Artist Spotlight Series: Kerry Armstrong

I am excited to introduce you to an artiste extraordinaire from down under whose colorful abstract works have captured my attention. 

 Kerry Armstrong

 Melbourne, Australia

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What is your training? 

 

 I am self taught and very intuitive in my approach other than a few art lessons.  What helped me enormously in my lessons was to legitimise my practices ( to myself)  and give me permission to ‘let go’ and know that I had something to say with my work.  Before one of my art teachers positive reinforcement in particular I was very embarrassed about my methods! 

 

 

What inspires you and your designs?

 

Its a question that’s hard to answer with words but to me it goes a little like this; the inspiration stems from my dreams, inner emotions, memories and analytical thoughts. I am quite ritualised with my approach to the work.  Music in my studio plays a huge part, it taps into raw emotions I then start “feeling” something, tears often flow, it’s a very overwhelming and wonderful experience.  I now understand this process and respect the fact that I must be emotionally open and available to allow the work to come through. Once this begins I’m then then attracted to a palette and the instincts kick in to guide me further re the outlines and energy of the piece.  The initial phase needs to be extremely free, always and only when I’m alone.  I need to have loads of materials at hand to remain ever spontaneous, running to the art shop in the middle of this kind of thing just doesn’t cut it!  When the piece is completed, I always sit with it to then fully absorb what has just happened and then unpick the story it’s telling me. Writing often flows at this end stage which I absolutely love, that’s a really lovely  and private experience that I treasure, I feel such a strong bond with my pieces. This can be at the end of a 3 day stint, it does drain me of energy but I feel so privileged to be living such a ‘real’ life like this now after a long corporate life. 

 

 

What is your favorite piece? 

 

 Oh, you can’t ask me to choose! They get offended….ok, I have two to mention….one completed last week that I find myself staring at for ages, I named her ” Just be a flower” and I’m quite transfixed with her almost childlike feminine energy.  

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And the other is my beautiful Silvi! The Silvi Series came about from a free painting session I had where I just absolutely let loose.  This abstract face came through and she for all the world looked so much like the beautiful curator of my recent Boston Exhibition at Liquidarthouse. I then had to unleash her, let her play and paint a series of Silvi’s.  The wonderful reaction Ms Silvi evokes is just too much fun, I adore her.  I am actively painting her at the moment and have released her in Giclee prints as well. 

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How has the your area influenced your work?

 

 We love in a beachside suburb of Melbourne called Brighton.  The beach is so variable and moody.   Sometimes smooth and silvery, then angry and rusty coloured water with a cold biting wind!  Our weather is notoriously changeable so one hour spent down there can show you  four seasons. I have a fascination with painting the feelings of a storm, I’m drawn to the energy and unpredictability. 

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What is your favorite restaurant in Melbourne?

 

Melbourne has some incredible restaurants, however my old favourite is the iconic restaurant called “The Stokehouse” .  The Stokehouse burned down over a year ago, I cried…such a beautiful old building and rich part of Melbourne’s history. ( they are rebuilding thank goodness)

 

 

What is your favorite cocktail?

 

Martini used to be my favourite poison! I now seem to like a beautiful dry French a Champagne to keep things simple….

 

 

How do you balance personal life and work?

 

 My studio is at home and I’m such a home loving creature.  I’m in heaven being able to cook and keep our home ticking along whilst neck deep in a painting.  Living with the pieces, laced and blended into as our family life is wonderful, they become part of dinner conversation and our extended family.  I do like a solid clean up every so often when I ‘evict’ large pieces that seem to loiter and congregate. 

 

Dream trip?

 

 Our honeymoon was just that, we had a heavenly month in Europe travelling around, no set plans just had the most incredible time together, unforgettable! I’m constantly scheming and plotting an a Exhibition over there to get us back to the South of France

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Dream commission?

 

I would die with excitement to be commissioned with a crazy huge energetic piece of my art in a massive antique, ornate frame for an eccentric, customer!   Oh please, may that happen one day! 

 

 

Your favorite host / hostess gift to give?

 

 Flowers, flowers, flowers….always flowers……

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Who is your style icon?

 

 The magnificent Audrey sums it up, can’t go wrong with classic, understated beauty?! 

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Your favorite up and coming artist?

Hard one to answer, so many I respect and love following but one who’s work just really grabs me emotionally, is Barbara Kitallides.   Her palette and raw abstract energy is so emotive, also a beautiful person which is a huge bonus.

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What is your most treasured possession?

 

 Apart from my gorgeous husband’s engagement ring…..I have a tiny, extremely fragile Chinese tea cup that a beloved (now dec) mother type figure gave me when I was five.  It’s just divine and I used to drink tea from it as a child, it’s really precious and quite whimsical. 

 

What are you reading?

Reading “Blink” it’s a fascinating cross sectional look at human behaviours, fascinating.

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What are you listening to?

 

Lots of Elton John, (only his old albums) right now…I have very intense phases with my studio music and I get very repetitive with it.  His old tracks can easily bring me to tears, beautiful. I alternate everything always with classical music, it taps into my emotional channel without disrupting me with words. 

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What are your favorite blogs / publications?

 

The English Room of course!  belle magazine,

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Vogue Living,

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The Interiors Addict,

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Who loves that,

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The Design Files,

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to name a few. 

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Here are a few of her colorful creations.

 

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