Wednesday, May 30, 2012
1999-2004 The Bowling Club Studios St Kilda. Finally after many years of traveling from St Kilda to Fitzroy for a studio... I found one in the heart of St Kilda, next to Luna Park. The old Bowling Club was turned in to a community Vegie Garden and the club rooms were converted in to artists studios by the local council... I finally had a good studio near home, so all the hard traveling could stop. Now I could whiz around a few blocks on my bike and be at the studio in 5-10 minutes. This is where my work started to take off. After some struggling and lost ideas, I was influenced by the year of writing I had done on my family and upbringing... in a large family of 12 on a dairy farm. This inspired me to go back to my roots, to what I know , to paint the landscape I grew up in. It was 1999 when I did my first charcoal of cypress trees, followed by a large oil painting which was accepted in to the prestigious Wynne Prize for Landscapes at the Art gallery of New South Wales. I was exhibiting and selling all my work through Metropolis Gallery in St Kilda, directed by fellow artist Linda Gibbs.My art career started to take off. Soon after I was taken on by Flinders Lane Gallery, where I have had sellout shows ever since. There was a great atmosphere at the studios and particularly the Veg Out Gardens, where I could step out of my very fumey studio for some fresh air. Fellow artists included Christophe Stibio, Giz James, Salvatori Lolicato & Pete Groves.
2004: Stanley St Warrnambool. Feeling a need for some fresh air, I relocated to Warrnambool and found an old house with an attached old Milk Bar I could convert in to my studio space. It was a massive workspace, very close to the sea, cliffs, river. I culd walk to the beach and along the cliffs yet had to endure a very cold and windy winter which Warrnambool is well known for. Unfortunately I found it a bit too isolating on my own and I didn't produce a lot of work there, so I moved back to the city.
2005-2009 : Lt Collins st Melbourne. After a stint in the country I was ready to be back in the city again. I set up studio in this brilliant old building on the top floor, with towers & turrets and wrought iron balconies in the heart of the CBD, on the corner of Lt Collins & Elizabeth st. The only downside was there was no lift and 3 very high floors of stairs to combat each day. It was great being in the heart of the city, with lane ways of cafes below and Degraves Lane & Centre Place nearby for great coffee, food & company.My local art supplies were a quick 5 min walk away, especially handy when you are in the middle of painting and realize you have run out of a colour. A lot of work was produced here and many long hours spent, this was also the time I was taken on by my second gallery, Tim Olsen Gallery in Sydney. Since 2003 I was able to stop working a part time job and live off my art. I eventually went from a small room to a much bigger one to a massive one in this building! It was a time when I got a lot more serious and professional about my practice, and now finally had my own separate studio to work in. Fellow artists and friends who shared this floor ( all in our separate rooms) included: Deb Klein, Hannah Bertram, Miso & Ghost Patrol & Anselm Van Rood
2008- 2009: Vision Building Downtown Abu Dhabi. I was now dividing my time between Melbourne & Abu Dhabi due to my partners work as lead architect on 2 hotels on Yas Island. In this time I had a small studio set up in our home in Downtown Abu Dhabi, where I worked on small pictures that were easily transported back to Melbourne, and some time spent in my Melbourne studio working on the large canvases for my upcoming shows in Melbourne & Sydney.
2010: Metro Arts, Brisbane. After our years in Abu Dhabi, we relocated to Brisbane and I found a brilliant studio at Metro Arts in the heart of Brisbane . I could catch the City Cat catamaran from our home in Bulimba to the city and walk approx one block to the studio... again up 3 flights of stairs but at least there was a cafe on the ground floor. It was so lovely traveling to work along the river each day and to be surrounded by so much lush tropical greenery after our years in the desert. Paul was working nearby in the city so we could meet for lunch most days.It was a beautiful light filled studio, where I made good friends with fellow artist Mandy Ridley and produced a lot of work.
2011: Lt Collins St Melbourne. There was a short stint back at this studio in the largest,light filled & probably best studio I have ever had.....It was a very large space where I could spread my work out, and really get stuck in to the painting. It was great to be back amongst the lane ways although I could have done without the cold weather! I made a lot of work here and then we relocated to Dubai.
2011- Present. Old Town, Downtown Dubai. Presently I am set up in my studio at our home in Dubai. It is a much smaller space than I am used to , but there is beautiful light, internet & much needed air con & cafes are nearby within walking distance! Dubai doesn't have Artist studios set up like I am used to in Melbourne, and the rents here are exorbitant. Also with the extreme heat for 6 months of the year, it is easier to be working from home, limiting any travel, and staying in air con. There are more challenges here for me working as an artist. There are not the professional art supplies here that I am used to, so I have had to freight in a container with a years supply of art materials. The art supply/stationary shop here does have some materials I can use, but mostly they are hobby materials, and not the quality I am used to.It has been a challenge working with different materials especially my paint medium which I use so much in my glazing... I was not able to ship my toxic medium here, so I am learning new techniques and getting used to the oil paint medium I can buy here. I am still to find a way to freight my artwork back to Australia for my show in Sydney later in the year, lots of logistic and customs issues . In the meantime ,I am working everyday in the studio,painting my next show, listening to great music on my ipod, going for the occasional coffee and taking lots of photos.