Wednesday, 30 September 2015


“Ceramics is an interesting balance between tangible, tactile design and freedom of creation,” Natalie Rosin says. She came to it while studying architecture. Initially Natalie was enrolled in a Bachelor of Architectural Studies at UNSW but it was during this time - and when she went to Cornell University in the USA - that she started to take ceramics seriously. “Architecture can at times appear too abstract or largely technical or practical, where the concepts and ideas from your mind translate onto paper or a screen and remain there for months to years at a time,” she says. However, Natalie has found a way to combine her two interests. Her ceramic work has been included in exhibitions in Sydney at Chinaclay, Damien Minton Gallery and M.Contemporary.

Which five words best describe you? Intuitive, experimental, contemplative, introverted, brown. 

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? My career began at the start of my architecture education. During the undergraduate degree I spent half a year in the USA at Cornell University in New York. The time spent there provided a greater sense of drive and through architecture and art courses I developed a stronger appreciation for art-making processes. While then completing a Masters in Architecture, I began readjusting the earlier perceptions I had formed of traditional model-making mediums. By taking my emerging practice in ceramics and selecting clay as tool for design, I believe new architectural typologies regarding form can be found.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? I’ve learnt the value of patience. Ceramics has many processes, multiple firings and countless periods of waiting for pieces to dry. You also become more accepting of chance, becoming aware that each firing may not translate to the initial idea. A piece could explode or warps in the kiln. When understanding clay’s limitations and working with these constraints, often playful and untold forms are created. 

What’s your proudest career achievement? Receiving recognition for the work I’ve developed so far in this early stage of my career.

What’s been your best decision? This is a challenging question. At least one worthwhile decision I’ve chosen has been to take those steps and enroll in a College of Fine Arts ceramics course at my university. This was definitely a very gratifying and rewarding choice. 

Who inspires you? People who don’t think about what they should do. Instead they know what makes them happy and follow this path. “People create their own questions because they are afraid to look straight. All you have to do is look straight and see the road, and when you see it, don't sit looking at it ­walk” - Ayn Rand

What are you passionate about? Exploring new ideas and processes. While studying architecture I gained access to a variety of digital tools for architectural model-making and prototyping. I developed an interest in experimenting with laser cutting processes on clay forms. These experiments were fascinating, often not having a clear idea of the result was exciting, and I hope to continue this inquiry in the near future. 

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? My mother’s father. I never recall meeting him. He was a photographer from Germany. I believe we would have had a lot to talk about. 

What dream do you still want to fulfil? I hope to experience an artist-­in-­residence position and really focus on my ceramic practice while embracing the local architecture of the chosen location. 

What are you reading? I just finished the Jennifer Egan book Look at me and finally got around to reading Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead.

images courtesy of natalie rosin

Tuesday, 29 September 2015


“At the age of 94 I’ve been around a long time so it follows that I’ve had many great experiences, personal, visual, emotional, etc, which have all contributed to the images which eventually surface in paintings,” says artist Guy Warren. He left school at aged 14 because his family was suffering from the effects of the Great Depression and took a job as a proofreader’s assistant on The Bulletin weekly newspaper. “I became fascinated by words and art,” he says. At aged 21 he joined the AIF and served for five years in Australia and New Guinea. “I was greatly impressed by the physical beauty of New Guinea and the people who live there, and fell in love with rainforest/jungle landscape,” he says. Guy served for a couple of years on the island of Bougainville and during this time completed a series of drawings and watercolours of the landscape and the people, as well as his friends and Japanese prisoners. Many of these artworks are now in the Australian War Museum art collection.

Following the war he studied at the National Art School, Sydney, married and lived in London for eight years while studying part-time and working. When Guy returned to Australia he taught at the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Sydney and was director of the old Tin Sheds experimental art workshop. He was also invited to join the planning committee for the Sydney College of the Arts and joined the staff as an inaugural director and later became the head of painting for 10 years. Over his career, Guy has won the Archibald and had his works acquired in various collections around the world, including the National Gallery of Australia and The British Museum. In 2013 he was awarded the Australian Medal.

His latest exhibition - Dust of Memories - is the result of travels over the past 18 months to Ecuador, across the Nullarbor, as well as time spent near Alice Springs and Broken Hill. The show will run until 4 October at Olsen Irwin.

Which five words best describe you? That question should be answered by someone else, not by me.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I never thought of it as a career path. It’s simply a path one stumbles blindly along. The act of making a mark on a flat surface is a primal urge. One knows that’s what one has to do.

What's the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? To trust one’s intuition.

What's your proudest career achievement? To have works collected by major museums in Australia and abroad.

