Friday, 29 February 2008

artist joel dickens

"A Current Affair" by Joel Dickens.

"Another Friday Night" Joel Dickens.

"St Peter" Joel Dickens.

The artist.

You can't miss Joel S Dickens' artworks. That's what happened as D and I were walking around Art Sydney late last year. One of his "King" paintings caught our eye - well, it kind of jumped off the wall saying "look at me!" - and we were wondering how we could rustle up the money to buy it. Well, that didn't quite work out so we were eager to see Joel's latest exhibition at the Arthouse Gallery in Sydney's Rushcutter's Bay on Wednesday night. Despite a downpour of rain and a hold up with stretch Hummer limo (another story altogether - see, we made it inside into the bright, colourful world of Joel's mind manifested onto the canvas, only to realise red sale stickers were next to all of our favourite pieces. Looks like we have to exercise a little more patience (and perhaps save a few more pennies as his works are sure to increase in value).

What five words best describe you? I'm not too sure. Kate might say I'm alright. My mum thinks I'm a genius.
What's your proudest achievement? Buying our dog from the pound, though sometimes he's closer than he thinks to going back.
Who inspires you? My mother, for remaining true to herself her whole life.
What are you passionate about? Family, friends and Formula One (although I try to keep that quiet). Oh... and painting. And writing. And cats.
What's the best lesson you've learnt? To always test the strength of fences before you sit on them. And crickets have ears on their knees, although that's more of a fact.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? My nan: I'd get her to repeat those war stories and listen to them this time.
What are you excited about? A big trip overseas, Buenos Aires maybe... and the Trans Siberian railway - should be good inspiration for my next series. We're also visiting friends and family in London, which will be great. And we're hoping to spend Kate's birthday in Paris.
What's next? Another show coming up on the 2nd April in Australia Square, should be a fun night with a different crowd seeing my work. Then rest, I think, lots of reading. Maybe write a book.

Images courtesy of Joel S Dickens and Arthouse Gallery.

Thursday, 28 February 2008

writer nikki gemmell

Success is a funny thing. Publication of The Bride Stripped Bare - with the teasing author note: anonymous - threw Nikki Gemmell onto the world publishing scene. As journalists hunted her down as the actual author of this racy book, Nikki became anything but anonymous. Bride was an instant bestseller and her name will be forever known. That was how I first came to read the works of Nikki Gemmell. But I had heard her voice many times before - on the radio station Triple J. Surely, this couldn't be the same woman. That girly voice couldn't be the author of a book about a woman's ferocious sexual needs and desires. It was. And I was intrigued. So I read Shiver then Lovesong and realised what a disservice the whole hoopla about Bride has been for this incredibly talented author - focussing on the sex rather than the words. She writes in such a poetic way that each dreamy sentence requires your attention and many times I've reread passages because they've brought so much pleasure. So while I'm thrilled for Nikki's success, I hope people look beyond Bride and read some of her other works - she's truly an inspiring woman, as her answers below demonstrate.

Oh, and check out the May 08 issue of real living, on sale Monday 7 April, which will feature Nikki's tips to success.

What's your proudest achievement? Combining fulltime motherhood with writing. But God I'm tired.
Who inspires you? Anyone who risks. "Explode it all" said Beckett - I live by that in terms of my fiction.
What are you passionate about? My family, bold writing, Australia, sunlight.
What's the best lesson you've learnt? Don't let the heart-sinkers win.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Martin, a friend.
What are you excited about? My next novel - almost there, if the baby just sleeps a little bit longer for me.
What's next? Coming home to Australia - to live, and to write a novel set in it.

Images courtesy of Nikki Gemmell and Pan Macmillan.

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

karin upton baker

Wonder woman - Karin Upton Baker.

The style queen with Australian media personality Deborah Hutton.

