Thursday, 31 May 2012

photographer & artist tamara dean

Tamara Dean graduated from the University of Western Sydney with a degree in design. But she focussed on photography and has worked with the Sydney Morning Herald since 2001. The following year she was accepted into Oculi, a photographic collective. Tamara has exhibited with several galleries. Her most recent show was with the Tim Olsen Gallery. The works above are from the exhibition "This too shall pass" at Charles Hewitt Gallery. Tamara won the Olive Cotton Award for photographic portraiture in 2011. She also was awarded first prize in Sydney Life: Art and About in 2009 and highly commended in the Moran Contemporary Photography Prize the same year.

Which five words best describe you? Passionately romantic, intimate, pragmatic and honest.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I began my career as a photographer at the Sydney Morning Herald 10 years ago. My passion was for personal documentary projects where I spent time photographing people intimately within their environments. In 2002 I was accepted into the Australian photographic collective Oculi on the strength of these personal works. I worked on many series including documenting squatters, friends and motherhood to name but a few. My work has always tended to reflect what is happening in my life and so a sense of integrity and intimacy has always been fundamental to my approach and style.
About six years ago my work took a completely different direction whereby I moved into constructing my images rather than working in the field of documentary photography. I sought out gallery representation which led to a number of solo shows, 'Ritualism', 'This too Shall Pass' and 'Divine Rites' with Charles Hewitt Gallery, and 'Only Human' with James Makin Gallery. My work is now represented by Tim Olsen Gallery, Sydney and James Makin Gallery, Melbourne.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? I have learnt to be directive in my work but to always allow room for my subject or the environment in which I am working to bring something unexpected into the image.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Finding a way to be both an artist and a mother.
What’s been your best decision? To pursue the huge change of direction in my work six years ago.
Who inspires you? Women. My mother, my sisters, my friends. The people I choose to photograph.
What are you passionate about? Life, relationships, the natural world, beauty, honesty.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? My grandfather... and John William Waterhouse.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? I would like to spend time in Russia and Turkey.
What are you reading? I have recently finished reading a book by David Sedaris, When you are engulfed in flames.

images courtesy of tamara dean

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

florist, artist & designer joost bakker

Some people defy labels. Take Joost Bakker. He started working on his father's farm at age five - he is a fifth generation tulip farmer - and now creates sustainable structures that incorporate vegetable gardens and restaurants. One of his biggest creations to date is Greenhouse. Every element of the demountable structure is built from recyclable materials. The first one - in Federation Square, Melbourne - was made of straw bales set into a steel framework. The next one - in Perth - was named Restaurant of the Year in 2010. Over six weeks in February 2011 tens of thousands of visitors went to the Sydney Greenhouse. This structure included chairs made of aluminium irrigation pipes and seats made from leather offcuts from a local saddlery. The Greenhouse tour continues, and plans are afoot for one in London. Joost also creates vertical gardens - one of the finest examples is at his country home in Victoria. They are for sale via his online shop.

Which five words best describe you? Very last minute dot com.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? My earliest memories of helping dad harvest bulbs/fruit and veg goes back to when I was five. My love and appreciation of plants sparked an interest in making others see this beauty. At first I did it through art and installations and now I design buildings and infrastructure that allow nature to flourish.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Never ever give up!
What’s your proudest career achievement? Harvesting cucumbers in the middle of Federation Square.
What’s been your best decision? To chase Jen back in 1993, who’s now my wife! That's what I mean by never ever give up.
Who inspires you? Masanobu Fukuoka: he spent his life proving that monocultures don't work.
What are you passionate about? The natural world. Working out how we can live in it, sustain it, encourage it and stop wasting it.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Peter Cundall - legend!
What dream do you still want to fulfill? To replant and re-create the many lost forests and their inhabitants. I know it's not realistic but it is definitely a dream.
What are you reading? Charcoal remedies. Loving it!

images courtesy of joost bakker

Monday, 28 May 2012

interior designer alexandra champalimaud

Some of the most well-known hotels of the world - especially in the USA - have had the interiors designed by New York-based Alexandra Champalimaud. In America, she is behind looks at the Hotel Bel-Air, The Algonquin Hotel, The Carlyle and is in the process of redesigning the Waldorf Astoria. In London Alexandra has been working on the interiors for The Dorchester and has completed hotel commissions in other countries including China and Germany. Alexandra was born in Portugal and started her first interior design business in Montreal, Canada. In 1994 she moved her offices to New York to reflect her growing US and international client base. Alexandra has also designed a line of rugs for The Rug Company and will release a fabric range for Holland & Sherry.