What's been your best decision? To marry a beaut woman with intelligence, tolerance, a good sense of humour and with shared interests.

Who inspires you? Every great painter who came before me.

What are you passionate about? Tolerance and compassion to one’s fellow human beings.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Any of the great painters. Matisse wouldnt be be a bad start. But Id settle for Rembrandt.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? Too many to list here. Perhaps a really fantastic painting, still to come? Learn a second language? Become a jazz musician?

What are you reading? Right now Im browsing again through the sonnets of Shakespeare. Not sure why.  Probably just picked it up.

images courtesy of guy warren and olsen irwin gallery

Monday, 28 September 2015


Andrew Patterson founded his architecture studio on a simple yet strong idea. If a building feels like it belongs to a place - through environment, time and culture - then the people who live there, will most likely feel that sense of belonging too. His Auckland-based Pattersons Associates Architects started in 1986, working on projects with this concept in mind. Since then it has grown to be international in stature, with commissions in China, India, Germany and Singapore. The studio has also won a series of awards - almost every year for the past 12 years - mostly with the New Zealand Insitute of Architects. While the practice expanded in 2004 when Davor Popadich and Andrew Mitchell joined the studio as directors, Andrew says he’s been lucky in receiving recognition straight from the start. “I was in my third year at architecture school at the University of Auckland when a guy came into the school wanting to commission the ‘top’ student - he wanted a new house,” he says. However, the leading student wasn’t able to do it. “Fortunately, I was given that commission - it was on a beautiful site and from that job I was able to establish my own practice and continue growing my career from there.”

Which five words best describe you? Better to ask other people this but if you ask me they are enquiring, conscious, dedicated, determined, and creative.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Architecture is a journey about helping the world’s built environment.

What’s your proudest career achievement? The thing I remember most is a dinner with my solicitor when a client I didn’t remember from 12 years ago came over and sincerely thanked me. The lawyer was amazed. He said that would never happen to him. More recently I was named one of 21 architects “whose directional ideas are helping to shape the future of world architecture” by the globe’s most searched architectural journal World Architectural News. That was also hugely humbling. 

What’s been your best decision? Trusting clients.

Who inspires you? My partner.

What are you passionate about? Beautiful spaces that enable people to feel like they belong to the world.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? I would like to meet my friend Andrew Ferrier again - he died of a bone marrow rejection last week.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? To make a better built world.

What are you reading? Arguably by Christopher Hitchens.

images courtesy of patterson associates

Friday, 25 September 2015


“I don’t stop working - one painting leads on to the next and to the next,” says Melbourne artist Adam Pyett. “Sooner or later there is a body of work ready to show.” For his latest exhibition, he continued on from the last painting of his previous show. Everything is a continuum. “The more paintings I make, the more I exhibit and the more people get to see them,” says Adam, who was born and raised in Melbourne, and has a father as an artist. He graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (majoring in painting). His latest exhibition From Another Room is showing at Sophie Gannon Gallery until Saturday 26 September.

Which five words best describe you? Calm, volatile, patient, aggressive, disciplined.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I always drew pictures as a child and I started to paint seriously in the studio while I was still in high school. This led me into art school and I haven’t really stopped since.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? It is a marathon not a sprint.

What’s your proudest career achievement? Having works acquired by the National Gallery of Victoria

What’s been your best decision? I decided that I could learn new tricks even though I am a bit of an old dog.

Who inspires you? Painters who make their best works at the end of their career.

What are you passionate about? Integrity.

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

What dream do you still want to fulfil? Owning a home with a garden and a dog.

What are you reading? Absolute Friends by John Le Carre - for a second time.

images courtesy of adam pyett and sophie gannon gallery

Thursday, 24 September 2015


The pull of photography was too strong for Justin Alexander, despite some early doubts. After school - which started in Papua New Guinea, where he was born, and continued in Cairns for the senior years, he began a Bachelor of Photography at RMIT in Melbourne but quit in first year to change courses for a “real” profession. Justin moved to Brisbane, enrolled in and finished law school, but never really committed to a legal career. Instead photography was luring him back. “I learnt initially by reading, then asking, then assisting for four years - five including a year in London,” he says. It was a phone call to a magazine editor that kickstarted Justin’s career as an interiors photographer though. Since then he has become in demand with architects, including Luigi Rosselli and Tobias Partners. His work is also often featured in leading publications too - from Vogue Living to Belle and Habitus Living.