Because she turned Harper's Bazaar into a must-read magazine during her tenure as editor-in-chief.
Because the magazine won seven Magazine Publishers Association awards within the first 18 months of her being in the job.
Because she was invited to step as editor-in-chief at US
Harper's Bazaar after the death of incumbent Liz Tilberis.
Because she was then offered the position of managing director at
Hermes Australia - who wouldn't want that job!!!
Because she gets better with age.
Because she exudes style and grace but is not afraid of the big jobs in town.

Images courtesy of
View Images.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

secrets du potager

Late last week I visited the Life In Style trade show and discovered that Secrets du Potager is now available in Australia thanks to Virginie Fontes, owner of Honey Bee Homewares. I don't have a garden but these beautiful pieces make me wish I did. I especially love La Table Potagere (The kitchen garden table) and Les Cloches Pour La Table Potagere (Bell jars for the kitchen garden table). You can views these in the online catalogue - I'm not yet web savvy enough to save jpegs from a PDF, but I'm working on it.

Images courtesy of Secrets du Potager.

Monday, 25 February 2008

designer louise brito

Louise, a gal of many creative talents.

Now this is one clever cookie. Louise Brito has gone from designing ceramics and homewares for Australian department stores to creating digital art prints for canvas and perspex. Then she took a turn as the creative promotions art director for Gourmet Traveller and Gourmet Traveller Wine. This was followed by her biggest move yet - taking the plunge to start her own business, Illume Design, which specialises in wedding invitations and bomboniere. Oh, and she still manages to squeeze in a bit of freelance illustrating - including the logo!

What five words best describe you? Creative, affectionate, intelligent, sensitive, grounded.

What’s your proudest achievement? Starting my own online wedding stationery business.

Who inspires you? My partner: he supports me and inspires me to be my best.

What are you passionate about? Being creative and using my talents to enrich other peoples' lives; it is what makes me who I am!!!

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt? That things in life always happen for a reason, and sometimes we can not change certain things about our life path.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Raphael Sanzio - he was a fantastic artist. I would have loved to have met him in 1510.

Where do you look to for inspiration? I love shopping for fabrics and just cruising around on the internet from blog to blog. Also, art museums and galleries.

What’s next? Growing my new wedding stationery business and seeing how far I can go with it.

What are you reading? A portrait of Brett Whiteley - also, another great artist.

Images courtesy of Illume Design.

Friday, 22 February 2008

photographer peter meyer

Peter, the photographer, is on the far left.

Peter Meyer, photographer extraordinaire, saved my recent holiday on Fraser Island. In what was almost a week of non-stop cyclonic rain conditions, it was incredibly difficult to imagine what the island could look like when the skies were clear. Thankfully, the resort where I was staying displayed Peter's photos. And the general store sold his book filled with beautiful images of Fraser Island. What a spectacularly beautiful place it was. And it's hard to believe that Peter only took his first photo six years ago. Truly!

What five words best describe you? Inquisitive, photographer, modest, brilliant, philosopher.
What's your proudest achievement? Surviving an overnight bus trip on the worst road in India with a bad case of Delhi Belly.
Who inspires you? Anyone who is able to follow their own path despite powerful forces of rigid convention, tradition and any type of dogma.
What are you passionate about? The idea that the earth is a single living entity.
What's the best lesson you've learnt? Men and women do come from different planets.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Either Jesus or Mohammed... what were they thinking?
What are you excited about? Learning about the world.
What's next? Building a gallery on Fraser Island, which will also have a residence for me to live in.

Images courtesy of Peter Meyer.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

here comes the bride...