Which five words best describe you? Driven, sophisticated, worldly, intuitive, creative.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? My first hotel work was with a professor from my university in Lisbon. It was the Hotel Vilalara in the Algare in Portugal. In my career and in my life I look for open doors and then I just walk through them.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? To bring more white into a room.
What’s your proudest career achievement? I’m not sure I’ve had it yet, but at the moment I am particularly proud of the Canyon Villas at the Hotel Bel-Air.
What’s been your best decision? Being fearless.
Who inspires you? My sons.
What are you passionate about? Health and fitness, design, fashion, travel and my family.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Again... my mother.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? A grand hotel in Paris - the renovation and reimagining of.
What are you reading? Steve Jobs biography

images courtesy of alexandra champalimaud

Friday, 25 May 2012

artist sue williams a'court

UK artist Sue Williams A'Court first made a name for herself as an illustrator. Her children's book Time for telling won the prestigious Smarties Award in 1991. (She has published seven of them.) Her art is in various collections in the UK - including at the V&A Museum - USA, Italy and France. Sue has also exhibited many times in London, where she lives with her family, and Paris.

Which five words best describe you? Positive, committed, philosophical, hands-on, open.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I had early success as a commercial illustrator with agents in London, New York, Paris and Japan. After having my little boy, work naturally developed into illustrating for children's books and painting from a studio in my London home. Now my focus is on painting and exhibiting full-time.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? I've learnt to follow my interests without judgement and accept that I may not know where it will lead. When I’m creating paintings it’s more about desire and will than fulfilling an objective. When I "disappear" into the creative process amazing things happen almost by themselves.

What’s your proudest career achievement? Working hard to get to the position I am in now: being able to paint full time from a fabulous studio. Most recently I've been selected for an online gallery called New Blood.

What’s been your best decision? Not moving house and focusing energy on painting instead.

Who inspires you? My studio is full of books by artists and philosophers - I’m inspired by certain talks on TED and by ideas discussed by present-day scientists and philosophers at School of Life.

What are you passionate about? My family; my husband Andy and my gorgeous 10-year-old son Finlay.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Ramana Maharshi

What dream do you still want to fulfil? To live longer than my mother; she died when she was 64.

What are you reading? Exile and the kingdom stories by Albert Camus

images courtesy of sue williams a'court

Thursday, 24 May 2012

stylist phoebe mcevoy

Phoebe McEvoy has always had a passion for design - she just wasn't sure which path she would go down. For seven years she went the way of graphic design. But she had always loved magazines, and was intrigued with styling so decided to become an assistant, something she recommends every aspiring stylist to do. Today Phoebe is the market editor for Inside Out magazine, and fits in the occasional freelance job in too, such as the shoot for Donna Hay magazine, pictured third from the bottom. You can follow her styling adventures here.

Which five words best describe you? Tenacious, loyal, positive, caring, spontaneous.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I got my Bachelor of Design at UNSW’s College of Fine Arts. Despite always having a love of art and textiles when I began I had no idea which design field was the right one for me, the course was great as it was broad and exposed me to all sorts of disciplines. After graduating I worked as a graphic designer in small studios where I learnt a lot, both from the people I worked with and through trial and error. I had always dreamed about being part of a magazine one day so after seven years in the design world I started assisting a small group of stylists (Glen Proebstel, Claire Delmar and Lara Hutton) whose work I had always admired. I have been fortunate in having great mentors who were all generous with their time and willing to share their knowledge. Assisting was an amazing learning experience and something that every aspiring stylist should do. It means lots of packing, unpacking, painting, dealing with shops and suppliers, pick ups and returns but that is all still part of my job now. Soon I started doing my own shoots - the timing was perfect as there was a baby boom in the styling world creating a fantastic opportunity for me to join the Inside Out team where I am now the Market Editor. I also freelance for other magazines and on other jobs.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Be open to new ideas, trust your gut feel, have a plan, remember the brief, and always have a plan B - sometimes they can surprise you and be better that the original!

