Wednesday, 31 October 2012

designer david hardwick

The homes of emerging designers are often workshops. It's where their ideas are born and the place that prototypes are put to test. That's true of the Sydney home of David and Mel Hardwick from Hardwick and Cesko. He came up for his latest idea, a kids bed, when he couldn't find one for his daughter. And the Unfold Desk, which bagged David his first award and is currently in London as part of London Design Week, will also return to the couple's home at the end of the year. While furniture is a large part of the company's direction, I first got to know their work when loaning some papercut artworks for a Christmas styling shoot a little while back. Meet David...

Which five words best describe you? Hard-working and occasionally inspired.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? With Fantastic Furniture, I started as a designer then became a buyer. It was a great education in the realities of the commercial world and a great company to work for with some inspiring mentors. It was pretty much the same crew that started Freedom Furniture in the 90s. After five years there, I wanted to concentrate on design again and start working on some of my own ideas which has been a challenge but is beginning to pay off.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Choose your battles.
What’s your proudest career achievement? My latest design, the Unfold Desk. Currently on exhibition as part of the London Design festival, and it brought me my first award... but most of all it’s the best representation of my ideals as a designer so far, which is most satisfying.
What’s been your best decision? Starting a family.
Who inspires you? I think children in general inspire me the most. I like the innocence and honesty that you can sense in their interactions with environments, people and objects.
What are you passionate about? Furniture, but not just as objects, it’s the relationship that people can form with a piece that is the most important. The environment is another great passion, I’ve always enjoyed being active and outdoors so it really bugs me when we don’t do the right thing.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Leonard Cohen. I know it’s a cliché but I really love his work.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? Where do I start? 
1 Design and build a luxury house on a barge. 
Design and build a house in the bush, near the ocean.
3 Design an electric commuter bike.
4 Own an island - there was one going in the Pacific for $4 million, with a powerplant!
What are you reading? Bossypants by Tina Fey. I’m a big fan of 30 Rock.

images courtesy of hardwick and cesko

Friday, 26 October 2012

photographer john tsiavis

After fitting suits and working in bars in his early twenties John Tsiavis turned to photography. He got his start shooting stills and key artwork for films, such as the iconic image of Eric Bana as Chopper, and went on to carve a niche in the entertainment industry. Four of John's portraits are on display in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery and he has been short-listed for the National Portraiture Prize, as well as a finalist for the Olive Cotton Award. More recently he went to London to shoot a photo documentary, pictured above, for UK hat designer Philip Treacy

Which five words best describe you? I aspire to be generous, happy, original, stress-free (I know that's two words) and a perfectionist... not always successfully I might add.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I got my first job whilst in university when film producer Jane Scott was in search for a fresh photographer to shoot her film following Shine. It was an amazing introduction to the film industry and it shaped my career and work ethic. Jane was an amazing mentor. My second film was Chopper. Once the artwork for the film was released my career gained momentum. I was able to carve a niche for myself in the entertainment industry shooting production stills and even more rewarding, the key artwork for film, television, musicals and theatre. At the age of 24, disillusioned and overworked, I packed up my things and decided to go traveling. At the end of my trip I luckily worked on another one of Jane's films shooting in Italy and on my return to Australia I joined a studio in Prahran, Melbourne. It was one of the best decisions I've ever made and I'm still a part of it, ten years later. I still specialise in entertainment photography, though I also have a variety of clients and work ranging from fashion, big corporates, editorial, lifestyle and advertising. I've also found that it's important to develop and shoot my personal work and I do that with my friend and collaborator Nik Dimopoulos. It's amazing how this work informs my other work, it's made me a better photographer. Ultimately, I love that every day is a different day and I get to do what I love.
What's the best lesson you've learnt along the way? To trust your instincts and to have the conviction to execute them.
What's your proudest career achievement? Probably the week I art directed Philip Treacy's Melbourne fashion show. I shot my most successful artwork over a weekend - I met Philip on Monday and was asked to work on his show which we pulled together by Friday. Then on Sunday we worked on the most amazing photo shoot. We commenced shooting at 9am Sunday and finished at 3am the following day. I wish every week was like that.
What's been your best decision? To travel as much as I can. I've found that the world opens up every time I take myself away from the familiar.
Who inspires you? Nik Dimopoulos - my collaborator with whom I've been working with for the last four years to create our personal artwork. He's one of the most original thinkers I've met. I think he's a genius, and our work is at its best when we work together.
What are you passionate about? Mostly the relationships I have with my friends, family and partner. Photography, I'm the happiest when I'm working. My veggie patch. My cat. 
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Nobody really. Photography has opened up the world for me and I've met some pretty amazing people. I'm happy to be surprised with what the future has for me.... maybe Judge Judy.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? To live abroad. I'm currently putting the wheels in motion to live and work in Europe. I think it would be the most amazing professional and personal challenge and adventure but mostly a natural progression for my work.
What are you reading? Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris.

