Living with Koalas artist Sam Penninis

100 Artworks for a Koala entry by Sam PENNISI.    Title: ‘ Paradise Lost ‘   – scraperboard

living with Koalas artist - Sam Pennisi


Artist based in Queensland, Australia

100 Artworks for a Koala entry: Title: ‘ Paradise Lost  ‘

Size: W 30.5 cm x 42cm  | Medium: black ampersand scraper board and scraped the surface with a scalpel blade to create the image. 

“During the devastating bushfires much of the bush and its wildlife was destroyed. The loss of koalas and their habitat was heartbreaking to see and hear about. It was a very emotional time and I wanted to capture that emotion and sadness the only way I know how. I decided to do a stark, graphic black and white rendition of a koala set against a leafless forest of trees. My final touch to convey the sadness, the pain and loss of life and habitat is a single red tear drop.” Sam Pennisi

Sam Pennisi: “ I migrated to Australia from Italy as a 7 year old, way back in the 1960’s. We settled on an orchard near Stanthorpe (Queensland). I spent my formative years there learning to love the bush and it’s wildlife.

From a young age I loved painting with oils and painted European style landscapes which I sold to fund my move to Brisbane in my early 20’s. My artistic talents helped me gain employment in advertising as a Commercial Artist and Art Director at McCann Erickson and Leo Burnett. I was lucky enough to sketch the iconic Croc Hunter Steve Irwin, photograph the rugby league legend Allan Langer and work on the iconic 4xxxx commercials. When computers came along I parted ways with advertising. I just couldn’t get my head around using technology to do my job. I worked at a steel manufacturing plant and in 2009 I was diagnosed with Blood Cancer and a Brain Tumour. After the neurosurgery I had a strict 3 month rehabilitation plan, so I decided to paint. Over the next few years I regularly received treatment and during these times I again returned to art. During this time I found inner peace when painting and I pushed myself to improve and try new techniques. I am inspired by the colours and vibrancy of the Australian landscape and our amazing array of birds and animals and these are my favourite subjects. I stopped working a couple of years ago and I now have the opportunity to pursue my love of painting.” 

Sam PENNISI won a swag of awards as an advertising art director in the 1980’s and 90’s.

Recent Art Exhibitions:
2020 – Restart Mackay (2nd place)
2020 – Percival Animal Portrait Prize (Finalist)
2019 – Art on Show Mackay

Instagram: @samsgalleryandphotography 

Living with Koalas 100 artworks