Maree Coote wears many hats: writer, artist, maker, photographer and publisher. For this she blames the over-stimulation of a successful and award-winning career in advertising, and brilliant training at RMIT.
But it's her love for her home city that drives all her endeavours.
Maree's attempts to begin a Melbourne magazine in 1995 were met with blank stares and responses like: "Who'd want to read a magazine about Melbourne?"
Galvanised by her passion for the city, she determined to bring Melbourne's stories to a new audience, and published her first book in 2003 - The Melbourne Book: A History of Now.
As both writer and photographer of The Melbourne Book, she created a much-loved favourite, now flourishing after ten years and four editions, it has been dubbed Melbourne's 'Bible'. The Melbourne Book invigorates history for locals and visitors alike, bringing the stories of the city's past to life with colour, relevance, empathy and style. Coote reviews the accounts of 'dead white men' and discovers for herself the real tales that belong to us all, and the wonder, charm, folly and humanity of both the remote and the very recent past.
Coote discovered the shocking lack of women in Melbourne's statuary back in 1999,
and wrote about The Lost Women in all four editions of the Melbourne Book.
According to Philip Adams: "Melbourne nver had such an ingenious ambassador."
WINNER 2015 NEW YORK IPPY GOLD - Best Regional Non-Fiction
And in another remarkable expression of her sense of place, Maree has created a unique new visual language, and a new boardbook for bubs, ALPHABET CITY MELBOURNE. A first in the world at its time of launch, dubbed the 'son of the Melbourne Book' this chunky little reader is a great way to learn the letters of the A-B-C while getting to know the city and establishing a sense of place for young readers.
Part of a greater design project (see www.alphabet-city.com.au), Coote has created artworks and other items on this theme.
But Maree is also a designer and artist: creator of The Melbourne Cups and Saucers - a ceramic pun and best seller gift item; designer of the Melbourne Scarves, a limited edition collection of luxe silk scarves on a Melbourne theme; maker of The Melbourne Cushions, featuring her own illustrations of Melbourne's buildings; and proprietor of Melbournestyle, a retail headquarters filled with her books, jewellery, homewares and many other products - all on a Melbourne theme.
In her recent Royal Historical Society of Victoria award-winning book of 2012 The Art of Being Melbourne - Coote creates a clever history of Melbourne as seen through artworks of Melbourne's urban landscape. Art meet History as she tracks the Melbourne zeitgeist through 20 decades of art from 1835 to today.
For the first time, colonial mavericks, Impressionsist masters, iconic Moderns and young contemporaries come together in a single volume to describe the city, its development, and the parallel invocation of our culture and identity.
In 2014, The Art of Being Melbourne won the New York Independent Publisher Award: Gold Best Non-Fiction Regional.
IN 2013, Maree added a new children's title to her portfolio entitled When You Go To Melbourne, offically launched in February 2013. Again this is Melbourne's story told in yet another format, for yet another audience.
A sellout in just 3 months, this title enjoys multiple reprints and a growing fanbase of adults and children.
In 2014, Maree launched two new picture books and a brand new design language. She has devised a new form of Concrete Poetry, (visual poetry) for the digital age - where the letters that spell the subject are used to create the image.
In Letters from Melbourne and
Alphabet City Zoo, she has created something new and unique.
Concrete Poetry was born at the turn of the 20th century at the hands of Dadaists and Futurists, and uses sentences and paragraphs to form abstract concepts into a type-based imagery. But Coote's version uses only letters - and only those that spell the subject's name - to create the image to create a kind of picto-anagram. The work is born of her facility with logo design and typography. She has named the Letter Art device the 'Fontigram'.
ALPHABET CITY ZOO
WINNER: DISTINCTION NAMI ISLAND NAMI CONCOURS AWARDS, STH KOREA 2017
In 2016, Maree launched a typographic omnibus called SPELLBOUND:
Making Pictures with the A-B-C, which further develops her new typographical project. Maree deliverately orientates this work to a global audience, but maintains a healthy swag of pictures of Melbourne people, places and things among the panoply of images it contains.
"I want Melbourne kids to be able to see their own places and stories in the books on their shelves, to see their own place as equally valid and valuable and full of possibilities as anywhere else in the world."
WINNER: SPECIAL MENTION
BOLOGNA RAGAZZI AWARD 2017, ITALY
SHORTLISTED: CBCA AWARDS 2017, AUSTRALIA
IN 2017 Melbournestyle Books launched a new children's publishing portal CLEVERKIDS.
