The colourful pieces – usually celebrated as large scale public works – have been transformed into a selection of limited edition prints for your home.
We caught up with Martinich to chat about her work, her inspiration, and how to get your hands on her new prints.
How did you first come to painting?
I have always painted – as a kid I did watercolours of flowers from mum’s garden, and in secondary school I immersed myself in creating giant landscape paintings (whilst yearning for home and avoiding the boarding house). I studied painting at art school, as I needed it to be the primary thing in my life, not just something that I fit in on the weekends or at night.
Through the process of study I had some wonderful tutors that opened my eyes to the possibility of where I could take my practice. But it wasn’t until my Masters that I had a full understanding of how I wanted my painting to function, and that was to invigorate spaces and places through large-scale vibrant paintings, be they hanging on an interior wall, or embellishing a four storey glass building façade.
What part has colour played in your creative journey?
I remember going into Melbourne Art Supplies and discovering pearlescent mediums, and then mixing these with fluorescent pinks and yellow, and my whole world changed! As time has gone by, my colour choices have refined and calmed down a bit, but I do just love colour. It has been the benchmark of my practice and continues to be the reason why people respond to my work.
Tell us about your studio space. How does this inspire your work?
I am very fortunate to have a purpose built studio away from home at Ashmore Arts - nestled into the rolling rural landscape of Bellbrae, just outside of Torquay on the Surf Coast of Victoria. It is a beautiful large, light-filled space that I can fully immerse in. There are buckets of paint, brushes and pot-plants strewn from one end to the other. Normally five or six works on the walls at any one time, and others on the floor. The windows look over a valley where cattle frolicking and the clouds roll through – it is truly idyllic.
One of the best parts about working from my studio is the wonderful community of other artists, designers and makers that are now like extended family. Between us we are a well-oiled machine and share our vast collection of skill sets to empower each other’s practices and businesses.
Tell us about your creative manifesto
I feel like I have dipped my toe into many aspects of the art and design world. I studied graphic design, then painting, then public art. I have curated tons of exhibitions when I ran a gallery space in Fitzroy, years back. Surviving as an artist is challenging, and for me the key is being diverse in my practice. As a creative my main intention is to do what I love. That is – to paint how I choose to without subscribing to any expectations, trends or fashions.
I create big colourful expressive works because I get a kick when I see how people respond to them. It’s a bonus when they decide to buy one and take it home. I don’t really fit into the ‘gallery’ system because my practice slides into the public art world, and then into the collaborative architectural and design realm. So I tend to float between these ‘titles’ and manage my art practice like any other business.
At the end of the day, if what you do is something that is meaningful, that you are passionate about, it is easy to invest totally and figure out how to make it work.
What are you working on now that can we look forward to?
We (Martinich&Carran) are working on our latest release of prints, beautiful silk scarves, luxurious quilts and feature cushions. We also have some hand painted limited edition pots that will be emerging from the studio shortly!
In November, Geoffrey and I will be embarking on a giant 30 metre wide x 9 metre high collaborative mural. This is a very exciting project for us, and one of the biggest to date. I always have new paintings coming out of the studio and have a keen eye out for big walls to paint…
What makes you jump out of bed every morning?
Every day I wake up to crazy birdsong surrounding our home. I love having a strong cup of coffee on our deck before getting down to the beach with Geoffrey and my dog Captain, and getting my daily surf fix.
We live in such a stunning part of the world on the Surf Coast, and are thankful for every day we get to indulge in the surrounds. Going into my studio always has its rewards, as there is always a work to start – or finish, and great crew to hang out with in between time.
I have a burning need to constantly be doing something and achieving an outcome, and that is fulfilled by my art practice.
Rowena Martinich’s’ limited edition prints are available at martinichandcarran.com.au.