What’s your proudest career achievement? Working for magazines I have long admired, like Inside Out and Donna Hay. I’d like to think that there are lots more achievements yet to come. I am constantly challenged in my job and that is the way you grow, from each challenge I learn more and so my work gets better and I am proud of that.

What’s been your best decision? Taking a leap of faith by leaving the design industry for the styling world.

Who inspires you? I’m always discovering new sources of inspiration in unexpected places but there are a few people who top my list: Faye Toogood, Ilse Crawford, Martyn Thompson, Ditte Isager, small creatives doing what they love everyday, and my Mum: Victoria Alexander. Her career path has been one of her making not always choosing, her vision has always been strong and that is something that inspires me. And my husband, Ben, with his discipline and focus.

What are you passionate about? Family and friends, being true to yourself, learning, travelling, collaboration, seeing the beauty in the everyday.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? My maternal grandparents, they are part of my history and who I am, they both passed away when I was young so I never got the chance to know them.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? To start a business of my own, I think there is nothing scarier and thrilling at the same time as being your own boss. To style for international magazines. My dream to start a family is soon to be a reality!

What are you reading? Currently it’s a lot of baby-related books! I’m always reading blogs, local and international mags, (Elle Decor Italia and Elle Decoration UK are favorites) and emails! Looking around, on the coffee table now is The new artisans by Oliver Dupon, A perfectly kept house is the sign of a misspent life by Mary Randolph Carter and Interiors by Martyn Thompson.

images courtesy of phoebe mcevoy (styling); craig wall (photography: 1, 2 and 4) and anson smart (photography: 3)

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

photographer tim hall

Tim Hall started his photography career shooting the likes of Miles Davis and Prince. After making a name for himself as a jazz and rock photographer in the UK, he turned his lens to the people of South East Asia while basing himself there in the 1990s. Tim then became interested in landscape photography after taking photographs of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. In 2008 he was commissioned to shoot the Austrian alps and surrounding valleys and villages for the Aurelio Hotel. He was also commissioned by Italian film producer Alberto Grimaldi to photograph the Dolomites and the Thames. Tim is represented by Lensky Gallery in the UK, Staley Wise in New York, Envie D'Art in Paris and Brussels, Tasveer in India, AJC Fine Art in Hong Kong and Raab Galerie in Berlin. This week he is exhibiting as part of the Spring Medley at Flaere Gallery in London.

Which five words best describe you? Honest, hardworking, loving, happy, calm.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I got a job as a darkroom printer in a music picture library in London - this led to me shooting live concerts and musicians for magazines and newspapers. After that I got a call from a friend to help make a book on Cambodia, which led to a book on Vietnam and Burma and Laos. I then moved to Hong Kong for seven years and started shooting fine art portraits of the people of Asia.
What's the best lesson you've learnt along the way? Keep an open mind.
What's your proudest career achievement? To have 200 photographs of the mountains hanging on the walls of a hotel in Austria.
What's been your best decision? x3: To live in Asia, marry my wife and to have children.
Who inspires you? Sebastiao Salgado
What are you passionate about? Music, cooking, travel.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Dalai Lama
What dream do you still want to fulfill? To travel and document the Silk Route.
What are you reading? Steve Jobs biography.

images courtesy of tim hall

Friday, 18 May 2012

architect & interior designer iain halliday

Iain Halliday is one of the most respected and well-known architects and interior designers in Australia. He has been working in the industry for more than 30 years, mostly during his time as a director at Burley Katon Halliday. In 2007 he oversaw the practice opening an office in New York. The following year BKH was the subject of a book published by Thames & Hudson. This week Iain was named Belle/Coco Republic Interior Designer of the Year 2012.

Which five words best describe you? Critical, driven, perfectionist, obsessed, shopaholic.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since?

1982 Part-time Neil Burley Design (during final year of Sydney College of the Arts degree).

1983-84 Marsh Freedman and Associates (Junior).

1984 Commenced full-time at Neil Burley Design.

1985 Partner @ Neil Burley Partners.

1989 Neil Burley Partners becomes BKH.

2010 Acquired full ownership of BKH.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Stick to what is instinctive in design; you will deliver whatever it is with conviction from presentation to finished product.

What’s your proudest career achievement? Opening the BKH New York office.

What’s been your best decision? To persevere with study in 1980 when I was quite disillusioned with the syllabus.

