Artist Biography


René Teresa Campbell








Adelaide, South Australia


Visual Artist/Illustrator, Marine Ecology PhD Candidate




Flinders University (South Australia)


Available upon request

The world is but a canvas to our imagination
— Henry David Thoreau

René was born on the 30th December, 1993, in a small coastal town called Victor Harbour (near the city of Adelaide, South Australia). By the time she was three, her family moved to the suburbs closer to the Adelaide CBD. Some of René's earliest memories of Adelaide life involved drawing of some kind. She would copy her father's cartoon drawings of snakes, crocodiles and sharks and would wake up early each day to sit in front of the heater and draw various cartoon characters. She has always had a deep fascination with dragons and other mythological beasts and spent the majority of her time drawing these creatures in pen, crayon and markers. Other early artworks featured many drawings of reptiles, insects, dinosaurs, parrots, animated characters (e.g. Disney) and Nintendo characters such as Yoshi or Pokémon. René spent a lot of time drawing these subjects and improving them from kindergarten to early primary school years, and her passion and skill for drawing was quickly realised among her peers.

In her later primary schooling, René started to experiment more with pencil, graphite and even paint. She started to broaden her subject material by drawing full landscapes, animals and on a rare occasion, people. Rather than flat colour, René began to experiment with shading and exploring tonal values, and also began to use Microsoft Paint and Photoshop for the first time. Since exploring digital art, she began the process of uploading art to the web via Neopets, and then later had her first online gallery on DeviantArt. Lack of self-confidence caused René to stay within her comfort zone while she drew, and she often avoided entering art competitions of any kind. Despite this, her grades in her art subjects or creative projects excelled and she decided to follow a path towards an artistic career. 

René started to study art as an elective subject in 2007 at Blackwood High School. Her first project delighted her: to draw a fantasy creature! She ended up drawing a serpent in blue ballpoint pen and already her eye for lighting and detail had improved immensely. After that point, her drawings were recognised by her classmates and teachers and she started to receive a lot of attention both within and outside her art subjects. She won a competition in Year 8 for designing a recycling mascot and was also published in the Write 4 Fun's Art competition book in Year 9. René's teachers pushed her to experiment with a huge variety of mediums and subjects, to learn about art history and study previous artists' work, to practice colour theory and composition, to develop visual diaries and to explore themes. This form of learning frustrated René until she was in Year 10 (2009) as she still preferred to work in mediums and fantasy subjects that she was comfortable with.

In her senior high school years, René began to take more initiative in her artistic studies and theory work. She had previously experimented with 3D sculpture, collages and design but realised that drawing and illustration were more her interest. She also tried out acrylic and watercolour painting more frequently, and updated her digital tools to a large Wacom Intuos 4 tablet and Photoshop Elements 7. René started to share her work on early social media sites, such as Myspace and Facebook. In 2010, René's first and second Semester artworks were selected by the SACE board for the Year 12 SACE art exhibition. Her pieces were based on a modern take of the Seven Deadly Sins and anthropogenic destruction to the environment.

Since she had completed Year 12 art a year in advance, René spent Year 12 taking a photography class and practiced using her first DSLR camera: a Nikon D3100. She ended up making a photographic calendar focusing on night photography and things that glow (shown below). Throughout 2011, she started to break away from fantasy and tried her hand at realism using both traditional and digital mediums and photo referencing. René's photography work declined when she started University, however it is a hobby she wishes to pursue in the future,

From here on in, she started to focus on incorporating aesthetic geometric shapes and mechanical forms into her illustrations. She started to broaden her newfound style throughout her undergraduate degree by experimenting with colour, backgrounds and different mediums. This particular style defined René and ultimately started to get her shared around social media, published in art magazines and showcased at several group exhibitions. Unfortunately due to a high workload at both University and working in hospitality, René's artistic output decreased immensely in years 2014-2016. She continues to explore and evolve her signature style into present day and enjoys demonstrating the beauty found in nature. René has also started to incorporate more scientific or environmental messages into her work and has been commissioned by scientists and researchers from 2016 onwards. She aims to work towards a career in scientific illustration and communication and looks forward to expanding in these avenues in 2018.