ArtChat [Blog Interview Number 21] – Starr

Modern, contemporary, unique and loved is possibly the best way to describe Starr’s work. She is perhaps most well-known for her varied, yet always charismatic, depictions of the Story Bridge. However, in her upcoming Solo Exhibition at Red Hill Gallery you will be blown away by the breadth of depth in her subject matter and ability to capture the emotion of the scene in this new, never been seen before collection of paintings.People visit Red Hill just to see her work as she is highly regarded and extremely well received by the Brisbane community, with many Red Hill Clients donning Starr on their walls. Due to this popularity there is always a permanent display of Starr’s paintings on the Exhibition Level of Red Hill Gallery.

“Starr is special and people love her, we are anticipating her exhibition in November to be another sell out with a number of clients already enquiring about the possibility of an exhibition pre-sale.” Margaret Campbell-Ryder, Gallery Director

ArtChat has managed to track down Starr from her busy, crazy, creative life to catch up on what has been happening and what to expect in her upcoming exhibition.

AC:       At what point in your life did you decide to become an artist? Is there someone special that encouraged you to pursue this career or was is solely an individual desire? S*:       I never had a doubt, even when I was attending Kindy I would love nothing better than painting on the kiddy easels while all the other kids played in the sand pits etc . I think I was born to paint!!!!!! However I would have to add that my grandparents were the ones to help me early in my life. They really made it possible for me to be the artist I am today. AC:       What shapes your art to make it the way it is? S*:       I think it is the way that I embrace life and in particular popular culture. My art is shaped by allowing my love for freedom of form and innate sense of colour to express my passion on the canvas. I have always painted this way and my style has evolved over the years, which keeps it fresh for me and the people who love what I paint.

AC:       You've recently visited the city of love, Paris. Can we expect to see chic Parisienne scenes emerging in your upcoming exhibition? Give us a little descriptive 'sneak peek' into the November exhibition at Red Hill... S*:       I have always found the culture of France and in particular, Paris to be totally intoxicating ................It’s like no other place on this planet . I admit it’s the night life that’s most interests me, it’s almost magical as the night takes hold... it just make me feel alive. I love the stunning architecture, and the Eiffel tower is totally epic and a joy to paint. I find the challenge (with every city I visit) is to capture these stunning icons in my style. I'm lucky to live in a city where we have our own icon... the Story Bridge!!!

AC:       When you aren't painting how do you spend your time? S*:       To be honest, I am always painting... this is what happens when you don’t have a family!!!!!! Though I suppose, when I do have down time I love to travel but I also watch foxtel while I paint daily and at night I just watch more- I don’t know how I would survive without Foxtel !!!!!!

AC:       The Story Bridge is iconic to Brisbane and also to your artwork, what continually draws you to revisit this subject? S*:       Well firstly let me just say she's a poor model and she never changes her pose for me :) The bridge being a static structure allows me to get really creative with colour and form when I paint it. I am always on the look for a new angle but having had painted the bridge now for over a decade it’s the colour that makes all the difference to me.

AC:       You’ve exhibited internationally; do you find the reaction to your art different in an overseas market or quite the same? S*:       I have always found the reaction to my work overseas to have been similar to the local reaction. Everyone enjoys the freshness of the paintings and every city is fond of my versions of their own iconic landmarks. Universally, my nude and Ballerinas are as popular as ever too.

AC:       You see your work as combining traditional themes of the European masters and a modern, new age, American sensibility. Can you elaborate on this? S*:       Yes, my days at Art college definitely exposed me to a great deal of art, both contemporary and the masters. I always favoured the themes of the masters, but I have developed my own interpretations and style. I have been influenced by some 'New World' artists too and I think this blend has been part of the secret of my wonderful career!!

AC:       We hear you love to sketch in a tutu.. is this just part of the crazy, eccentric artist stereotype or is there more to it? S*:       No it’s totally the eccentric part of me, I have a dream career that allows me the freedom to live and work in my own little world. Wearing a tutu is not so unreal when you see where I live and paint  :)  I wish to be wearing tutus and doing cart wheels like Betsey Johnson a famed American designer... and she's in her 60's!!!  By staying true to myself I live life with conviction which flows through my art. I never paint anything I don't love. I am a massive ballet and dance fan, hence the tutus and showgirls and ‘can can’ dancers .

AC:       When you come across work as colourful, unique and creative as yours it is evident that the creator must have a wide range of interests and hobbies. Can you tell our readers about your other arts interests, like music? S*:       Ok I will admit, I am still a bit of a rock chick...........a huge 80's music fan and I love rock concerts. I recently went to every city on the Australian tour of Bret Michaels who is the singer of the American band Poison. In fact it was all the fireworks and lighting on stage and in the film clips that inspired my art when I was in my teens. They were so colourful etc ........my latest fav band is the amazing Steel Panther  who I have seen 8 times in Hollywood and way before they were as popular as they are today. I love the fashion as well; I collect stilettos that regularly feature in my nude works.

AC:       Finally, what does your art mean to you and what do you hope it means to your viewers. S*:       A big question... I think to me that art IS my life. I have never had a 'real job' and cannot remember a time when I have not painted. The joy of creating and sharing my creations is what drives me and has done for nearly four decades now. I cannot speak for the many people that own my work, but I can say that I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to paint for a living and love being able to share my gift in this way xox