Q&A WITH ABSTRACT ARTIST KERRY ARMSTRONG

We have been following and supporting the work of Melbourne-based artist Kerry Armstrong for a few years now. Many of her bold, striking artworks have found themselves right at home in several of our residential projects, providing the perfect complement to our interiors.

We have been keen to sit down with the Abstract Expressionist painter to find out more about the inspiration behind her practice, life lessons, and what dreams she still wants to fulfil.

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WHICH THREE WORDS BEST DESCRIBE YOU?

Impetuous, open, dreamer 

WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE GROWING UP? 

I love this question! I remember vividly when I was about 5 years old folding a shirt for Mum (very much perfectly, Virgo style) and my determined aim was to make it look exactly like it was in a shop. She wasn’t an easy person to impress although her comments were that I could easily get a job in a shirt folding factory. My little heart burst with pride and instant ambition! I held onto that career aspiration for a long time and tragically still have a strong urge to refold jumpers in shops! 

HOW DID YOU EARN YOUR FIRST PAY PACKET? 

My first pay packet was earned washing dishes and waitressing at a little Austrian restaurant in the Dandenongs. I worked there Friday, Saturday and Sundays and relished the ability to be independent financially. I remember buying my first pair of Staggers jeans at Merivale and Mr John in Melbourne and it felt like my life suddenly had no limits. 

  'Geraniums in Pam Pink'    Paddocks for Ponies series 2018, Acrylic & oil on Belgian linen, 203 x 203 cm, Framed in black Australian oak

'Geraniums in Pam Pink' Paddocks for Ponies series 2018, Acrylic & oil on Belgian linen, 203 x 203 cm, Framed in black Australian oak

WHAT IS THE BEST LIFE LESSON YOU HAVE LEARNT ALONG THE WAY?  

Accepting the (concept) of perceived and real failure and understanding how far you can actually go once you’re on your life’s true path. These lessons rang true throughout my health issues with a brain tumour which was the impetus to let go of my old career to be my real self as an artist professionally. 

WHAT'S YOUR PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENT?

Personally, my two adult children who I have always dreamed of having. I used to talk about them way before they were born and nailed their personalities even then, they were always meant to be. They are strong, hardworking, kind, talented, ethical and my best friends. 

Professionally, the fruition of Studio Gallery Melbourne and now being represented by .M Contemporary in Sydney. I’m super excited to be included in their exhibition at the Sydney Contemporary this September!

WHO INSPIRES YOU? 

I am inspired by people who demonstrate honesty and strength. Turia Pitt blows me away with her complete and utter ownership of her life and even thinking about her fills me with admiration and awe without a shred of any other emotion.

I once heard Quentin Bryce speak and felt very drawn to her manner and acceptance of life’s challenges and imperfections. She is a woman of true grit and emotional intelligence who also rocks a tailored suit, perfect hair and beautiful pearls!  

  'You Sat To My Left’    Paddocks for Ponies series 2018, Acrylic on Belgian linen, 120 x 141 cm, Framed in white Australian oak

'You Sat To My Left’ Paddocks for Ponies series 2018, Acrylic on Belgian linen, 120 x 141 cm, Framed in white Australian oak

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST VICE?

I'm an excess coffee drinker which has sadly flourished as it punctuates my studio/painting time. My ONLY other vice (!) are my never-ending hankering’s and proposals to my poor husband as to how we need to finish our renovation at home  with great style of course! I’m a complete homebody and adore our old place and garden and very much enjoy seeing it slowly come together.

DO YOU FOLLOW TRENDS OR ARE YOU A TRENDSETTER?

I think all humans do at different speeds, my personal style is tailored, Euro-influenced and uncluttered whether that be clothing or design. I think I’m still heavily influenced from a deep love and personal history of equestrian pursuits. 

WHAT DREAM DO YOU STILL WANT TO FULFILL? 

I have plenty of them! I always have this sense of life and ambitious pursuits being at the very beginning which is where I believe you learn the most. One that comes straight to mind is another exhibition overseas - this time in London or New York! 

  'Our Midnight'  In Water Series, Acrylic on Silk Poly, Framed in solid hand-stained Black Australian Oak. 

'Our Midnight' In Water Series, Acrylic on Silk Poly, Framed in solid hand-stained Black Australian Oak. 

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT WORKING WITH AKD?

Working with AKD always feels like a perfect fit! The attention in the specifications are extremely well detailed, however the respect for my artistic process and integrity is always there. It’s always ridiculously exciting to receive the professional photographs of the works in situ! I will never tire of it.

Images 1 & 2 via ©Kerry Armstrong Art / Image 3 via ©Alexandra Kidd Design
Visit Kerry Armstrong's website for more information. 

UNDER CONSTRUCTION: BEHIND THE BLUE DOOR

Who can resist the charm of a century-old Sydney terrace house?

What lies beneath, however, are often grey areas of discovery and renovation challenges. Over the years, our clients have experienced some of these unfortunate circumstances often found in original homes – rising damp, dangerous mould issues, poor sound insulation, part of the house dark and freezing and the other part flooded in light and extreme heat!