images courtesy of john tsiavis

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

photographer + stylist kara rosenlund

Kara Rosenlund spent much of her 20s dedicated to photography. She was the youngest recipient of the Canon Australian Institute of Professional Photography "AIPP Photographer of the Year" award and from 2003 worked across advertising campaigns and magazine titles. Her photos were exhibited at the Sydney Opera House too. However, Kara decided to take a break and head to London where she swapped industries and worked in antiques. On returning to Brisbane in 2007, she combined her interests in styling, buying and photography with her Travelling Wares shop, in the caravan "Frankie", pictured above.

Which five words best describe you? Loyal, observant, grateful, ambitious, loving.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I started my career at 20 after studying photography. I experienced a lot of success early on within the photographic industry, both locally and internationally with my exhibiting work. At the time I thought of myself as being extremely "lucky" to be receiving such accolades and recognition. In reality I was very dedicated to the work and I probably gave up a good half of my 20s to it. After working as an editorial and advertising photographer in Sydney, in 2006 I decided to have some time off and move back to Brisbane and then on to London. It was in London that I decided upon a different career path, that of an antiques buyer, which strangely lead me back to photography and styling when I returned to Australia a couple of years later to start my new business.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Gosh, there are so many of them. Probably that stressing actually doesn't get anything achieved, it just makes it more daunting in your head and you waste a lot of energy time - just get on with it.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Apart from having a photography exhibition at the Sydney Opera House it would have to be starting up Travelling Wares here in Brisbane, my travelling caravan old wares shop. It made me recognise my strengths and then bundle them all under the one umbrella - photography, styling and buyer - and turn them into a business. This has made me very proud and grateful that I now have created an avenue for myself to push my ambition and drive in to.
What’s been your best decision? Starting Travelling Wares. Being honest with myself and recognising that I needed to take a risk and create something of my own which allowed me to be creative. I realised that in order to move forward, sometimes you need to look back. As soon as I found my beloved 1956 "Frankie" and decided to pick up my camera again. Everything just fell in to place.
Who inspires you? My brand new husband Timothy O does; he has such clarity in every situation, which brings innovation and patience. I love his mind, and how he thinks. Also my father; I think about his hardworking approach to his humble business and it inspires me daily.
What are you passionate about? Our home life. It is such a privilege to be able to carve out how you choose to live and have the freedom to enable it to happen. To have a happy and safe place to nurture relationships, have animals and essential harbour love is very inspiring and something which I am very appreciative of.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? You know, I think I would have liked to have met Steve Irwin. I know that some people may disregard Steve Irwin, though it really is phenomenal what he achieved for the wider community and the level of awareness he was able to raise through his pure drive and appreciation for animals and conservation. I often think of him and how he truly must have believed that he could really change the world and what a desire that must of felt like.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? I would love to have a permanent shop. Even though I have an online shop and the caravan shop I still yearn for the solid bricks and to share the experience with people, and styling more cook books.
What are you reading? Oh dear. This is going to sound dreadful. I am not reading books, rather flipping through magazines - Gather Journal, World of Interiors, Kinfolk, Monocle, Vogue Living. Between juggling my business, our house renovations - which we do all ourselves - and spoiling our chickens, there is no spare time for proper book reading. I have tried to read, though have shamefully fallen into a slumber too many times. I'll get back to reading next year.

images courtesy of kara rosenlund

Friday, 19 October 2012

photographer petrina hicks

After working as a commercial photographer for many years, Sydney-based Petrina Hicks now focuses on her fine art work. She is well-known for her portraits of the model Lauren, pictured second from top, and portraying a tension between beauty and imperfection. Petrina has won several prizes for her work, including the 2008 ABN Amro Emerging Artist Award. She has also exhibited in Germany and Japan, and at the National Gallery of Victoria as well as the Museum of Brisbane. In Sydney she is represented by the Stills Gallery.