Who inspires you? Fashion designers, chefs, architects and artists; but basically anybody who is passionate about creativity and excellence in their field.

What are you passionate about? The creation of beauty particularly in our built environment: buildings and spaces that transport, comfort and empower you.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Peter Marino – his aesthetic, breadth of work, instinctive approach to quoting periods, understanding of detail, materials and art. He has proven that you can work in multiple styles of equal validity and that what we sell as designers can be commercially relevant and entertaining.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? The production of a cohesive ‘BKH’ furniture range and another BKH book; purchasing an apartment in Paris.

What are you reading? 740 park - a history of one of New York’s most expensive and glamorous apartment buildings.

images courtesy of burley katon halliday, belle magazine and belle/coco republic interior design awards

Thursday, 17 May 2012

designers david walley & felicity joll

While Yellow Diva was formed in the UK - back in 1994 - since 2008 it has been based in Australia. The company, which started out when industrial designer David Walley, pictured above, collaborated with British architect student James Davis, now has its headquarters in Melbourne. While the company predominately creates furniture for commercial and residential projects, it also does one-off commissions. Clients include Microsoft, Virgin, Top Shop, Guess and Sheraton Hotels. Meet design director David Walley and creative director Felicity Joll.

Which five words best describe you?

David Walley: Focused, tenacious, independent, meticulous, decisive.

Felicity Joll: Ambitious, outspoken, exacting, straightforward, fair.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since?

David: Industrial Design, RMIT - Art Direction ABC/BBC/Freelance - Co-Founder/Design Director Yellow Diva.

Felicity: Architecture, University of Manchester - Art Direction BBC/Freelance - Consultant Hawkins\Brown - Creative Director Yellow Diva.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way?

David: Self-reliance

Felicity: Always ask questions.

What’s your proudest career achievement?

David: The creation of the body of work designed since relocation to Australia in 2008.

Felicity: My role in conceptualising the evolution and repositioning of Yellow Diva as a brand.

What’s been your best decision?

David: Going to Europe.

Felicity: Coming to Australia.

Who inspires you?

David: Douglas Mawson

Felicity: Samuel Mockbee (Rural Studio)

What are you passionate about?

David: Our two daughters.

Felicity: Justice

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet?

David: Leonardo da Vinci

Felicity: Gilbert & George

What dream do you still want to fulfil?

David: To make my own boat.

Felicity: To live in Spain.

What are you reading?

David: The Guardian Weekly

Felicity: Parrot & Olivier in America by Peter Carey

images courtesy of yellow diva

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

my home in inside out magazine

It's always a slightly surreal experience to see your home in a magazine. It looks so complete, somewhat final, and, well, tidy. I have to add quiet to that equation, too. Anyone who knows my tribe, knows that it's never that. But it is a home, and a humble one at that.

It is an apartment in Bondi Beach, Australia. It is a place that I moved into some years ago and saw its potential, even though it was a rental. As the story that Clare Patience wrote explains, I didn't let a lease stop me from transforming the place into something more personal. It's a topic I feel passionate about: you shouldn't wait for the "perfect" place to create somewhere that's home for you. If you live in a rental then you can still make it your own. I certainly did. I painted it, added plants, hung curtains and replaced the light fittings to more interesting pendants. And I added rugs everywhere to hide the honey-hued pine floorboards. I wanted to make it a place that I wanted to return to every evening.

I also believe that style has nothing to do with money. The place has been furnished with secondhand finds that have been revamped. Almost everything has been painted - from walls to floors to furniture. There are also handmade projects, too. I created a height chart for my son out of kraft paper. And I transformed lamps using paint and fabric and/or wallpaper for the shades.

As I said, the apartment is a humble home. It was all about making the most of what was to hand. But, it's even more humbling to see it in the pages of one of my favourite magazines - Inside Out - in its 2012 Annual Renovating & Decorating Guide (currently on sale). So a huge thank you to Richard and Sharon for the opportunity, and to Kata Bayer for her beautiful photography.

For those of you who are interested, here is where I sourced some of the pieces for the place - as you'll see it's mostly a mix of secondhand finds and Australian design pieces.

