Melbourne-based abstract expressionist Kerry Armstrong creates striking pieces of art that are a glimpse into her life. She takes us with her on a journey of self-reflection, emotional intent and personal growth. Working as a full-time artist and owner of Studio Gallery Melbourne, Armstrong takes a moment to talk about her artistic process.
Tell us about how your artistic career.
I had always painted but more for relaxation while working in the corporate world. Facing serious health issues five years ago, I was forced to leave corporate behind and focus on my art career. My first large exhibition was in Boston, USA. That was an incredible and successful experience that gave me the confidence to take my new life direction to the next level.
We now own and run a large art business “Studio Gallery Melbourne” which works alongside artists to produce and market their original, limited-edition works. We also specialise in art leasing for corporates and property styling applications.
How has your artistic style evolved?
At first, I was painting through some difficult times due to illness and the loss of my parents. My style then was quite composed and minimalist. Looking back, I feel I was subconsciously attempting to control the external forces and events in my life. Now, with less ‘human’ turbulence around me, my painting style has found its true centre and is extremely free and abstract with an unorthodox, experimental element.
What do you love to work with?
I work with oils and acrylics, almost always on Belgian Linen. My current obsession lies with oils. I adore the textures, pure colour and the added immersive element of the smell!
Describe your artistic process.
A piece starts well before I hit the linen with paint. I’m fastidious in regard to timing and knowing my own energy. Over time I’ve developed several techniques to take me directly to the emotional space required to begin painting. My work is like writing a story or singing a song – authenticity and emotional content are at the absolute centre of everything.
What inspires you?
I’m never been inspired to paint by external elements, such as a view or an object. Rather, I’m working back through memories and life events, running the needle back and forth to resolve and better understand myself. My new series ‘Paddocks for ponies’ is slightly different. I’m projecting forward to where I want to be in my life, rather than painting life retrospectively.
What is your favourite piece/series and why?
I’m extremely taken with my latest series, ‘Paddocks for ponies’. I feel they demonstrate a new emotional confidence and the freedom to express where my life is headed. The emotional content of the series intrigues me and surprises me with each new piece. I’m flying blindly into new territory in regard to technique and expression.
What’s next for you?
We have recently invested in a large warehouse studio in Cheltenham, Melbourne to house our printing and framing plant. This will also provide exhibition space for my works and those of the artists working with us in our business. I have exhibitions planned for next year, one at fortyfivedownstairs, Flinders Lane Melbourne in April and one in Sydney in August.