All posts tagged: artist

Vlad Kolas | Artist

Prize-winning painter, Vlad Kolas, is moving about his studio, brush in hand, music blaring, when I appear at the door one hot afternoon. Startled, he turns and jumps off the ground and walks over, wiping his hands with a rag. Music is a crucial element to Vlad’s artistic practice, giving him energy and inspiration. Today, as with other days, Led Zeppelin and David Bowie are on high rotation. “You know how you dance when no-one’s looking? I’m doing that with the paintbrush. Then you stand back and assess what you did, and make some adjustments. It’s a balance between those critical decisions and the intuition,” he says. Vlad’s white-walled studio is a relatively new addition on his Clunes property, where he lives with his partner, Jessica, and their four boys aged from 3 to 15. There’s not a clean surface in sight, with couches and office chairs spattered with paint, and entire tables serving as mixing palettes, covered in oils blended together in endless colour combinations. Growing up in Bondi Beach, Vlad loved surfing and …

Nikky Morgan-Smith | Artist

Nikky Morgan-Smith lives in Eureka in a house tucked away on the side of an overgrown gully. It’s the house she grew up in, where her parents still lived, until Nikky and her then six-month old daughter, Morgan, moved back from Melbourne about 9 years ago. “We moved in and when it was apparent that we weren’t going to move back out, they moved out”, Nikky says, smiling.  Her parents now live in another house on the family’s 50-acre property, while Nikky and Morgan share the old house with their menagerie of dogs, cats and birds. Both Nikky’s parents are artists, and as a kid being dragged around to gallery openings, she wasn’t keen to follow in their footsteps. By the end of school, though, Nikky enjoyed art enough to enrol in a Visual Arts degree at age 18. “In a way I didn’t really have a choice because it was the one thing that I knew how to do the best.” Nikky transferred her studies to Melbourne and became involved in art therapy, volunteering …

Kylie Bridges | Artist and Collaborator

“We were all set up in Sydney,” says Kylie Bridges, shaking her head in slight disbelief at what she’s about to say. “I really didn’t think he’d walk away from it all, but he did and we’re here and we love it”, she says, referring to her husband, Mark, a self-employed bathroom renovator and musician, and their decision to move to Clunes 13 years ago. “I still actually go ‘wow, we really did it’, because we were in a really nice situation, in a little house, great friends, great street”, Kylie explains. A chance encounter between their son Josh, a toddler at the time, and a stranger’s playful dog on a Byron Bay beach changed their lives. The dog’s owner told them how he’d lived all over the world but had now settled in Clunes. “‘It was God’s country’, he said, and he told us to ‘do yourselves a favour and just go out into the hinterland while you’re up here’”, Kylie recounts. She never did learn his name. Now primarily a self-employed graphic designer, …

Katka Adams | Artist

When Katka Adams and her mother arrived in Australia as refugees they didn’t speak a word of English. It was 1969 and Katka was seven years old. Escaping the political repression of communism in Prague, Katka and her mother moved through several migrant hostels, including Bonegilla near Albury-Wodonga, before settling in Melbourne. “They just stuck me in a class of regular kids. I had to relearn my whole way of writing, and I didn’t understand what the words meant”, says Katka, in her now strong, easy Australian accent. The language barrier meant Katka spent a lot of time alone drawing, even as a young child, and developed a fondness for art that never wavered. Finishing high school in Sydney, Katka had her heart set on going to art school. “The career adviser said, ‘You’ve really got to look at your other options’, and I said, ‘what other options, there are no other options!’” It is now 20 years since Katka and her husband, Russell, bought their small settler’s cottage on the eastern edge of Clunes. …