In 2017, two new children's picture books were launched - both on creative careers. The first of these is titles ANDY WEB: ARTIST , which tells the story of an ambitious young spider with big dreams.
Launched by Dr. Olivia Meehan at the Ian Potter Museum at the NGV, this book was showcased on the CBCA Noteables List 2018.
In 2017, the second of these is titles ROBYN BOID: ARCHITECT , which tells the story of an dedicated and industrious yourng bird who wants to be an archiect on day. Launched by Peter Maddison of Grand Designs Australia in May 2017 at the Robin Boyd Foundation's Walsh Street House.
CBCA Noteables List
In February 2018, Maree launched LETTERS FROM NEW YORK, the latest in her award-winning typographic design work. This bright and enlightening tour of NYC includes amusing anecdotes about NYC while presenting imagery that is made of letters for eager readers to unpuzzle, spell and wonder. Winner of the Silver Moonbeam Award, USA.
Also in 2018, ALPHABEASTS was added to the collection of letter Art books for children.
In 2019, Maree launched LETTERS FROM AUSTRALIA a letter-filled frolic around the continent, through every state and territory. A great book for children and for tourists ......
....and soon followed this with ANIMOLOGY, in the same year. This 'Big book of Alphabeasts' was awarded the 2019 Foreword Reviews Indies Honorable Mention prize .
In February 2020, in a return to local history, Maree launched AZARIA: A TRUE HISTORY, a remarkable book about one of Australia's most famous miscarriages of justice. This beautifully illustrated and sensitve telling of an iconic true story is a redemptive tale of forgiveness. Extensive teachers' Notes make it a valuable classroom resource for deeper study.
In June 2020, DOGOGRAPHY was launched. This is the seventh in a series of typographical puzzle and grapics books for children. Coote's Letter Art device is unique and is a great way to introduce children to type and graphics, to enhance their observation skills and spelling skills, and to encourage creative lateral thinking.
In August 2020, Melbourne's much-loved favourite WHEN YOU GO TO MELBOURNE was reprinted for the 5th time, this time in soft cover. And this time, with a tribute to Sisto Malaspina, heart and soul of Pellegrini's cafe at the top of Bourke Street. A new dedication was added to the book, as well as a subtle illustration update: Maree has added Sisto's name as a badge on the red scooter parked outside Pellegrini's Espresso Bar in the book. Filled with puzzles and hidden objects to find as you tour the city, this delightful children's book is a happy, informative and nonsense romp around the city of style.
In 2021, the amazing and extraordinary LETTERHEADS: Typographic Portraits was launched. Further pursuing her typographic passions, Maree presents this remarkable collection of portraits of the rich and famous... musicians and mavericks, darlings and divas, heros and horrors. The likenesses are all created using only the letters of the subjects name.
Coupled with the book is a series of animated shorts that take Coote's typographic 'Fontigrams' to the next level. This unique work and has been exhibited in Italy and South Korea.
In 2022, DAUGHTERS OF MELBOURNE: A Guide to the Invisible Statues of Melbourne was launched.
In yet another unique take on Melbourne's history, Maree examines the lack of women in our statuary, our history-telling, and our culture. This is the first book survey looking at two centuries of Melbourne women in order to highlight key female contributors to the culture, commerce and community of Melbourne.
Maree understands Melbourne's unique advantage well, and her many creative passions converge in her studies of Melbourne's history, which has been the focus of her work in object design and in publishing over the past ten years.
Maree is passionate about a sense of place and history, and she brings this to life in multiple platforms for multiple audiences. Her affinity for Melbourne is unique and highly informed. Her skill is in bringing ideas to life, and communicating ideas to any audience 'in whatever form gives them most power: books, objects, artwork, song, stories, design, environments, film... it's all story-telling, it's all communication.".
SPEAKING EVENTS & BOOKING DETAILS:
Talk 1: The Daughters of Melbourne: A Guide to the Invisible Statues of Melbourne (Melbourne women's history) http://www.melbournestyle.com.au/DAUGHTERS_OF_MELBOURNE.html
Talk 2: THE ART OF BEING MELBOURNE (Melbourne's Art movements and history) http://www.melbournestyle.com.au/TheARTofBEINGMELBOURNEbook.html
Talk 3: THE MELBOURNE BOOK - A History of Now (Melbourne history) http://www.melbournestyle.com.au/TheARTofBEINGMELBOURNEbook.html
45 mins tal plus 15 Q&A =1hr
Includes powerpoint/video presentation of images material and talk.
BOOKINGS please contact: BOOKED OUT https://bookedout.com.au/find-a-speaker/author/maree-coote/
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