Which five words best describe you? Depends which day you catch me - today it’s calm, focused, inspired, patient.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I started working as a photography assistant to commercial photographers in Sydney. I did this for 6 years, before working as a commercial photographer myself. I then grew frustrated with this, and started to develop my art practice again, and now this is what my time revolves around.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? "Nothing is perfect, nothing lasts, and nothing is finished".
What’s your proudest career achievement? It’s yet to happen.
What’s been your best decision? Destroy and create, create and destroy.
Who inspires you? The list would be infinite, as I’m inspired by everything, in the realm of the arts a few key inspirations have been: Kiki Smith, Cindy Sherman, Michael Borremans, Vermeer.
What are you passionate about? Real food, yoga, non possession – or not being weighed down by ones possessions.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Leonardo Da Vinci
What dream do you still want to fulfil? To have a garden.
What are you reading? Words Without Pictures (a series of texts published by Los Angeles County Museum of Art).

images courtesy of petrina hicks

Thursday, 18 October 2012

shop owner brooke crowle

Soon after visiting Brooke Crowle at her store, Elements I Love, in Sydney's Surry Hills, she was off to India. That was after a trip to France and Belgium only a short while ago. She is a nomadic shopper who is always on overseas adventures, sourcing antique wares for her two stores - Elements I Love and Architectural & Antique Elements in Leichhardt. But while Brooke loves to travel, and discover new finds, she still enjoys getting her hands dirty in the workshop, restoring furniture, which is where she started out.

Which five words best describe you? Creative lapsed hippy, cynical, messy, bossy and cheeky.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? A love of art history drove me towards restoration, from there I learnt the many finishing skills that I use daily in the workshop. Photography is a bit of hobby that I have been able to nurture via the blog, same with writing my blog, which I am sure I could improve if my dream works out - jump to the second last question! All the other stuff about running a business you learn from just doing it, hard work and commitment.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? To paraphrase the ever optimistic Indians: trust your gut instinct in both business and life because “if it’s not a happy ending, it’s not the end yet”.
What’s your proudest career achievement? I haven't really got one thing but the philosophy of "keeping it real", not dumbing down our "beautiful products" despite the pressures of commercialism and making a living.
What’s been your best decision? Opening a bricks and mortar store in Surry Hills - near like minded folks - when everyone is going online or moving to a warehouse. I’ve been there, and it's really cold!
Who inspires you? Travel is great for inspiration, especially India for "life" and France for how to work and live. Family, friends and other creatives in business inspire me - whether it is fashion, food, music, writing, music, design...
What are you passionate about? Real things not faux: real people, real food, hand-made, hand-crafted, texture, texture...
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Stevie Nicks. Barack Obama. Sylvia Beach.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? To live in France for three, six months, or a year or two or three...
What are you reading? Why be happy when you could be normal by Jeannette Winterson. Really, I am!

images natalie walton (courtesy of elements i love)

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

architect virginia kerridge

There is nothing like seeing an architect's work first hand. On a visit to a friend's recently renovated home I was compelled to enquire about who had designed the alterations. Virginia Kerridge, it turns out. After some research I discovered she is also the architect behind one of Bondi's most amazing and innovative homes, on Campbell Parade. There is lots to learn about Virginia. In 2011 she won the Houses Awards Australian House of the Year, which is one of many awards she has gained since establishing her practice in 1995. In fact, one of her first projects - converting a warehouse in an inner-city location - was awarded the 1995 RAIA Merit Award for Architecture and the 1995 RAIA President's Award for Recycled Buildings. It also won a Dulux colour award.

Which five words best describe you? I like a laugh.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I took a risk and started working independently young with the idea that if I didn’t enjoy I’d do something else.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Keep going and keep inspired.
What’s your proudest career achievement? To have the opportunity to do great work for great people.
What’s been your best decision? To do my own thing.
Who inspires you? All truly creative people and people who don’t take themselves too seriously.
What are you passionate about? Being able to be creative in some way.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Picasso
What dream do you still want to fulfil? To have enough freedom and time to explore other aspects of creativity, like painting.
What are you reading? A book on the work of the painter Tony Tuckson

images courtesy of virginia kerridge

Friday, 12 October 2012

designers karen enis and amber molnar

Me and Amber and Ksubi are not two Australian brands you'd expect to talk about in the same sentence. The former started out making handmade cards, while the latter burst onto the fashion scene after sending rats down the runway. Yet Ksubi approached the designers behind Me and Amber, Karen Enis and Amber Molnar, to create their business cards when travelling to London Fashion Week. That goes some way to show not only how far news of their talent has spread, but also the extent of their skills. The duo, friends since kindergarten, started working on the Me and Amber project in their final year of university. Almost 10 years later they continue to make products only in Australia, but now sell a range of wares, including cushions, tea towels and notebooks.