Today, we are full steam ahead, giving this old terrace a second chance at living life to the fullest, including a solid and healthy foundation for what will soon become a beautiful family home.

We have made a promise to deliver our clients a fully-renovated home in time for Christmas, so here we go!

  Come inside and find out what’s going on behind the blue front door . . .

Come inside and find out what’s going on behind the blue front door . . .

  Underneath the original timber floor we discovered a rotting foundation in extremely poor condition.

Underneath the original timber floor we discovered a rotting foundation in extremely poor condition.

  So we started again, making sure the house begins its new life on solid ground.

So we started again, making sure the house begins its new life on solid ground.

  A big part of our renovation brief was to double the kitchen floor area and extend the house. Meanwhile, a new oversized skylight will bring in an abundance of natural light brightening up the front of the house.

A big part of our renovation brief was to double the kitchen floor area and extend the house. Meanwhile, a new oversized skylight will bring in an abundance of natural light brightening up the front of the house.

  Today, part of the house is temporarily suspended above the ground by a forest of steel pillars.

Today, part of the house is temporarily suspended above the ground by a forest of steel pillars.

  Upstairs we discovered with surprise that the original insulation in the ceiling was never used as intended but was still rolled up waiting to be installed!

Upstairs we discovered with surprise that the original insulation in the ceiling was never used as intended but was still rolled up waiting to be installed!

  To optimize and increase the scale of this bedroom we have revealed the original ceiling line to create a vaulted ceiling.

To optimize and increase the scale of this bedroom we have revealed the original ceiling line to create a vaulted ceiling.

  We love to mix it up and play with the original features of an old home, such as this fireplace, which will become a luxurious and unexpected detail in our client's master ensuite.

We love to mix it up and play with the original features of an old home, such as this fireplace, which will become a luxurious and unexpected detail in our client's master ensuite.

Follow our #MoncurStreet project on Instagram to see what other discoveries we find behind the blue door . . .

All images ©Alexandra Kidd Design

ALL WRAPPED UP: AKD LOVES FIGHTING THE WINTER BLUES

With the coldest month of the year under way, we have become accustomed to keeping a low profile and staying in as much as possible. The urge to hibernate is primal, especially when a case of the winter blues strikes, so why fight it? 

What we can fight, however, is the unwanted downbeat feeling that often comes hand in hand with the colder months. The way we see it, the waning sunshine and shorter days offer up the perfect excuse to add warm layers via uplifting fabrics to our interiors, as we swap our busy social calendar for some much-deserved mid-year downtime indoors.

From sunny hues and playful themes that brighten up the darker days to comforting classical textures that offer a warm embrace, we’ll be cosy and content wrapped up in the very best winter fabrics this season.

ALEX

   Loro Piana  has perfected the blend of natural fibres in their 'Windrose' collection, with linen, cashmere and silk so fine and fabulous, you'll want to drape yourself in them. 

Loro Piana has perfected the blend of natural fibres in their 'Windrose' collection, with linen, cashmere and silk so fine and fabulous, you'll want to drape yourself in them. 

STUART

  The rich emerald velvets paired with gold in the 'Majorelle' collection by      Catherine Martin for Mokum  are the ultimate jewel-inspired luxury.

The rich emerald velvets paired with gold in the 'Majorelle' collection by Catherine Martin for Mokum are the ultimate jewel-inspired luxury.

JULIA

   Emma Shipley ’s happy and whimsy 'Fable' collection delivers perfectly vibrant pops of colour, pattern, playful themes and texture to brighten any dull day.

Emma Shipley’s happy and whimsy 'Fable' collection delivers perfectly vibrant pops of colour, pattern, playful themes and texture to brighten any dull day.

NATALIE

  Sometimes less is more this winter, with the softly textured, yet confidently graphical prints in classic colourways from  Dedar  in Milan.

Sometimes less is more this winter, with the softly textured, yet confidently graphical prints in classic colourways from Dedar in Milan.

DEMI

  The golden ochre tones, luxurious textures and large abstract print of the 'Tiger Mountain' embroidered velvet by  Dedar  will inject warmth and Italian flair to any interior this winter.

The golden ochre tones, luxurious textures and large abstract print of the 'Tiger Mountain' embroidered velvet by Dedar will inject warmth and Italian flair to any interior this winter.

MADDIE

  The mountains of  Lelievre Calanques  – such a sophisticated and gentle palette, reflective of the golden rays of sun warming up our cold winter days.

The mountains of Lelievre Calanques – such a sophisticated and gentle palette, reflective of the golden rays of sun warming up our cold winter days.

JESSICA

  The 'idylle a Rio' printed linen fabric by  Misia  portrays a luxuriant and exuberant jungle in the style of the French artist Henri Rousseau, known as 'Le Douanier' (the customs officer). The pattern and colour palette gives a sophisticated wintry twist to the palm print we often see in summer.

The 'idylle a Rio' printed linen fabric by Misia portrays a luxuriant and exuberant jungle in the style of the French artist Henri Rousseau, known as 'Le Douanier' (the customs officer). The pattern and colour palette gives a sophisticated wintry twist to the palm print we often see in summer.