The Creatives: Get to know Leah Bartholomew

This Gold Coast-based artist has well and truly made her mark on the Australian arts and design scene. Her vibrant, abstract prints, paintings and homewares show why she’s one of Queensland’s most exciting talents.

MY BACKGROUND:

I started out with a degree in Fine Arts at Queensland College of Art, then moved to Melbourne and studied screen print design and graphic arts, where I heard [much-loved Australian illustrator and designer] Beci Orpin was looking for an assistant. As Beci is one of my biggest inspirations, I jumped at the chance to apply and much to my shock, I got the job! Beci was an amazing mentor to me for five years.

Returning to my hometown of Coolangatta on the Gold Coast, I started my homewares label, Beneath The Sun. It challenged me in many ways and I learned a lot. It was finally time to arrive full circle, and follow my dream of being a full-time artist.

I LOVE THE WORK THAT I DO BECAUSE…

From a very young age I knew that I wanted and needed to be an artist. It’s my true passion in life. I have set up a lifestyle and routine I am very content with. I live in absolute paradise here in Coolangatta – I get to wake up, head to the beach for a walk or swim then come back and jump into my creative endeavours for the day.

Sometimes I think about how hard I have worked to be in the place I am today and I stop and take it all in for a moment. It’s just so incredible to be able to make a living doing my art, working super hard while at the same time setting up a lifestyle for myself where I feel really quite balanced.

THREE WORDS THAT SUM UP MY AESTHETIC:

Optimistic. Colourful. Playful.

I AM MOST INSPIRED BY…

Nature. Most of my work is inspired by my daily interactions with the natural environment. I am also very inspired by other creatives. I can spend hours lost in books, magazines and online seeking out artwork, interiors, travel and reading other people’s stories of why they do what they do.

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A TYPICAL BUSY WORK DAY LOOKS A LITTLE LIKE…

Waking up very early, grabbing a quick coffee then not leaving my studio from morning through to night. I tend to be a night cat but am trying to change my habits, so I make the most of the early mornings instead.

AND WHEN I’M DONE, MY IDEAL WEEKEND WOULD BE…

A lazy day at the beach, some markets then long lunches which turn into dinner with friends who live up in the hills of the Tweed Valley.

I’M WORKING ON…

I’ve just released four new artworks as fine art prints and am currently working on paintings, wallpapers and painted pots to be released with Greenhouse Interiors in late July. Then I have a solo exhibition in October at Leftbank Gallery on the Gold Coast.

MY DREAM CREATIVE PROJECT WOULD BE…

I did a great collaboration with Sportscraft designing a homewares range at the end of 2016 and would love to do more projects like that. I just want to continue being a part of our incredible creative community and take it to an international stage.

MY HOME:

I share my home with a couple of friends. We live in a little beach shack which has amazing light streaming through it at different times of the day. Our living room has a panoramic view with a glimpse of the ocean. I love my home studio and also our large deck where we constantly entertain friends.

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MY LOCAL PICKS ARE…

Mervyn Roy’s Cafe in Bilinga (my daily coffee spot), Gather store in Currumbin for nice wares and plants, and Maverick Hair and Art Space in Coolangatta where you can see one of my murals and browse books and art. I also love Tupe Aloha in Kirra for drinks and food.

THE MOTTO I LIKE (OR TRY!) TO LIVE BY:

Stop thinking and start making! You can make it happen if you work hard and continue to believe.

Discover more at leahbartholomew.net