Kellie North is an award-winning Gold Coast photographer and visual artist whose evocative work has been featured in international publications like Conde Nast UK and Australia’s Home Design Magazine.
Most recently though, several of her pieces were chosen to feature in a winning room on much-loved home renovation show The Block.
We sat down for a chat with Kellie about how her work came to be on one of Australia’s most-watched shows and how the human form inspires her to create such incredible work.
How long have you been a Gold Coast local?
I was born and did my schooling in Mackay then worked for a while before heading off travelling for many years. After travelling in North and South America, Mexico, UK, Europe and India my now, husband and I returned to the Gold Coast where we settled and had our two children.
What do you love most about our sunshine city?
What is there not to like, we really do have it all here. For a photographer and an artist it is so easy to find stunning locations, it offers such diversity with the ocean, beach, hinterland, rainforests and rock pools.
Tell us how three of your stunning artworks came to be on The Block?
It was a Thursday night when gallery owner Nancy Donaldson called me and asked if I could get three artworks to the Block site in St Kilda, Melbourne before Sunday. My instant reaction was ‘YES definitely’. I booked a flight to Melbourne and took the artwork directly to the shows site myself.
Why do you think these particular pieces were chosen?
This collection of prints are quite soft and ethereal in their look, so I think they suited the theme and interior style of El’ise and Matt. They wanted to create a room with a sense of romance, luxury and heritage and they thought these pieces worked well in that style.
What did it feel like getting that call to be involved?
I was absolutely thrilled to get the call and overwhelmed all at the same time. I knew I had to transport the pieces down to Melbourne within a few days and a courier was unable to get them there in time for room reveal. For an artist to have their work shown on a hit TV show like The Block is a real gift and something I am extremely thankful to Art Lovers Australia Gallery owners Nancy Donaldson and Jarrod Knight and to Perth couple El’ise and Matt for.
What’s been your journey to becoming an artist?
For most of my life I would have to say I have been a self-taught photographer doing my apprenticeship either on the job or out in the field and have always upgraded my skills with small courses online or in a college from time to time. Until 2014 when I decided to study a Diploma of Professional Photography with The Photography Institute. During my studies I was exposed to other inspiring photographers and genres that opened my eyes to the artistic side of photography and how an image could become a piece of art and not just a captured moment. This is where I would say I started to develop my voice and style as a photo artist. I learned the techniques in professional workshops or online I needed both within my shooting process and Photoshop to keep my flow simple and effective.
How would you describe your work?
With a lifelong interest in dance and womens stories, and wanting to create a piece of art from start to finish without the use of models, I turned to self-portraiture as a form of visual storytelling. I dived into the relationship between nature and femininity: sometimes playful, other times dark and mysterious, yet always conveyed with a strong thread of emotion. The style of photography I am most drawn to is definitely the Fine Art/Digital Photo Art. Together with photography I have always loved graphic art and working at my computer, so when I discovered the world of Photoshop and how you could use it as a tool to create realistic images with compositing, textures, colour manipulation etc. my world fell into place. I love the human form, dance and movement and creating characters with costumes and props to set a scene, hoping the viewer can immerse him or herself into the story possibly taking on that character and relating to it in some way.
Where do you find inspiration for it?
It doesn’t take much to get my creative juices flowing to be honest, it could be going for a hike in the bush, the light on a glorious afternoon when the sun has just hidden behind the mountains, a rock hop along the beach, a shell, a butterfly, a rock with a hole big enough for me to fit into. Women are a big influence, I love stories and listening to peoples stories and the reciprocity of telling my own and I try to do this through imagery.
What’s on for you for the rest of 2019?
I am up for whatever comes my way. I love collaborating with artists so I look forward to any opportunities for that to happen. I want to keep creating, and working on another series of prints to release towards the end of the year and then perhaps some down time over Christmas with my family.
Tell us your favourites on the Coast…
Cafe for breakfast: Café D Nor – haha! This is what my husband calls our kitchen, as he whips up such a great brekky we rarely go out for breakfast.
Coffee spot: Dust Temple in Currumbin
Restaurant for dinner: Etsu in Mermaid Beach
How does your weekend usually look: If we are not camping, we head to our local markets grab some prawns and yummy food, head to the beach and catch up with friends.