Meet the Australian-born, Brooklyn-based artist behind our latest Gift Collection.
Originally from Australia, Christina is an artist and illustrator living in Brooklyn, NY. She went from working as art director for Australian and US Vogue to creating her own work. Drawing inspiration from fashion, nature and everyday life, her playful, optimistic and colourful paintings remind us to seek beauty in our surroundings.
Tell us a bit about your work. Do you paint every day?
Almost every day. I made sure my studio was close by my house so it’s easier to be disciplined!
What does a day at your studio look like?
I work during the day, I am not a night painter... I get coffee and sit around for a while, looking at my previous days’ work and my drawings. If I’m lucky I attack something new and if not I rework older pieces. If nothing is coming to me I clean my brushes which helps me think about my next move.
How would you define your style?
I’m figurative but reductive. The essence remains but can verge on the abstract as there is sometimes so little left. My design background has remained in my psyche, with a love of modernism. Themes are highly personal and drawn from my life, my childhood, and the influences I grew up with. Folk art, patterns and an Eastern European aesthetic come from my Hungarian mother who was also an artist.
What role does colour play in your work? You seem to favour reds, pinks, greens.
Colour makes me happy, it’s beautiful. If I was from another time I would have been aFauvist. It can make me an extrovert even if I’m actually an introvert. I think some combinations come from memories of my childhood in the ‘60s and ‘70s, perhaps from fashion and nature, Australian landscapes and bright sunlight.
Red to me is a Hungarian colour - it’s exciting and was all around me growing up, I particularly love red boots. Pink is subversive. I take hold of the colour and twist it. And green is nature. It’s fresh and neutral and it grounds my other colours.
As well as your work, what are you most passionate about?
My family is number one. My sons and my husband are always inspiring! I love design, books, cooking and seeing other artists’ work. I wish I travelled more as that is the greatest window to others’ lives.
You have a garden. Could you describe It?
It’s an urban rectangle with some peculiar architecture, but it’s the greatest thing about our home! It’s very overgrown in the summer, filled with plants and weeds, and ivy has covered every wall. I try to plant anything that attracts insects and birds and has a scent.
Where does your fascination with nature come from?
My grandmother had a beautiful little tiered garden and I remember how special she thought it was and how she cared for it. I grew up outside of the city in Perth, Western Australia, and I remember the most amazing trees and the smell of eucalyptus.
What are some lessons you’ve learned from nature?
It’s humbling. Grand vistas are incredible but so are the smallest details. I love it when nature takes over and covers ugliness. On a local level, gardening is the next best thing to making art for me. It is creative and calming.
What do you love about flowers? Do you have a favourite one?
Flowers are unique and fleeting. Their details give me so much inspiration. My favourite flower is the orange nasturtium - the shocking colour matched with the perfect green of their leaves is the freshest sight, and I love the subtle scent. Just one in a little vase on my table gives me so much pleasure.
And a favourite tree?
We have a Magnolia Grandiflora in our garden. Every season it is a gift. It is evergreen and has the most exquisitely perfumed white flowers. It is my muse, I’ve painted it over and over.
Do you have some rituals that make you feel good?
Anything with water. I wish we had a bath - I’d make that my ritual. In the meantime, a steamy shower will have to do!
What is your idea of happiness?
A summer holiday in a beautiful place by the sea with my family.
Could you describe this collaboration with ROWSE?
What a lovely project! As you see from my answers I love nature and plants so it was a perfect match. The beautiful aesthetic of the company inspired me to bring a joyful free-spirited charm to the work.
Photography by Patric Shaw