Can you tell us about your journey as an artist and a little insight into your creative process?
The journey to where I am today has been pretty varied. It’s strange to look back at habits I had when I was wee and relate it to where my work is now. I am slowly learning to give into the work I produce and recognise I am never going to be the wild expressionist, free painter I want to be and be happy with where and what I am. I am a total control freak and a perfectionist. Looking back, my earliest memories are spent with my gran and my best friend in the back garden colouring graphic patterns for hours in the summer holidays, which related to my current works completely. I still hold the discipline and the method of ‘colouring inside the lines’. My gran played a very important role in my early development, as did my mum who are both incredible artist. I was never a kid who could sit through a movie and got bored easily (which drove everyone mental). I spent a lot of time with my gran who would set up still lifes and teach me about composition and shade. My journey to art school started with Fashion trying to think how to get work in a creative roll. After graduating from Manchester School of Art my husband, then beau, pitched Melbourne and we packed our bags and have been here coming on 9 years. Working for Pop & Scott as there pot painter working with Poppy on designs and ranges reconnected me with my practice and the shape study series was born. I had to go back to the basic principles of mark making and composition building as my starting point.
My creative process is pretty controlled and is set by my environment. It’s funny because I am such a creature of habit (total Taurus) yet struggle with keeping routine, which is a huge contradiction. I currently have limited, set days to paint which can be challenge to switch on and off but each paint day always starts with resetting my space which is actually my living/ dining room. I declutter, open all the books and magazines that inspire me and set out my clean brushes, fresh water and the selection of paints, depending on the current palette or brief. The products I work with are so important and always make sure I work with the best quality paints and papers. Music is really important for getting me in the right frame of mind to paint, I often paint to Ludovico Einaudi – Una Mattina.
What does originality mean to you?
Originality is confidence and the belief that what your doing is important. I guess like everyone, I am trying to carve out my own little part in history, leaving something behind.
Your artwork explores symmetry and balance, with minimalist studies of shape composition. Where do you find your inspiration as an artist?
I find it everywhere. An idea can be sparked by a simple conversation or a window of a building. I am constantly soaking up my surroundings. Steve and I have always collected books and fine art magazines and watch a lot of documentaries on the old masters which constantly fills your gut with that ache to chase something bigger.
What local creatives are you most inspired by?
Mostly, to be completely honest, I am inspired by my husband Steve (den holm). Without trying to sound too smooshie he inspires me constantly, his drive and ambition is so infectious and his work is so diverse and new it makes me want to be a better artist. We have the perfect balance of a little competition both being artists, which pushes when either is feeling a little flat. I’m really into local furniture designer CJ Anderson, particularly his Soigne shair and the art work of Australian artist Tom Polo.
We loved working with you for our Holiday ‘19 collection, to help raise awareness for the Great Barrier Reef Foundation. Is marine conservation something that is close to your heart?
Very much so. When I first discovered that BEAR worked closely with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation it made me love you so much more. It’s so important to educate yourself and those around you on the effects we and everything we buy into has on the planet and our oceans. To go beyond cautiously re-evaluating my own effect on the planet and my contribution to waste and pollution and actually using my work to not only raise awareness but also to contribute to a charity actively finding solutions to the threats facing Australia’s reef is something I am passionate about.
You’re the Artistic Director for The Little Company in Byron Bay, a project you worked on with your husband, fellow artist and furniture maker Steve Clark of Den Holm. How did you bring your vision to life for the modern wellness space?
I worked on Little Company 2.0 in Byron closely with co-owner Kent Pomare and Steve to create a calming space layered with texture with a tonal, muted palette. It was really important to capture the ethos of Little Company and their initiative approach to skincare and sustainable practices throughout the whole space. We worked on a space that would take you inward and allow you to totally relax and switch off from the moment you walked through the door. From the natural, calming texture of the South Australian limestone used in the Den Holms side tables and custom made tiles (recycled from waste products), to the soft rendered walls, raw concrete floors and textiles throughout the space. Every detail was a considered, deliberate choice from the smell of the space, to the smallest detail. The space had to function effortlessly with relaxation and calmness being the centre of the design. Having never worked on the interior of a space before, it was an incredible experience. Kent and I work so well together as a team usually floating off on a dream with Steve pulling us back to reality.
What exciting projects are coming up that you can share?
Well obviously the amazing collaboration with BEAR is top of the list.
I recently shot the new raw, unedited billboard campaign for Tooshies by Tom, which was huge and an incredible honor to be part of such an intimate and important project. I have also been working on an exciting project with a luxury Spanish brand on a custom wallpaper design that will hopefully launch soon. A few new print designs, a new body of work obsessing over a new shade of blue I can’t get out of my head and most excitedly a range of small sculptures I am trying to get complete for xmas.