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Interview with Geoffrey Carran

Tell me a little about what you do and some of your collaborations?
Primarily I could be labeled as a contemporary Australian artist, through my paintings, murals, prints and collaborations, but I spend an equal amount of time on other projects such as making furniture, structures and objects. Essentially I love to create, whatever form it may take, it’s a combination of curiosity, logic and process, and somehow imbuing that with a sense of personality or character. Collaborating with my partner Rowena Martinich seemed a natural extension of this; we are both obsessed with colour and layers.

How and why did you get into the Art/design Industry?
I guess I stumbled into it. I have always been an artist/designer, I still to look at objects and analise how it was created , or ‘I like that but would do it differently’. I find it’s in the actual act of creating something based purely on an idea that’s the most exciting part. I think it was really after doing a few Design fairs that we could really say we were ‘In’ the design industry; the demand for our products increased and more industry related jobs started coming our way.

How did you become a designer? Where did you study, etc?
As a child I was obsessed with structure, my brothers and I would play architects and spend hours drawing up blueprints of our dream houses, we were avid hut builders to. This playful DIY attitude never left me, I went to Art School in New Zealand then later on to do my Masters in Fine Art in Melbourne where I was also working full time building landscapes, it was a good combination, I was designing and creating living space during the day and imaginative space at night.

How would you describe your design style? How varied are your designs?
My Design style is based heavy on my arts practice, translating my paintings into a series of other objects or collaborating with my partner Rowena. Although we are most renowned for my representational paintings paired with Rowena vibrant abstract paintings as murals, canvases or cushions our style extends beyond these to be able to incorporate any brief.

What do you love about being a designer?
I love having the ability to pursue something that I find interesting and then share it with others in an accessible way.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Inspiration comes from everything, I love seeing the infinite variety of solutions, whether it’s the way two pieces of wood join, a story, a functional object or biological diversity, it all fascinates me.

What are some of your most popular designs? Tell us a bit about some of your designs and what you love about them. What’s your favourite and why?
Cockatoo Paintings, When I first came to Australia I was struck by the abundance and variety of the bird life, specially the parrots and cockatoos. It seemed natural to start painting these birds while investigating the idea of creating work that discusses cultural identity. Australians have a strong sense of nostalgia, pride and identity connected with its parrots, it’s a strong emblem of location. The fact that Parrots have a loud, colourful, unmistakable presence seems to sit well with the psyche of a Nation that is constantly undergoing a process of cultural analysis. I love them for there strong characteristics, they are a pleasure to paint, it becomes more like a portrait; each has its own personality to bring out. This gives me plenty of scope to play with my use of paint, texture and colour. These painting have also translated very successfully into fabric for our collaborative cushion range.

What precautions or thoughts do you put into making your pieces environmentally friendly and sustainable?
We strive to keep all our processes and products made locally; this cuts down on transport and supports local industry. Our cushions are made using natural plant dyes and organic cotton.

What colours, textures and furniture pieces do you love the most?
If a surfboard could be considered furniture, the answer to all three would be sitting on my board in the ocean at first or last light

What is your philosophy on design and life?
Remain curious, investigate, act on your ideas

What are your design dreams/goals?
To have a series of amazing architectural spaces in locations all around the world each in response to their location, positioned by the best surf breaks or mountains or desserts with helipads and jet boats, like a villain in James Bond, filled with giant artworks and amazing furniture.. well, that’s the dream. Goals would be to keep making art that inspires and captures the publics imagination

Describe yourself in three words.

  • Curious
  • Romantic
  • Adventurous