Blue sofa: Vinnies
Fabric: Warwick
Danish-style sofa: Street find restored by Old School Industries
Streetscape artwork: Richard Briggs from the James Dorahy Project Space
Embroidered cushion on blue sofa (and on the bed): Tara Badcock
Text cushion on blue sofa: Pony Rider
Hanging tassel on bookcase: Table Tonic
Artwork on bookcase: Anna-Wili Highfield
Artwork on wall: Sebastian Nash - email me if you're interested in his work

Table: Garage sale
Chairs: Vintage store in Tasmania
Tablecloth: Ici Et La
Ceramics on table: Kif Kaf (I also got a heap of baskets for my plant pots from there - inspired after seeing the home of Daniel Baffsky a while back.)

Linen heart artwork: Rachel Castle
Throw: Bholu

If there's anything you're interested to know about, feel free to contact me. And I am always open to decorating projects too: natalie[at]

images courtesy of inside out magazine, photography kata bayer, styling natalie walton

Monday, 14 May 2012

writer alice rawsthorn

As a writer and critic for the global edition of the New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, Alice Rawsthorn analyses design, and how it affects our lives. Her column is published weekly - every Monday - and is syndicated to magazines and newspapers around the world. Alice is a well-known public speaker and broadcaster as well as a trustee of Arts Council England and of the Whitechapel Gallery in London. For five years, from 2001, Alice was also a director of London's Design Museum. She has also sat on the jury of the Turner Prize for contemporary art, the Stirling Prize for architecture, the British Council’s selection panel for the Venice Architecture Biennale, the PEN History Book Prize, the Aga Khan Award for Architecture and the BAFTA film and television awards. Not surprisingly, she has written many books on design too. (The images above are titles she is the author of, or has contributed towards.)

Alice is talking today at designEX 2012 on 7 Kinds of Happiness.

Which five words best describe you? I have absolutely no idea.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? When I was at university I wanted to be an experimental film maker and was offered a place at the Royal College of Art to study film. But I had such a large overdraft that I had to get a job to pay it off. The only job that appealed to me most was journalism, for the foolish reason that it seemed reassuringly like continuing my studies. For all the wrong reasons, I found a career that suits my temperament perfectly. I spent the first twenty years of my career as a "proper" journalist, covering economics and business, and working as a foreign correspondent in Paris, then decided to focus on something that I really loved - design.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? The best advice I have been given, which applies to life as much as to work, was: "do what you think is right, and treat everything as a learning experience."

What’s your proudest career achievement? Looking forward to starting work when I wake up each day.

What’s been your best decision? To focus on design. I had a fantastic career as a "proper" journalist, which gave me rigorous training and extraordinary experiences. I travelled all over the world, met extraordinary people and constantly felt challenged and intrigued. But it has been even more interesting and enjoyable to write about a subject I love, to learn about it more deeply and to celebrate the work of designers and design movements that I believe in.

Who inspires you? The memory of my grandmother who was tremendously intelligent, knowledgeable and intellectually inquisitive with highly sophisticated literary taste, despite a very basic education. She worked as a cleaner to pay for her four children to go to university. I am very aware, that had I been born half a century earlier, my life would have been very similar to her's, and that it is partly thanks to her that I was given the opportunity to lead a more rewarding life.

What are you passionate about? Design. I consider myself very lucky to have found a subject that is so eclectic and dynamic: deeply contextual and constantly changing to reflect broader changes in the world around us, whether they are social, political, economic or cultural. It is impossible to ever learn enough about design.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? One of my design heroines is Muriel Cooper, who gave up a career as a gifted graphic designer in the early 1970s to experiment with digital technology, and to try to ensure that the imagery we see on computer screens had the clarity and beauty of the best printed design. I always admire people who have the intellectual dexterity to set themselves new challenges by working in different spheres. She was also, by all accounts, a very charismatic woman, spirited, courageous and greatly loved by her students and colleagues.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? I would love to learn to fly, both jets and helicopters. Though a diplomat friend recently completed an evasive driving course, which sounded fantastic.

What are you reading? I have just finished Peter Carey's new novel The chemistry of tears, which is wonderful, and have started Beware of pity, a 1939 novel by one of my favourite 20th century authors, the Austrian writer, Stefan Zweig. I love literary fiction, but am also a history nut, and a couple of excellent books on the early development of computing have been published recently. I especially enjoyed James Gleick's The information and George Dyson's Turing's cathedral.

images courtesy of alice rawsthorn


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