Some of the many things I love about painting are – being alone in my happy place, slowing down, turning intangible ideas into physical images, letting go and letting the oil paint tell me what to do, discovering surprisingly satisfying colour combos, listening to audiobooks while painting.
What inspires you to create your pieces?
A desire to make sense of the world, and to turn nothing into something.
Best piece of advice you have ever received? (doesn’t have to be art related)
Don’t overthink things (I don’t always follow this advice though!)
'Carrying unseen weight as a form of care'
If you had to describe your style in 3 words, what would they be?
Minimal, patterned, loose.
Walk us through a typical day at the studio?
7am – On a studio day I generally try to go for a jog or a Barre class first to start the morning feeling refreshed and centred.
8am – I have some brekkie and a black coffee over the paper. My partner and I recently made a luxurious purchase and bought a mint green Moccamaster, which makes delicious drip filter coffee. We’d just gotten back from the States and had become weirdly obsessed with their dirt-cheap drip coffee.
9am – I then walk 5 minutes down the road to my studio in Collingwood.
9am–6pm – I try to work regular office hours in my studio because I’m the most productive that way. If I don’t have specific hours I find that I wander in and out for coffees and catch ups and house chores all day—the curse of living close by!—and don’t really get much done.
Every day in the studio can be different depending on whether I’m working on a body of work for a show or figuring out my next project in-between shows. There’s a lot of laptop work during the in-between times, where I’ll be writing up applications for exhibitions, prizes or residency open calls.
During painting sessions I’ll often have one or two or three big paintings on the go that I try to jump straight into in the morning, because I seem to be the least distracted between 9am and 12pm. I usually chuck my headphones on and listen to an audiobook or NTS Radio (I am a big fan of Questing with Zakia, because she’s a mega honey and always plays ambient jazzy soul tunes) while I get lost in pushing around colour on canvas. This is my favourite space to be in.
I try to answer emails and do general admin during the afternoon slump hours, then I normally squeeze in an hour or two more of painting before trotting home to an amazing home-cooked meal made by my lovely partner in crime.
'Lost, you linger (pin cushion hakea)'
What has been the most exciting thing you have done in your career to date?
I recently returned from a 3-month residency at the NARS Foundation in New York, which was one of the most amazing experiences for my art practice! I got to paint full-time in a huge and brightly-lit studio, had artists/gallerists/curators/writers visit my space to talk about my work, went on gallery visits with fellow resident artists, took part in an open studio weekend, had a group exhibition and met some truly inspiring artists and arts professionals. The art scene in New York is also at another level, particularly for painting. I found that my practice took definitely shifted after my time in New York, and has given me a really wonderful momentum that I’m still riding on in Melbourne. There are definitely some exciting things in the work. I’m also really excited to be a finalist in the ‘churchie national emerging art prize’, and am showing in the finalist exhibition that is open now at the Institute of Modern Art in Brisbane until 21 December 2019 – for anyone out that way who’d like to take a look!
What is one thing you want to achieve in the next 5 years?
My dream for the next five years is to be able to sustain myself financially as a full-time artist (it could be more of a 10 year goal though to be honest). Being an artist is financially unpredictable and often involves juggling many different income sources at once. I currently work four days a week as a store manager at Melbourne Artists’ Supplies in Brunswick, which I absolutely love as I’m surrounded by the best colleagues, creative customers and colourful art supplies all day! This means that I only get two or three days in the studio per week, and I’d really love to be able to dedicate more time to my practice in the future.
'She told me she would plant me a garden'
If you could pick one place to see your art hanging, where would it be and why?
In the Australian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, because I’d be representing Australia surrounded by some of the most talented artists from around the world.
What or who inspires you to do what you do on a daily basis?
My partner Vaughn who is always supportive and is also an inspiring workaholic who procrastinates by working on one or many side projects; other artists who are making beautiful, thoughtful and important work; novels and poetry—I am a book addict and have had many a library card cut-off due to excessive book loans and their resulting fines! Spending time in nature with friends and looking after my mind and body through exercise, eating and sleeping well is also a huge creativity boost and helps me to get through the tough times as an artist with much less stress or anxiety. A good spritz also does the job.
'Garden of no time'
One book everyone should read? Why?
I’m currently reading The Overstory by Richard Powers, which intertwines the stories of nine characters and their relationship to trees, following each character as they find their own form of activism against deforestation. It’s beautifully written and has had me looking at the trees outside my bedroom window with renewed wonder. It also won the Pulitzer Prize this year, which seems timely as the human-induced destruction of the natural world is a major issue right now.
What does ethical fashion mean to you? And what is the most important thing you think brands should focus on?
Using materials that are kind to the planet, paying a fair wage to everyone involved in the production of garments, and championing diversity and inclusivity within the fashion industry. I love seeing First Nations models wearing Lois Hazel, and I think it’s really important for brands to consider how they are putting their clothing out into the world and how they can make a difference through conscious and inclusive decisions.
'Holding you, holding her, holding all women everywhere'
Favourite piece from the current range?
I love love love the Fold Dress! Elegant, but also casual and fun.
Are there any other artists out there in your world that you think people should know about?
Too many to name – but one of my favourite painters in the world is Njideka Akunyili Crosby who makes the most beautiful figurative works exploring her experiences of diaspora as a Nigerian-American woman. I got to see one of her paintings in real life while I was in Los Angeles recently and it was moving and visually stunning.