Friday, 28 November 2014


Artist Kim Buck says that the first time she began drawing with charcoal “was like remembering a language I didn’t know I knew”. Up until that point she had started a degree in psychology, lived overseas, and begun a science degree. She says that what began as a hobby soon turned into an obsession. Since then she graduated from the South Australian School of Art in 2009 and has had six sell-out solo exhibitions and won a series of awards, including Prospect Portrait Prize. Kim is represented by Peter Walker Fine Art in Adelaide, where she was born, and Jan Murphy Gallery in Brisbane. The hawk artwork above is part of a 12 Days of Christmas exhibition series at the Jan Murphy Gallery. It's Kim's first non-figurative drawing.

Which five words best describe you? Sensitive, habitual, smiley, patient, Scorpio.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I had a couple of lucky breaks. Opportunities to exhibit early on gave me the experience and confidence to continue. By the time I finished art school, I had already had two exhibitions, which really helped me learn the discipline required to commit to art, post-institution. Since then, I’ve continued to have annual solo exhibitions and squeezed in a few other projects here and there.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Discipline, without a doubt.

What’s your proudest career achievement? Having a work hanging in my home state gallery - the Art Gallery of South Australia -  was pretty amazing.

What’s been your best decision? To pick up a charcoal pencil one night and start drawing. Simple, but true.

Who inspires you? My partner and family. It’s more of a "what" than a "who" but the bush has always been a huge inspiration as well. It’s the only place I can truly hear myself think, and gain access to that deep space inside where creativity happens.

What are you passionate about? Nature, drawing, equality and figs.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? It’s impossible to decide between two people, so I’ll cheat and name them both. They are both extraordinarily talented nature poets: Mary Oliver and Mark Tredinnick. What I wouldn’t give to take a walk with them and watch them, watching the world.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? To be a mother. My cats are great practice, but I look forward to having human babies.

What are you reading? There are usually a couple on the go. At the moment, it’s Autumn Laing by Alex Miller, All the birds singing by Evie Wyld and Self Power by Deepak Chopra. I love a good self-help book. 

images courtesy of kim buck

Thursday, 27 November 2014


Architecture, of sorts was in Vince Alafaci’s blood. Both his grandfather and father were builders but he has steered a slightly different course. While studying architecture at university, one of the lecturers asked him to help start up a Sydney office for a Melbourne-based practice. Since graduation he has gone out on his own, and teamed up with his partner interior designer Caroline Choker [interview here] to create Acme & Co. While they established the practice in 2013, they are already racking up the awards. This year they were awarded the Emerging Interior Design Practice gong at the 2014 Australian Interior Design Awards, and yesterday they received a high commendation at the Eat Drink Design awards for The Incinerator. Other completed projects include The Potting Shed at The Grounds and FiftyFive5.

Which five words best describe you? Black, purist, stealth, realist, humble.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? Whilst at university, I was poached by a lecturer to assist in establishing a Melbourne-based practice in Sydney. Upon completing university I registered and formed AA, a solo architectural practice. My partner Caroline Choker is an interior designer who also had a solo practice. We decided to collaborate on projects and organically we formed our multi-disciplinary firm Acme & Co in 2013.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Still on the journey and learning every day.

What’s your proudest career achievement? Conceiving Acme & Co with my partner and being awarded the emerging design practice by the DIA within the first year.

What’s been your best decision? This is debatable, to pursue my life as an architect.

Who inspires you? My partner and visionaries who make a positive contribution.

What are you passionate about? Life.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Philip Johnson: would have loved to have been invited back to the glass house for a party with Andy Warhol and crew.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? To fly helicopters.

What are you reading? Juhani Pallasmaa's The eyes of the skin and Pin-up interviews.

images courtesy of acme & co; photography michael wee

Wednesday, 26 November 2014


Melissa Collison is not what you would call a regular interior designer. Take her approach to the design of Sake, a Japanese restaurant. She convinced a staff member to get naked, be painted head-to-toe in a dragon tattoo design by make-up artist Wayne Chick, and have her photograph taken by fashion photographer Paul Westlake for the project. The image became the muse and artwork throughout the restaurant. For another commercial project Melissa art directed a photo shoot with photographer Anson Smart that involved a pig carcass and traditional butchery tools so that they could then become the visual touchstone for Swine & Co in Sydney’s CBD. Residential clients themselves haven’t had to go through such rigorous processes, but her interior designs for their homes have been equally memorable.

Which five words best describe you? Brave, determined, empathetic, inquisitive, adventurous and glamorous - oh, is that six?

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? With a mother who is an artist who worked with oils plus and always changing our home around, painting, wallpapering, new furniture, picking flowers, I was surrounded by it. When I decided to begin my own business I worked around the clock to get started. I just keep going. I see life as a surprise: I see the good in most or I turn everything I can into something good, but I also know when to let go. 

The path I have taken is determination. You can’t teach that. I never try to make a client live in what I like to live in or design. Our work isn’t cookie cutter. When I meet with a client, I take on board snippets they can tell me about themselves, their life and work with what they have. I take the brief they give me to the next level - I hope it gives them more than what they imagined.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Listen, learn, explore: repeat. Be brave. Smile.

What’s your proudest career achievement? My proudest career achievement is that I am doing what I love. Also, that I work with an amazing team. That I have wonderful clients. To have achieved getting here, being here and still loving it.