Which five words best describe you? Discerning, uncompromising, sensitive, dreamer, flaneur.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I returned to Sydney after assisting in London and made a phone call to an editor who was willing to take a chance on me. That first commission happened to be an interior and I’d have to say that more than anything set me upon this particular path. Most of my training was actually in still life.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? To trust my own instincts.

What’s your proudest career achievement? Assisting London-based Italian photographic duo Coppi Barbieri. In my opinion the best photographers on the planet.

What’s been your best decision? Leaving law practice and becoming a photographer.

Who inspires you? I tend to find inspiration outside of the photographic community. It’s industrial designers, architects and even nature that produce things I want to document; and of these there are far too many to mention.

What are you passionate about? In life; food and travel. In work; the details.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Ansel Adams. He combined technical perfection with an aesthetic that leaves you speechless when viewing his prints.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? Finding a way to split my time between Sydney, Milan and London.

What are you reading? The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt.

images courtesy of justin alexander

Wednesday, 23 September 2015


Linde Ivimey’s first solo exhibition was in a museum - at the Heide Museum of Modern Art in 2003. “I really had to pinch myself,” Linde says. “That is quite unheard of.” Once she turned away from a job in teaching and closed the door to her studio, her art practice and career unfolded. “Every step of the way there has been a professional affirmation,” she says. “I recall a very consolidating feeling, the feeling of ‘this is going reeeaaallly well’.” Linde was born in Sydney but has spent equal amounts of time working in Perth and Melbourne. Nine years ago she returned to Sydney and a studio in the Inner-West. She has been included in the Australian Art Collector’s “50 Most Collectable Artists” issue in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Her work is held in high-profile private collections as well as the National Gallery of Australia and the National Gallery of Victoria. Her latest exhibition Cross My Heart runs until 3 October at the Jan Murphy Gallery in Brisbane.

Which five words best describe you? Persistent, careful, articulate, observant, capable.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? Like a lot of people, I fell out of school early, back when there was no gap year. I went straight into employment and after a bum deal with waitressing I took a job in a print factory. I worked in the dark room making printing plates and pasting up print-ready art work - before the cut/paste clicks on computers.

I studied graphics at night school, and graphic design led me into three-dimensional work. I went on to study print and sculpture at Tafe and when I finished those courses they offered me a teaching job. Tafe was great - technical skills are marvellous attributes and teaching welding, wood work, jewellery and design was really satisfying.

Good students make teaching great but also exhausting. It required a great deal of energy to keep up my own work practice. When I stopped teaching I was encouraged and well supported by my partner, also a sculptor, to shut my studio door and get on with the business of being an artist. During that time I worked relentlessly and the studio filled to the brim with sculptures. When opportunities came to show what I had been doing people were astounded, not always in a good way either, but certainly some impact was made.

I realised the work was all made for me only, not anyone else - that’s how I like it still. When I do commission work, I make it for me also. If it doesn’t quite hit the mark for my client, I will make another one that may. When my work does find resonance with someone I take it as a great delight to be able to share a little bit of my vision. Though I still feel that letting a work go can be like removing a charm from a bracelet.

My dealers are as careful as an adoption or placement service needs to be to match the work to the clients.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Being innovative requires ingenuity, hard work and long hours - it’s worth it.

What’s your proudest career achievement? The ABC approached me in 2006. They wanted to do a feature documentary on my work; that recognition was very big for me.

What’s been your best decision? Very simple - the decision to make another one.

Who inspires you? Every unknown, tool-pushing, cave-dwelling, harvest-following person whose work makes up the ancient antiquities section in every museum around the world. The people who made things just to satisfy their urge, their spirituality, their god or their curiosity. No names, just a date followed by BC or AD and their objects for me to wonder at.

What are you passionate about? I am passionate about hypnosis. I started studying it as a hobby and have many qualifications now. I don’t have a practice as a hypnotherapist but I love practicing hypnosis. I can think of nowhere it would not be beneficial as a companion therapy. 

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? My father. He wasn’t so keen to catch up before he died and it’s left me with a bit of a heart ache. I think it would help to talk it through.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? I have a profession goal. I would like to be a war artist. I’d love to focus on contemporary trench art and really explore what can be done with the detritus involved with providing for our troops. 

