Melbourne based artist, Kate Jarman, describes her work best – lyrical, whimsical and a celebration of the joyful wonder and connection we have with nature. Her work taps into the human need to be immersed in nature and our subconscious effort to achieve this in our homes by surrounding ourselves with plants, nature-inspired textiles and botanical art.
Here, Kate tells us about her journey into full time art and has some sage advice for budding artists contemplating the plunge into a creative career.
Was there a moment or a person that ignited your artistic journey?
I would say my Dad was intrinsic in instilling a sense of wonder with materiality and the creative process. He had us playing with photography, paints and clay from a very young age. Painting has pretty much been a constant in my life, even when I was living in tiny hostel rooms in London.
Where do you seek your inspiration?
I like looking through home magazines for inspiration because I often find a colour palette that sings and makes me want to get in the studio and start painting. I also find Pinterest and Instagram to be fertile ground for inspiration. I am very proactive in seeking inspiration, I don’t wait for it to come to me and being visually inclined I can always find it by looking at images of interiors and plants. We are planning a road trip through North America next year and I can’t wait to pack my camera and capture some desert delights.
Who are your creative role models?
I love the work of Kirra Jamison. I like her pared back aesthetic and colour palettes. She has a very clever way of combining muted smokey colours with brighter, high intensity colours. I appreciate the areas of space in her paintings because they give the content room to breathe.
What does a day in the life of an artist, such as yourself, generally look like?
I am a mother to two young children as well as being an artist so a typical week day for me is to get them to school and then try to ignore any housework on my way through the house to my studio! I have a print series that requires some administration so some days are dedicated to that and other days I like to do nothing but paint. My favourite days are when I have already chosen my subject, primed my board and I can come straight into the studio after the school run and start painting. It is difficult to tear myself away when it’s time to pick the kids up but I’m getting to do what I love so I really can’t complain.
A creative career is more turbulent than most mainstream paths and the stepping stones to success are ambiguous. Did you ever think it was all a bit too hard and consider throwing in the towel?
There were certainly many moments of self doubt, but despite all the challenges along the way there was also a strong desire to continue. Painting is something I have always done and would have continued to do even if they had never found an audience and gained traction. Ultimately it’s the creative process of painting that I find so engaging and fulfilling.
What do you know now that you wish you’d known then?
Do what you love. I don’t regret a minute of my time at university but there was a heavy conceptual bent and it did take me a while to shake that off and see value in painting things just because I was drawn to them aesthetically. As soon as I simplified my process down to painting what I loved, the works started to resonate with people.
What is the grand plan for your career? Are you where you want to be?
I am definitely where I want to be. Becoming part of the Greenhouse Interiors family earlier this year has been a really big turning point for me and my work. Julia Green has been instrumental in making some of my dreams come to life and allowing me to connect with a much larger audience. I have been playing around with creating patterns out of some of my paintings and would someday like to see them printed on textiles. A big mural is also something I would eventually like to have a go at.
What is your advice for budding artists, sitting on the fence, dreaming of taking the plunge to pursue their art full time?
There has never been an easier time to pursue an artistic career because of social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. Instagram in particular has been incredibly important in getting my paintings out there, and allowing me to connect and collaborate with other creatives around the world. The opportunities I have had because of social media are incredible. Previously you had to rely on being picked up by a gallery to have a career as an artist but now you can do it in your own time and on your own terms. My advice would be to put yourself out there, and not to be afraid to approach people to create more opportunities for you and your work. You have nothing to lose!
Photos by Annette O’Brien. Styling by Julia Green, Greenhouse Interiors.