Katie McKinnon pictured with her piece Moonlighter and Coral.
This week, I was lucky enough to interview the incredibly talented Katie McKinnon, about her beautiful collaboration with The Rug Collection for their Art Series.
RC: Hi Katie – firstly, thank you so much for taking the time to chat to me about your beautiful collaboration with The Rug Collection.
K: My pleasure, Rochelle! Thank you for having me. I love your blog!
RC: I am such a big fan of your work and I would love to know, what inspires your artwork and how do you start a piece? Like does it start with one colour or seeing something etc.?
K: Oh thank you, Rochelle! I am very inspired by the natural world and enjoy frequent trips to the Melbourne Aquarium and watching nature documentaries with my boys, observing fish, rays and their environments. I find the push-pull of currents, the way colour plays on coral, and the submarine light from sunlight to midnight ocean zones. I work with acrylic paint and a range of inks to build up multiple layers on canvas and I often work on several pieces at once. I want to create the feeling of an underwater paradise for my clients.
RC: Your artwork is often inspired by the ocean (please correct me if I’m wrong!) I would love to know the reason behind this and how it has influenced your work.
K: Absolutely! I lived in Switzerland for over a decade, which was amazing, but I did always long for the wide, open skies and surf beaches of home. I became increasingly interested in painting the Australian beach landscape and what lies beneath the waves. My underwater gardens are abstract expressions. I try to create a sense of the ever-changing currents, the intensity of colour, the way light plays on coral and marine plants, how the light changes according to the depth of the ocean from the sunlight to midnight zones, and the quiet strength of the waves. I am happiest swimming in or playing near the ocean, with my family.
RC: So you’ve created two stunning pieces for the collection – Moonlighter and Coral and Parrotfish and Coral, which I feel are a beautiful celebration of colour and evoke a sense of calamity, how did the creative process begin for these pieces?
K: Thank you, Rochelle!
The first of my two designs for Art Series by The Rug Collection, Parrotfish and Coral, is inspired by an original, abstract work on canvas inspired by the magical underwater gardens of Osprey Reef, located off Cairns in the Coral Sea. The parrotfish is drawn to turquoise ribbon reefs with pristine blush pink coral gardens. The second design, Moonlighter and Coral, is also based on a painting, inspired by the shy, reef dwelling Moonlighter fish swimming in the aquamarine waters of Greens Pool in William National Park, Western Australia.
I was seeking to reference these magical places in my rug designs. I spent time working closely with The Rug Collection team to learn about the elements of design that transfer successfully into a woven rug, and considered different designs and how they would translate. I am so pleased with the results – The Rug Collection has done an amazing job!
Parrotfish and Coral by Katie McKinnon for The Rug Collection Art Series
RC: They’re both quite different – but have your signature style, I have to know, is there a favourite piece for you? Or are they Iike your children, and equally as special.
K. As a mother, I couldn’t possibly choose! ;)
RC: Do you have any advice for people wanting to add artwork into their space, but not sure how to go about doing so?
K: Adding an element of art in the form of a rug is very fresh and unexpected. I would personally always choose pieces that make you happy and improve the energy in your home.
RC: Finally, I would love to know what was your favourite thing about seeing your art come to life in the form of a rug and can we expect to see more rugs from you in the future?
K: The beautiful softness of the NZ wool blend and art silk gives my designs a third dimension, and I would love to explore that tactile aspect further with a more extensive range.
I have thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the design journey, especially the colour selection process from hundreds of coloured poms! I am currently working on new textile designs which incorporate geometric elements representing reefs, oceanic shelves and seamounts, which could make for some pretty interesting rugs!
RC: Thanks so much for your time, I for one would love one of your pieces in my home!
K: Thank YOU. It was such a pleasure to speak with you, Rochelle. Best wishes! x
Art Series will be available for purchase online from shop.therugcollection.com.au
For more information on Art Series contact The Rug Collection on (03) 9421 5133.