Visuals / Interview
Gala Sphere
Words by Shelby De Fazio
Thursday 29th March, 2018

Madalene Roper aka Gala Sphere is best known for her vivid, dreamlike illustrations. You may have seen one of her tote bags or her zine ‘7 Tru Stories’ at the Heavy Collective pop up at RVCA corner gallery last year or at the Virgo Collective Market at the Gasometer Hotel in Melbourne.

Exerts from the zine ‘7 Tru Stories’

Madalene explains her illustrations as “an outlet for everything that happens internally”, as a way to process “feelings [she’s] had and can’t express in any other way” and her surreal graphics are peeks into alternative worlds that she constructs in this outlet. There’s something quite fluid and therapeutic about Madalene's style - she admits she “never really thinks about what [she’s] trying to say with a piece when creating it”. Instead, it’s a way of breaking down feelings and themes that have manifested in certain ways, her art becoming “like a sort of therapy or personal psychoanalysis, where [she] can learn things about what [she’s] thinking and feeling without even realising it until afterwards.”

Madalene has created a mini series for TJ, best explaining the breakdown of her fluent work and process by doing! She realises these works as a “reflection of wanting to hold onto the things [she] knows are beautiful and good about this world while going through a very stressful time”. The development of these pieces are a detailed representation of her state of mind going through a period of time with multiple relationships ending and starting and everything happening at once - the work’s evidently some of her most detailed and frantic to date.

While Madalene’s style is loose and experimental, strong elements of grid and pattern throughout her work are hints to her practice as a full-time graphic designer. Admittedly with little formal art education, Madalene’s illustrations are an experimental, creative outlet from the structure of graphic design projects and the 9 to 5 routine. On the side of full time work, Madalene is super busy juggling various personal projects and also creating music and DJing, confessing she “usually gets [her] best ideas on the way home from the club.” It’s evident that all of these aspects are huge informants for Madalene’s illustrations, but when asked for points of inspiration she claims Dali has been her “greatest inspiration for many years, though recently that has been less about his artistic output and more about his love of nonsense.” It’s the strong sense of both symbolism and ambiguity in Madalenes style that is so intriguing, evidently an outlet for herself and transporting viewers to her dreamy, alternative landscapes.

Expect to see more of Gala Sphere around with Madalene planning to create more prints and zines and even delving into t-shirt and tattoo design.