About Jade Oakley

Jade Oakley Bio

Jade Oakley has been developing her craft for the past 12 years, mastering the mechanics and compositional perfection of Alexander Calder, the great 20th Century artist and inventor of the mobile. While Jade creates work of an intimate scale in delicate materials such as paper and silk, the kinetic beauty of her work is imminently suited to large scale public applications.

Jade is a technical genius, with an artistic eye, who trained under acclaimed public artist Jennifer Turpin. Throughout her career she has produced numerous public art commissions across Australia and internationally for clients such as Galaxy Casino, Crown Casino, Otto & Quay Restaurant and The Concord Centre for Mental Health.

Jade’s most significant public artwork to date is Sky Garden for the new Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. This work consists of perforated and hand painted laser cut aluminium angels and leaves which create a canopy of moving colour in the main entrance to the new hospital.

The hospital was awarded the most prestigious prize in the 2012 Australian Interior Design Awards — The Premier Award for Interior Design Excellence and Innovation.

Most recently, Jade has completed large scale public artworks for Royal North Shore Hospital, Westfield and the Wintergarden Building (Sydney City).

Photo montage with Jade Oakley and her mobile Honeytree II

Artist's statement

For the past 18 years I have been creating kinetic sculptures and for the past seven years I have made mobiles of all scales and in many different materials. Inspired by Alexander Calder, I enjoy working out the mechanics of complex kinetics in mobiles that move and dance in a variety of ways and create a continually changing visual spectacle.

In the last five years I have had the opportunity to scale up my more fragile gallery work to large settings including hospitals, restaurants, hotels, casinos and even railway stations. I work closely with designers, architects, engineers, and fabricators in a collaborative spirit to generate ideas that integrate into architectural spaces, responding to nuanced design requirements such as way finding and sense of place.

Through colour, composition and form the artworks themselves are often a response to a particular environment or landscape, creating a unique focal point for each setting, transforming and uplifting in a soft but dynamic way. I am inspired by nature and a love of colour and its composition.

The mobiles I build are infinitely flexible - adapting materials and their strength to the scale of the pieces and the size of the elements. I work in metal, silk, paper and polymers. I can work in fine wire or engineered stainless steel to achieve the same effects at all scales. I dye my own fabric and print my own paper and engage the help of subcontractors to scale up my work for more robust settings, overseeing the complex process of co-ordinating but always controlling and intervening to create a highly crafted artwork. My work is adaptable to many kinds of settings, indoor and outdoor, intimate spaces and especially large atria.

To me art is about communicating with the viewer and I am committed to communicating joy and peace through my art making. Alexander Calder was once asked why he didn't make a work about more serious subjects. he replied that he didn't have time. Neither do I.

Jade Oakley working on Ebb Tide II

Jade Oakley working on Ebb Tide II