Simon Mclean

How did you first come to your artistic practice?

I’ve always drawn for as long as I can remember. With no great aspirations to any particular avenue of the arts, it was kind of an innate thing that I was inevitably just going to do in some way. I’ve been a freelance artist Illustrator with no other invisible means of support from day one for all my working life.

How would you describe your style?


I have several styles emanating from a catalogue of humorous cartoon-esque genre pieces. Humour is important to the work and it reflects in my life, my attitude, and my art. The work has been described as illustrative, figurative, fun and even “disturbingly hilarious” in the case of my gallery exhibited work.

My work with Virtual Environments comes from more my children’s book illustration characters and situations which are bright, cute, happy, fun, and hopefully thoughtful. 

Where can we find your artwork out in the wild?

My artwork is in all sorts of places. Books, posters, clothing, merchandise, apps, public art, murals, sculpture, numerous selected galleries and finally in private collections.

How did you first begin your relationship with Virtual Environments?

Our first collaboration was within the hospital environment in childrens’ wards where my cartoonish, storybook illustration style best suits the situ, with softer, more gentle illustrations featured and inspired by the myriad of Australian wildlife and environs. 

Where can we find your artwork in partnership with Virtual Environments?

We’ve collaborated on various children’s units within the Gold Coast Griffith University Hospital precinct as well as Robina and Palm Beach Day Procedure Clinics with more projects in the works as we speak.

Do you have a personal favourite piece of your own?

Within the Virtual Environments repertoire we have a large underwater gathering of whales, dolphins, seals etc. and another long wall of turtle hatchlings ploughing through the sea which are both quite large walls, say six or more metres long, stretching from floor to ceiling which are quite dramatic and fun.

Which piece of art do you consider most inspirational?

I appreciate the effort that goes into any good art and note lots of artists whose work I admire. As in music, my tastes are diverse.

Many of my friends are fellow arts workers and to have a personal connection to the art via its creator is always extra meaningful.

Do you have any tips for emerging artists keen to establish themselves either artistically or commercially? Or both?

Do the art, strive to be original, do what comes from your gut… (a diploma in marketing would also help… haha) 

These days social media takes care of that and most young artists are also competent geeks, so they’ve pretty much got the world at their finger tips. They’ve got it covered.

What is it about large scale art that you think gives it the power to, for example, help patients recover from surgeries more quickly?

It’s about distraction, isn’t it?  Some happy distraction from the reality of why a person finds themselves in a hospital waiting room or procedure room in the first place. A moment of visual pleasure.

The days of dank grey walls are over.

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