Which five words best describe you? Creative, easy-going, observant, happy, considerate.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? We began by selling handmade cards at Published Art, our favourite Sydney bookstore. Surprisingly they sold well, so we continued approaching more retailers with our little box of cards in hand. Since then, we have (slowly!) expanded our product range to include homewares, stationery and artworks, which we sell to stores around Australia, and a couple overseas.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? If you love what you do, keep at it
What’s your proudest career achievement? We are still waiting for it!
What’s been your best decision? Starting our own business, doing what we love, and working with each other. Despite what so many people warn about getting into business with friends, it has been a wonderful adventure for us, and we feel so lucky.
Who inspires you? So many people... Yoshitomo Nara, Bill Henson, Stormie Mills, Egon Schiele, Banksy... 
What are you passionate about? Creating beautiful designs that are environmentally considerate.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Salvador Dali
What dream do you still want to fulfil? To set up a combined studio/retail space.
What are you reading? Eugenia by Mark Tedeschi and On the road by Jack Kerouac.

images courtesy of me and amber

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

interior designer caroline choker

The Grounds in Alexandria is an anomaly. It is in the middle of an industrial area, not close to similar venues, and a bit of a trek from local transport. Yet there is always a queue. People dress up to have lunch there. And there's a never-ending rotation of cabs dropping people off and picking up new fares ready to return to the city and surrounding suburbs. It's success is due, in part, to the interior design which transformed a former pie factory into the flagship store for a coffee roaster, as well as a cafe with outdoor gardens. While the concept was the work of Ramzey Choker, the interiors were the domain of his sister, Caroline.

Which five words best describe you? Passionate, creative, driven, inspired, focused.
How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I have always been creatively obsessed – studied and worked in graphic design then developed my own fashion label for two years. Finally I decided to follow my first passion which was interiors. I guess it was embedded in me from a young age when my father would walk me through his construction sites.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Have conviction in everything.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Working with my brother to design and deliver The Grounds of Alexandria project and then being acknowledged and shortlisted in the IDEA + Eat Drink Dine Awards.
What’s been your best decision? Listening to my heart.
Who inspires you? My partner.
What are you passionate about? Living life to its fullest potential, being absorbed in art, design, travel, family and friends.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Jean Michel Basquiat - for his brilliance.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? Design and build a boutique hotel.

images courtesy of the grounds

Thursday, 4 October 2012

artist amelia disspain

Amelia Disspain is living proof that daily practice gets results. It is a lesson her high school art teacher instilled in her. And one she has successfully taken to heart. It embodies not just her approach to art-making, but also yoga (she is an instructor). Last year Amelia was a finalist in the Paddington Art Prize, and has exhibited in group shows at Chalk Horse Gallery, Mary Place Gallery and Australian Galleries Works on Paper. She is currently having her first major show at Mick Gallery in Sydney's Paddington. The exhibition runs until October 7.

Which five words best describe you? Passionate, impatient, intuitive, daydreamer.
How have you progressed to a career as an artist? I have been making artworks ever since I can remember. My high school art teacher was an incredible and passionate woman who encouraged us to take our artwork seriously, to make sure it was a daily practice, almost spiritual, to find inspiration everywhere, and to take good care of the finished product. I have tried to stick by that and have just kept making work.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? That, for me, inspiration comes from working, not from planning and thinking and talking, and that the best work comes when I am disciplined enough to do some every day.
What was the starting point for this exhibition? There is an Edgar Allen Poe story about a man who is commissioned by people to paint portraits of their favourite tree. That story combined with my love of old horror films and spending part of my childhood in a fundamentalist Christian community led me to the idea of making an exhibition of portraits of houses, places scarred with the energy of past events, seemingly peaceful homes with something more sinister within.
What’s your proudest career achievement? I am so proud when my work moves people.
What’s been your best decision? Studying to become a yoga instructor. Yoga has taught me discipline and focus.
Who inspires you? Passionate people. 
What are you passionate about? Feeling 
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Louise Bourgeois
What dream do you still want to fulfil? I'd like to have a big family running wild in a huge house with a door that opens to New York City, another door that opens to the beach and yet another one opening to the some amazing mountainous region. Or, finding contentment in every moment.
What are you reading? In watermelon sugar by Richard Brautigan I read it at least once a year.

images courtesy of amelia disspain and mick gallery


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