Art from Australia, and came across portholes being used in artwork. In all seriousness, I had never thought about portholes as art in my life. So I just had to ask Amanda a few questions on how she got the idea for her artwork and what inspires her. Check out the interview and Amanda's art, workshop, and more below!



1. Tell us a bit about yourself, and what coastal scenery inspires you.
I grew up on the waterfront of Sydney Harbor, and as an imaginative kid always wondered what lay beyond the watery farside, and underneath for that matter.
The timber mills used to store their logs on the river (during the 70's) and we would make our way, by swimming, hand-built rafts, or anything floatable to get to them; and there we would force the logs to roll, dip, and sway, just for amusing fun.
I have been drawing since I could grasp a crayon. Creative writing is my forte.


2. When did you begin up-cycling old portholes, and how did you get the idea to create your art? What do you hope people will see or feel when they look at your art?
Portholes, their shape being so round, to me they represent an escape or a relief through viewing; one never knows what the weather is outside until one looks outside. It is a fine line between life and death. Comfort and misery. That being a reminder of such things.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, my favorite movie, is where I first saw the most spectacular viewing porthole, and I have been cashing the scene ever since, but recreating them in my own way, hence my variations of them. They give light and life insight to another world from another perspective. Peacefulness. Solitude. Makes one curious. Even the cats on-board stare out into the ____ (whatever it may be at any given time). 


3. What's your favorite thing about living in Australia?
I love living in Australia, I was born here and know nearly the whole East coast like it's my backyard. I consider the entire country my backyard, so that makes me a "local wherever I go". I live near the boarder of Queensland and New South Wales, on the Eastern corner. There's so much freedom here and easy going, I live in a country like a town, where the community is friendly, kind, considerate, and involving. It's actually a large shire, but small, town and everyone knows of someone somewhere or another.


Below are some porthole interior design ideas for the home, quite creative ;)
Make sure to check out Nautical Style Art on Facebook!