My Melbourne exhibition at the Hills Hub in Emerald

Aldo Bellemo in his studio in The Patch. PICTURES: SUPPLIED

By Tyler Wright

Aldo Bellemo, a retired architect and resident of The Patch, is bringing his exhibition ‘My Melbourne’ to the Hills Hub in Emerald from Tuesday 16 August until Saturday 3 September.

Aldo reflects on what he calls the unbelievable development of Melbourne over the past 20 years.

“I look into Melbourne from a retired architect’s perspective,” Aldo said.

“How buildings impact on their immediate surroundings and on the city itself. How old and new stand side by side. Do they fulfill their purpose?

Do they change the historical character of the street? Are they inviting, welcoming the ones who use them? Does the human get lost in this new environment?”

Aldo’s inspiration came back in around 2017 when reading an article in The Age.

Abbotsford residents had posed concerns over plans to build a high-rise building set to block the iconic ‘Skipping Girl Vinegar Sign’ from view.

In an effort reflect these concerns Aldo went to the site with sketches, took photos and went back to his studio to create a painting.

“I’ve done a big hole in front of the building of the skipping girl, and then I drew another girl dressed like a skipping girl on the footpath,” Aldo said.

“The second skipping girl [is] walking away from the building on the footpath and she’s asking, ‘where am I going to skip now?

“I made a point. Because a lot of people in Abbotsford were not happy that this multi-storey building was gone to hide this iconic thing like the skipping girl.”

Since then, Aldo has painted old and new buildings from the RMIT campus on Swanston Street, families along the Yarra River’s Princes Bridge and the Royal Melbourne Hospital; some even incorporating characters Arlechino from Bergamo, Pulcinella from Naples and the Doctor from Bologna, comedians originating from Italy in the 15th century.

“They all have a purpose next to the buildings. For instance Arlechino in ‘This space suits me’ is amazed by the interior of Federation Square. The volume of this space; colourful like he is and irregular impresses him so much that he finds this place irresistible. It suits him. And so on,” Aldo said.

Aldo also used books about period houses in the colonial period in Melbourne to accurately depict the original architect’s technique in his own paintings.

“I do look at the different types of columns; the Corinthian column, the Doric column,” Aldo said.

“When I did the library of Melbourne (State Library), I had to look at the detail; those columns there from technical books, because I just wanted to do the right thing. I didn’t want to draw a column of that period building which gives me another history behind it, I just wanted to stick to the details that that column is all about.”

Aldo has previously exhibited his work in galleries including Quadrant Gallery and Gallery Elysium in Hawthorn.

Having already sold 11 paintings from ‘My Melbourne,’ it is hoped these will be displayed digitally while roughly 23 other paintings will be available for sale at the exhibition.

“I’m quite sure the viewers will see them from many other perspectives. That’s the beauty of art,” Aldo said.

The Hills Hub is located at 402 Belgrave-Gembrook Rd, Emerald VIC 3782.