So this feels a little weird putting pics up of my wedding - they appear in the current issue of Cosmopolitan Bride. But I've got a bit of a bee in my bonnet at the moment about style not having to cost a fortune. (Good job I work for real living!) I guess I've always been like this - always loved those stories of stylish women who have pieced together their outfits from a mix of sources - you know, the flea market finds combined with the (perhaps) slightly more expensive shoes. The same goes for interiors. Often the homes I'm drawn to are the ones that have been created with love rather than a fistful of dollars. They have beautiful timber pieces that are age-worn and books that are well-thumbed. So, not surprisingly, I felt the same way about styling my wedding. I didn't want it to be about spending a silly amount of money. Instead I bought flowers from the markets to achieve that just-picked-out-of-the-garden look. I also bought my (two!) dresses from a shop in Notting Hill - Catherine Buckley - that specialises in recreating vintage styles. They weren't expensive at all (even though the likes of Elizabeth Taylor have worn her designs over the years). Now that I'm preparing for a baby, I'm applying the same principles to all that I buy - ie, not going silly with expensive purchases. After all, the moments you remember in life are moments - not credit card purchases.

Images courtesy of View Photography and Cosmo Bride.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

chic in the city

Siobhan, who runs the tours, is on the left.

The other week I got the chance to take one of the Chic in the City shopping tours. And I have to admit that even though I've lived in both Sydney's Paddington and Woollahra (where most of the tour takes place), I still managed to visit shops I'd never stepped into before. Lazy Bones would have been a favourite - managed to pick up a beautiful skirt and top. And while they weren't maternity pieces they fit my growing belly perfectly. Taking the tour is a great idea if you're visiting from overseas or interstate. And I can imagine it would be a lot of fun to do with your girlfriends as a special treat instead of a hen's day.

Images courtesy of Chic in the City.

Monday, 18 February 2008

designer kristina "kikki" karlsson

What's not to love about Kikki.K? It's every organiser's dream. It's aspirational (oh, I do want my shelves to look like that) and it's practical, as well as affordable. The powerhouse behind it is Swedish-born Kristina "Kikki" Karlsson, who has done for stationery in Australia what Ikea has done for furniture - made it cool, accessible and wanting you to redecorate all over again.

It's incredible how quickly the business has grown. Within about 10 years Kristina has opened more than 25 shops in Australia and New Zealand (with stockists in many countries around the world). What began as a design project to update her office has turned into a thriving business, one that's seen her win the Telstra Victorian Young Business Woman of the Year.

What five words best describe you? Passionate, excited, determined, happy & a wine lover! : )
What's your proudest achievement? Living my dream life every day.
Who inspires you? Lots of different people. My mentor
Gillian Franklin, who runs a big business and family, and lives a balanced life.
What are you passionate about? Stationery and beautiful things, food & wine, and health.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt? That you can achieve anything if you are passionate about it and prepared to work for it.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet?
Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop. I really admire her values and her success on building a business that walked its talk.
What are you excited about? Driving to work in the morning and creating beautiful stationery and solutions for people – love it!
What’s next? More beautiful designs, more stores & my first baby!

Images courtesy of Kikki.K.

Friday, 15 February 2008

julien macdonald wallpapers

At last week's Australian International Furniture Fair I got to see a huge range of wallpapers by Graham & Brown. They've got several ranges and one of my favourites would have to be those by UK fashion designer Julien MacDonald. Don't you just love them!

Images courtesy of Graham & Brown.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

designer volker haug

Now this is a story of dedication and perspiration. Volker Haug was only 10 years old when he created his first lights. It was while he was on holidays in the Czech Republic and they comprised two bedside lights, four kitchen spots and a ceiling light! What were you doing when you were 10?!? Seriously, though, his designs are elegantly simple but edgy, too.

What five words best describe you? Funny, serious, man on a mission, passionate, nerdy.

What’s your proudest achievement? Getting permanent residency in Australia and pursuing my lighting design career which is what I wanted to do all my life.
Who inspires you?
Ingo Maurer (German lighting designer).
What are you passionate about? Lighting, music, good photography, eating, life in general.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt? To try and live life to the full every day as if it's your last.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Ingo Maurer
Where do you look to for inspiration? Everywhere, on the streets… travelling is great for that. Just returned from a six-week European trip and am now full of inspiration. Love what Europeans do with design…
What’s next? Exhibition at the
National Design Centre. Possibly building a big feature light for a San Francisco fine dining restaurant and installing it personally (fingers crossed the job works out).
What are you reading?
Possible Side Effects by Augusten Burroughs and not much of it at the moment due to lack of time.

