Chelle Destefano is a profoundly Deaf visual artist and mixed medium artist, born in Melbourne, Australia. She works with painting, drawing, sculpture and often mixes those elements up together, and she also does art installation and performing arts.
She studied a bachelor of Visual Arts and Applied Design in Adelaide, South Australia from 2001 to 2006, receiving her degree in 2007.
Chelle had been a watercolour and acrylic painter, but has more recently in 2019 mixed sculpture with painting, drawing and performing, focusing on her research on Deaf Culture and language, particularly the visuals of spatial movement of the sign language, Auslan (Australian Sign Language). She created paper sculptures of spatial movements of Auslan, forming interesting shapes that made up a set of sculpture pieces for a sentence or whole story.
She did drawings of some of the sculpture pieces in charcoal, pastel and gouache, to emphasise on the stories and draw in audiences to think about what the pieces meant.
Chelle also did a performance in the Melbourne Fringe Festival, incorporating the Auslan sculptures, telling her stories of growing up Deaf in big performing acts and creating paper sculpture shapes of key points of the stories.
She has exhibited extensively from 2012 both as solo exhibitions and in group exhibitions around Melbourne, Adelaide, Queensland, Perth in Australia, and abroad in Europe and America.
Recently she was selected as a finalist in five different art prizes in Australia. Those were the Banyule Art Award for Works on Paper in Melbourne; the Lyn McCrea Memorial Drawing Prize at Noosa Regional Gallery in Noosa, Queensland, Australia; the Noel Counihan Memorial Award in Melbourne; the Midsumma Australia Post Art Prize in Melbourne, and the Linden New Art Postcard Art Show Prize. Her Auslan sculptures were the ones selected for those art prizes, and a couple of the art prizes selected her drawings of the Auslan sculptures.
Chelle was selected for two prestigious solo exhibitions in Melbourne and Sydney for 2020, one in January at the Incinerator Gallery, Melbourne and for October at the Sydney Art Space on Concourse, in Sydney which will showcase some of the works she will create during the Siena Art Institute Residency.