What are you reading? I have three books on the go, from light to heavy they are: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler - it’s a twisty, witty piece of fiction; Closer To The Light by Dr Melvin Morse - amazing revelations learned from the near-death experiences of children; and The Felton Illuminated Manuscripts by Margaret Manion, mainly pictorial research.

images courtesy of linde ivimey and jan murphy gallery

Tuesday, 22 September 2015


“I’ve always followed my instincts and done things the way I thought they should be done,” says Simon Devitt. “I show the work I want to make and inevitably that’s the work I get to make. Seems to be working.” The photographer, who is based in Auckland, New Zealand, was first exposed to film through his father, who always carried a 35mm SLR with the family wherever they went. Today Simon shoots mainly homes - for architects and interior magazines - and has had his work published across the world in titles such as Elle Decor (Italia) to Architectural Digest (Germany) and Dwell (USA). His work has also featured in books such as Long Live the Modern by Julia Gatley and Group Architects: Towards a New Zealand Architecture. McNamara Gallery in Whanganui represents Simon for his fine art photography. “I can’t imagine being anything else, nor would I want to,” he says.

Which five words best describe you? Seer, doer, maker, talker, lover.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I taught myself photography by walking city blocks, suburban streets and rural back blocks. I haven’t stopped doing this and the work I do now is directly connected. For me, my work is about witnessing how it feels to be somewhere, the essence of a place. I took this instinct to photographing architecture by photographing buildings that were accessible and then showing the architect how I saw what they saw. 

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? The lessons are hourly, daily, hopefully. One key lesson that keeps showing up as a question - there are only good questions, very few good answers - are you obsessed?

What’s your proudest career achievement? I’m very fortunate to say I’ve had many and they’ve shown up in many and varied ways. Often, it’s when an architect client says they’ve seen the building - they spent years making - new again through the pictures I’ve made. That, to me, is a great compliment.

What’s been your best decision? To trust my instincts.

Who inspires you? Anyone who dares to live their integrity. I meet many, often. I’m lucky. I touch down and take off in and out of many people’s lives almost every day. The main reason is that a dream they had once has come true. More often than not, they are very inspiring people to meet.

What are you passionate about? Making picture stories that offer the chance for people to see the world in a way they haven’t considered, to feel what it’s like to be somewhere they’ve never been or to meet someone they may never meet.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? I really love the work of sculptor Anselm Kiefer. He seems like a super interesting guy too. Aaaaaaand I’d like to meet Jerry Lewis (R.I.P).

What dream do you still want to fulfil? Having a family of my own.

What are you reading? Another book by Rebecca Solnit, The faraway nearby.

images courtesy of simon devitt and pattersons (images 1-3)

Monday, 21 September 2015


Tokyo-based designer Yusuke Seki has garnered a lot of publicity for what is one of his favourite projects to date. He was commissioned to remodel the Maruhiro ceramics flagship store in Hasami, a town that has an association with pottery that goes back about 400 years. Yusuke transformed 25,000 pieces of tableware - discarded due to imperfections - from the local factories into a durable, functional piece of retail design. As part of the process, he had each cup and bowl filled with concrete to create “bricks” and made a surface that’s strong enough to walk on. Since starting his own design studio in 2008, he has created a variety of spaces that reinterpret spaces. In the past he has worked with corporate clients including Sony and Dyson, and he has exhibited at the Milan Salone as well as the Stockholm Furniture and Light Fair. 

Which five words best describe you? Honest, chaos, rebellious, break-through, progressive.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? Even when I was studying at Space Design Department, I was into fashion and went shopping all night long or made and sold hand-printed T-shirts. It sounds silly to spend all night queuing for a T-shirt but I found that I had an emotional attachment to products. This experience still influences me. Also, when I was working at an architectural studio, I was also creating my own design work, and was invited to Milan Salone. So it might be that I have a habit of wandering from the main path.

What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? Meeting new people always provides lesson to me. Sometimes it mirrors things to myself and it can help to guide me when I am wandering and lost.

What’s your proudest career achievement? If I was to pick one as an example, it would be the latest project at the Maruhiro flagship store [pictured above], although my role was only for the interior design. I am proud of creating a process that integrated different parts of Hasami. And the presence of a renewed store became a trigger to connect the town’s history to its future. This is a good example of what I would like to have happen with projects - for them to influence to towns and cities.

What’s been your best decision? The art university I went to at Kanazawa. Meeting the people I did there has given me the personality I have today.

Who inspires you? Malcolm McLaren - it was big news when he passed way so he was an influential person in Japan as well. For me, I was influenced by punk culture, which he lead and was an icon.

What are you passionate about? I am influenced by the challenges that my friends face and their attitude towards them. Their passion helps me to move forward, and chase with them.

Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? The dog I used to live with that passed away.

What dream do you still want to fulfil? I would like to leave my creations as traces in many cities around the world, and share and explore new attitudes and values with various people around. The challenge is also to explore the possibilities of design and the role of architecture.

What are you reading? Edogawa Rampo.

images courtesy of yusuke seki; portrait yosuke owashi


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