Image courtesy of Volker Haug.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008


"To Reflect" (2004) by Shahzia Sikander.

"To Rule Again" (2004) by Shahzia Sikander.

"Dispersion" (2005) by Shahzia Sikander.

"Moebius Ship" detail (2006) by Tim Hawkinson.

"Bat" (2007) by Tim Hawkinson.

It's been a little while since I've been to the Museum of Contemporary Art so a good mental shake-up was in order. D and I set off to check out the exhibition Tim Hawkinson: Mapping the Marvellous, which was suitably mind bending, and stumbled along the works of Shahzia Sikander. The art by this Pakistani-born, US-based artist were not what you usually expect to find at the MCA. They're pretty, intricate and incredibly detailed. Definitely worth catching, if you get the chance before it closes on February 17.

Images courtesy of the MCA, Tim Hawkinson and Shahzia Sikander.

Monday, 11 February 2008


Gillie and Marc Schattner are a husband and wife team who create artworks together, and have built up a body of work over the years that includes recognisable dog portraits and sculptures. While Gillie had trained and worked as a nurse in England and Marc came from Melbourne, the duo met in Hong Kong. After seven days they married at base of Mount Everest. The couple's artworks have been selected as finalists in prestigious competitions as The Archibald and Mosman Art Prize. Plus, they've created a series of  children's books.

What came first, the partnership between you both or working together on projects? We fell in love 15 years ago and married a few weeks later. It was true love at first sight. We both always loved to paint, we painted separately for a while but then realised when we joined forces that we could create wonderful things together as a team.

Who completes which elements of the works? We paint at the same time on the same canvas. We do everything together and it works brilliantly.

What's the key to working and living together in harmony? True love.

What five words best describe each other? Happy, lighthearted, optimistic, adventurous, artistic.

Who inspires you? We inspire each other.

What are you passionate about? Love, life and happiness.

What's the best lesson you've learnt? If you reach for the stars you may not grab one but you will go a lot further than you ever you imagined.

Which person, living or dead, would you both most like to meet? For me, it would have to be Picasso, he is my greatest hero, and for Marc, Sir Edmund Hilary because climbing Everest showed the impossible can be done.

Where do you look to for inspiration? Our children, our pets and all the wonderful people we meet around on the world on our travels.

What's next? Hopefully an animated children's series from our Harry books with ABC.

What are you reading? Marc is reading Shockwave about the Hiroshima bombings and I am reading Saturday by Ian McEwan.

images courtesy of gillie and marc schattner

Friday, 8 February 2008


Amanda Prior knew from an early age that she wanted to be a photographer. She started studying her craft at age 15 and continued her interest in it throughout a nine-year career in modelling. She went on to assist for many years before becoming the in-house photographer for Inside Out magazine. Since then she has gone freelance and regularly works for a range of still life, interior, food and portrait clients.

What five words best describe you? Busy, organised, sensitive, passionate, stubborn.

What's your proudest achievement? Competing for NSW in Javelin at 17, I came fifth.

Who inspires you? Career women who have children and continue to do great work. Busy photographers who spend time on personal work. Humble, elite athletes like Roger Federer.

What are you passionate about? Photography and travelling - a combination of both. I like working with people who plan well, then put care and passion into what they are doing.

What's the best lesson you've learnt? Enjoy now and don't worry about what's next.

Which person living or dead would you most like to meet? My grandmother – on both sides.

What are you excited about? My next overseas photography job – sailing from Fiji to New Zealand to photogaph the Queen Victoria.

What's next? Personal work.

images courtesy of amanda prior


Related Posts with Thumbnails