What’s been your best decision? Travel for inspiration. Never stop travelling and learning and experiencing. Remain open.

Who inspires you? I'm inspired by life. Every day holds something new. However, if I could have the talents of Louis Kahn, the style of Catherine Deneuve, have a home in Palm Springs, vacation in Corsica with Alain Delon, and live between New York and Patagonia, then I’d be truly inspired.

What are you passionate about? I am totally passionate about creating for my clients, whether I am designing a restaurant, home or a block or apartments. Also the experience of travelling and seeing life. One of my secret passions is cooking. I cook a lot for friends. It’s pure joy seeing everyone happy around the table.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Hanging out with Peggy Gugenhiem in Venice could be fun.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? I feel like I've only just begun. I have no idea what life holds. But I am totally open to it. Right now, I’m working on establishing a series of outdoor events that promote health and vitality for young girls and women that allows them to be brave. And, there is something else in the pipeline - can’t reveal it just yet.

What are you reading? These interview questions, and Blink by Malcolm Gladwell.

images courtesy of melissa collison

Friday, 21 November 2014


Having a conversation with Katie Lockhart is like falling down a rabbit hole. Her story gets more fantastical at every turn. After graduating from design school in New Zealand she showed her final year project to fashion designer Karen Walker and became her first design assistant. Two and a half years later, Katie decided to go to Milan. While there she met Francesca Taroni and Silivia Robertazzi who were leaving Italian Vogue to set up Case da Abitare. Katie became a regular contributor and continues to style for them. The magazine ships furniture to her studio in New Zealand such fans are they of her work. Since returning to live in Auckland, Katie has continued to work with Karen Walker - styling shows and designing stores. Five years ago Katie also launched Everyday Needs, a shop that focuses on beautiful utilitarian objects. Most recently she has opened a capsule collection in a pop-up shop at Poepke, a fashion shop in Sydney.

Which five words best describe you? Hawk eyes, gardener, mama, working.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? When I graduated from the School of Architecture and Design I showed my final year project to Karen Walker and she hired me as her first design assistant. This was a defining moment for me and I only left to live abroad in Milan where I turned my attention back to interiors and started to style for Italian interior magazines. After a few years of living and working as both a stylist and interior designer in Milan and London I returned home to New Zealand to open my own practice. Five years ago we extended our offering to open Everyday Needs as well.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? To trust my intuition. Sometimes the scariest times are the most defining creatively.

What’s your proudest career achievement? Having my own practice.

What’s been your best decision? To return home to New Zealand.  

Who inspires you? Family and friends. Especially my husband.

What are you passionate about? Interiors that reflect their owners, gardening, handmade furniture, my husband and kids.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? I would have loved to have walked Derek Jarman’s garden with him.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? I really feel like I am living it.

What are you reading? In praise of shadows by Junichiro Tanizaki.

images courtesy of katie lockhart and, from top, mark smith, tash hopkins, sait akkirman, darryl ward and todd selby

Wednesday, 19 November 2014


Fifteen years ago photographer James Houston decided to start all over again. He had established a successful career in Australia, shooting editorials for Vogue Australia and Black and White magazine but he wanted to work in New York. It took a while to break through but when he did, James did it with style - landing Donna Karan and Clinique as clients. Since then he has carved out a niche in beauty photography and celebrity portraiture. More recently he has launched James Houston Design, showcasing a series of his prints in an online gallery. 

Which five words best describe you? Driven, conscious, activist, visionary and creative.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I was modeling in Tokyo and happened to stumble onto photography as a hobby while I was there and I started shooting my friends. When I came back to Australia I decided to work towards an exhibition and publishing a book of my work. This helped get my name out there and from that point I started to work with editorial magazines and advertising clients slowly working my way up to be a leading photographer in Australia. 

I then decided to move to New York which was initially challenging. I worked hard to break into the market and build up my client base internationally. While in New York I discovered my passion for beauty, hair and skin and that became my focus allowing me to become one of the worlds leading beauty photographers working for clients such as L’Oreal Paris, Donna Karan, Hugo Boss and Givenchy, and celebrities such as Hugh Jackman, Emma Watson and Jennifer Lopez.

I believe in evolving as an artist and I am now at a point in my career where I am moving into design with photography as the inspiration under the banner of recently launched James Houston Design. We launch our first home product range in the Spring 2015.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Stay connected and committed to the result you want to achieve in your life not attached to the journey and how that will play out. 

What’s your proudest career achievement? I have created and worked on many community projects utilising my photography to raise millions of dollars for various charities and organisations. Sir Elton John called me a hero at the launch of my Move For Aids launch in Australia when he attended and spoke at the event. 

What’s been your best decision? To move to the US.

Who inspires you? I’m inspired by people who are living their dream and really enjoying their journey. 

What are you passionate about? I’m passionate about expressing myself through my work and capturing and sharing beauty. I’m also passionate about inspiring others to connect with their own potential and dreams.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? I would like to meet and shoot Beyonce, Obama and Buddha.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? To successfully build James Houston Design and my design philosophy brand MindSpaceDesign. The vision of these brands is to share beautiful products with an international audience and inspire people to create a home that connects them to what they want their life to look and feel like. 

What are you reading? The mastery of love by Don Miguel Ruiz.

images courtesy of james houston and james houston design


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