Q&A WITH ARTIST ANTONIA MRLIJAK

We were first introduced to Antonia a little over two years ago whilst scouring for accessories to finish our Victoria Street project.

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During one particular visit to our favourite Becker Minty store, we fell in love with one of Antonia’s bold, abstract pieces. It was as if she had painted those vibrant colours with our Victoria Street project in mind, and so our love affair with her work began.

It has been an effortless partnership since then, with Antonia’s diverse style being the perfect companion for the unique spaces we tailor to each client.

Antonia’s work is in one collection epitomised by punchy palettes and unexpected colour combinations, and in another collection moody and monochrome. But whether she’s brightening her canvases or exploring a darker emotion, Antonia is certainly not afraid to colour outside of the lines.

Here, we find out about her life lessons, dreams and inspirations.

WHICH THREE WORDS BEST DESCRIBE YOU?

Optimistic, excited and kind.

WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE GROWING UP? 

I could never place myself in any particular field. All I knew was that I wanted to create. I was active and unruly and my imagination and creativity supplemented that. I didn't care what I was doing, as long as I felt like I was having an experience.

HOW DID YOU EARN YOUR FIRST PAY PACKET? 

My first job was for my parents when I was 9. I spent my summers at Flemington Markets serving gelato from a van and then hanging out with my cousin after work.

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

Work hard and take care of yourself along the way. Your self care is vital to being able to fulfil your needs and reach your potential – they go hand in hand. You have to work on your Self, your passions, your family and your work simultaneously to ensure that your energy is optimised and your creativity is fresh. 

WHAT'S YOUR PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENT?

Completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Sydney College of the Arts with first class honours. School and education wasn't a strong point for me and I grew up with the self imposed and limiting belief that I wasn't smart enough or capable of learning or studying. It was an incredible effort and overwhelming achievement to receive that degree and quashed that belief I carried with me through most of my life.

WHO INSPIRES YOU? 

My children and family are so important to me and a constant source of inspiration. And I admire every parent who strives to achieve that delicate balance between work and family. 

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST VICE?

Staying up too late too often. I am a fantastic procrastinator and work really well under pressure. It's easy for me to put things off until the last minute then work really hard right on deadlines which sees me crawling into bed in the early hours of the morning – often still covered in paint. It's a terrible habit I'd like to change but my self-talk game on this topic isn't very strong. 

DO YOU FOLLOW TRENDS OR ARE YOU A TRENDSETTER?

I am a dreamer. So I just make things up as I go along. I am always intrigued by what people are interested in but I tend to follow my heart and do what feels good in the moment. It's never conditioned by anything anyone else is doing . . . Not that I'm consciously aware of it anyway!  

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WHAT DREAM DO YOU STILL WANT TO FULFILL? 

I want to travel to Europe again. As a mother of four children I haven’t travelled much since my honeymoon. I would love to return to my roots in Italy – I miss it dearly. 

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT WORKING WITH AKD?

I’ve always had a crush on AKD and their designs. Alex’s residential design is particularly inspiring, I love seeing a home transformed into something special and so personal. Alex’s studio has always been so kind and welcoming to me. I really value that they have always given me full creative trust and it's an absolute pleasure working with them.

Images 1, 4 and 6 courtesy of the artist (credits below) / Images 2, 3 and 5 via ©Alexandra Kidd Design

Curator Jason Minty / Curator Sophie Vander / Photography Maree Homer / Acessories Beautiful Things