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

PRINTS CHARMING: WEAR YOUR ‘ART ON YOUR SLEEVE THIS VALENTINE’S DAY

One of the most frequently asked questions we receive on our social media pages is ‘Where is that artwork from?!’

It would appear that our inspired followers are on a mission to fill their hearts and homes with beautiful artwork. And we don’t blame them!

We are fortunate to have collaborated with some incredible artists such as Kerry Armstrong, Marisa Purcell and Antonia Perricone Mrljak, each of whom have not only made a long-lasting impression in the spaces that our clients inhabit, but have also left a mark of admiration firmly printed on our hearts.

We will always have our favourites, but with plenty of fish in the sea we’re constantly on the lookout for emerging artists and hidden gems that are ‘just right’ for our projects. So what better time of year – than the season of love itself – to open our little black book on the galleries and artwork suppliers where you can browse or buy some impressive pieces for someone you love (including yourself of course!).

Few gifts are more memorable, impactful, personal or as long-lasting as art, and taking the time to choose the perfect piece for your special someone is a superlative romantic gesture. So why not put your ‘art on your sleeve this Valentines’ Day?

‘Still Life #2’ by Ali McNabney-Stevens

‘Still Life #2’ by Ali McNabney-Stevens

STUDIO GALLERY MELBOURNE, MELBOURNE

Studio Gallery Melbourne works with a broad collective of artists from emerging through to advanced career stages, so not only do they have something for every taste, but also every price point.

For our Victorian followers, they have two beautiful spaces in Cheltenham and Armadale, as well as stocking a range of limited-edition prints that you can purchase (and frame) online.

We’re currently obsessing over the exuberant colours in this ‘Still Life #2’ print by Ali McNabney-Stevens, it would make a unique gift for any hard-to-shop for lover.

BECKER MINTY, SYDNEY

Just a hop, skip and a jump away from our Potts Point studio, you will often find us roaming around the Becker Minty store in search for treasures.

Handpicked by owner Jason Minty (a man with impeccable taste), the store’s collection of artwork features an impressive range of Australian and international artists, and a to-die-for collection of Vintage art too.

One such artist is Antonia Perricone Mrljak, whose abstract works we are loving and featured in our Hunters Hill House project.

Artwork by Antonia Perricone Mrljak from Becker Minty as seen in our    Hunters Hill House    project.

Artwork by Antonia Perricone Mrljak from Becker Minty as seen in our Hunters Hill House project.

ART2MUSE, SYDNEY

’Local Wetlands’ Peter Watts

’Local Wetlands’ Peter Watts

Another local favourite, Double Bay’s Art2Muse showcases a range of established artists at affordable prices.

If you’re looking to browse rather than buy, the gallery is hosting an exhibition of Australian landscape artist Peter Watt from 5 – 18 February 2019.

Watt’s theatrical cloud formations and depictions of moody sunsets will provide a romantic and intimate backdrop for your Valentine’s date.

OLSEN GALLERY

‘Post Truth’ by George Bryne

‘Post Truth’ by George Bryne

Olsen Gallery is a treasure trove for Aussie artists. Gallery founder and director Tim Olsen has cultivated a range of artists that present a comprehensive view of our home-grown talent.

Sydney artist George Bryne is exhibiting his L.A. series ‘Local Division’ at the gallery this Valentine’s season. Take a travel-obsessed lover to browse his vibrant and sun-drenched shots or make an impression with a bold and timeless gift.

Image 1 via Studio Gallery Melbourne / Image 2 via Alexandra Kidd Design / Image 3 via Art2Muse / Image 4 via Olsen Gallery

Q&A WITH ARTIST CAMIE LYONS

We were introduced to Camie Lyons' work by our dear friend Megan Morton and it was love at first sight!

Camie’s sculptures are playful, simple and mesmerising. The organic shapes and sophisticated materials sit comfortably in any interior. It’s no surprise her work is beautiful, the hands and mind behind these pieces are equally beautiful and inspiring.  

Camie’s pieces make me happy. Quite simply, I’d love a world full of Camie Lyons!

THREE WORDS THAT BEST DESCRIBE YOU?

Tenacious, creative, brave. I think most creatives need these traits to see it through and make good, honest work.

WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE GROWING UP?

A ballerina and then an artist – I've pretty much stayed on track. When I was 16 I moved from the country to study full time dance – I then went on to work professionally as a dancer for over a decade. I was always a maker of things and that interest eventually won out and I found myself at RMIT in Melbourne studying Sculpture. I then moved to Sydney for love (what better reason and a good move, 20 years and 2 boys later) and completed an MFA at COFA and have not stopped working as an artist since. I feel very blessed to have to fulfilled both passions and continue to do so.

Big Blue Blood Plum  Flocked Aluminium

Big Blue Blood Plum Flocked Aluminium

Pollenate  Charcoal and ink on paper 56 x 76cm

Pollenate Charcoal and ink on paper 56 x 76cm

WHAT DID YOU DO TO EARN YOUR FIRST PAY PACKET?

I worked in a cake shop on weekends on Acland Street St Kilda. It was around the corner from the ballet school and had the added bonus of daily leftovers and free coffee of which I am still an addict! (Note to self: I can not get away with eating cake when not dancing 10 hours a day! Bummer)

WHAT IS YOUR PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENT?

Surviving in such tough industries and still feeling the love . . . I still wonder about this journey and think 'How did I get here? This is actually pretty good!'

My other proudest achievement is raising two fabulous little people with my husband. It's just us, we are a tight unit. They are experiencing a completely different childhood from my own, they have grown up surrounded by art and mess and travel. They have been dragged from pillar to post – literally from the Colosseum to the outback. I can only imagine the influence all this is having . . . time will tell.

From  Midnight Sketching  series

From Midnight Sketching series

WHAT INSPIRES YOU?

I could string off a long list of artists I admire, the Bourgeois, Kapoors and Hepworths, but really it's everyone, everything, every breath. I gather my inspiration from the everyday puzzle that is to 'be', to 'fit' and to 'understand'.

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST VICE?

I drink too much, I worry too much, I am overly sensitive – sound familiar?!

Continuous Drawing  Bronze 99 x 70 x 28cm

Continuous Drawing Bronze 99 x 70 x 28cm

DO YOU FOLLOW TRENDS OR ARE YOU A TRENDSETTER?

Can I say neither? I am aware of what's going on and who's who but I am very much on my own path and deeply involved in my own practice. I don't think my work is fashionable . . . I very much hope it is beautiful, unique and enduring.

WHAT DREAM DO YOU STILL WANT TO FULFIL?

To continue making and improving my work until my eyes give up and I can't weld anymore! I do admire the mature artist, they have so earned their stripes and survived a thousand internal battles to keep creating.

I would also LOVE to show in London, and in Paris, and in New York . . . life is long, I think I have time.

Storm  Bronze 35 x 35 x 15cm

Storm Bronze 35 x 35 x 15cm

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

Tenacity. To never give up and to not question the creative process too much. I try to make quick and honest decisions and be brave when working. This actually applies in many ways to welding – grinding and throwing molten metals can be scary and dangerous, but so bloody fantastic! It reminds me of dragons and I never tire of it! I think it will sustain me for many years to come.

Many Mouths  Bronze 60 x 60 x 35cm

Many Mouths Bronze 60 x 60 x 35cm

Camie exhibits with Olsen Irwin in Sydney and her current show Rural Romance is on until 29 November 2015. 

All images via ©Camie Lyons.