Earlier this year, Sans Beast held a sample sale at The Nest Creative Space in Sydney - and in exploring that hotbed of creativity, came across the watercolour paintings of Alisha Rich. I knew we had to commission Alisha to do a painting or two, representing the watery mood of our Series 04 collection. We didn't get too prescriptive - which allowed for Alisha to instinctively utilise her chosen colour palettes + of course, her own signature style. Collaboration is an essential part of the Sans Beast ethos - we learn, get inspired + have the opportunity to lift others up along the way. One facet of our Creature Blog is to spread the word about creatives working in different fields. Alisha was kind enough to answer a handful of questions about her practise, her notion of mutiny + why water keeps calling to her.
SB: We’re interested in your artistic provenance story – what led you to paint, and when did that brush find its’ way into your hand?
For me, I was a little bit trapped in a role where my creativity was really minimal. I wanted to develop the other parts of my leadership skills in managing a team and concentrating on the operational side of a fashion business. It was 9 months in when my grandfather who was an artist, passed away + I had his beautiful timber paint box in my hands. I had come for lessons with him before he passed away to teach me how to paint clouds. His paint box was so interesting and I knew he would want me to continue the practise. My Mum + I decided to go on a weekend trip to learn from Cherry Hood, an Archibald winner, in the study of portraiture. After the most glorious weekend, painting for hours + hours, I returned to my desk, turned on the computer, and the light gave me an immediate migraine; I knew I wasn't doing what was right for me.
SB: Has it always been watercolour for you? What is it about the element of water that resonates with you?
I really love watercolour, it's so soft and it hides nothing...every layer is visible and I like that depth + transparency. The pigment gathers and makes beautiful kisses on the paper. It has a mind of its' own.
SB: Our Series 04 collection is called The Afterglow of Mutiny. Do you have any stories of mutiny or rebellion you can share with us (metaphorically speaking – we’re aware you’re not a pirate…)?
It's very much a collection narrative that I felt very aligned with in terms of what my work speaks to. Rebellion is basically my motive + approach to life and creativity. I don't like doing anything anyone else has done, I love using materials in ways they are not supposed to be used. A lot of the techniques in my paintings are not considered the correct way to use the paint. But it's what I love the most about what the paint can do. I'm not interested in protocol.
SB: As with all creative practise, there can be the temptation to keep working on something endlessly; how do you know when the piece is complete?
Yes, I think the 'walk away' time is usually when I giggle or get a whooshy feeling in my stomach, and when the painting shows me what it wants to say. Some of my paintings have told me their stories.
SB: Do you find it difficult to part with your works?
Yes, especially when they have brought me so much joy painting them.
SB: What’s your dream commission – anywhere / any surface / any product?
I would like to paint a mural in my home town in Sydney CBD, with a dripping portrait on an abandoned building.
SB: Favourite artist / creative / inspiration?
SB: You’ve got a day job – which also sounds very creative + satisfying – how do you balance the two facets of your professional life, and what do you do to relax?
I'm an event stylist so I'm constantly making installation art and working on creative briefs. To relax is my art studio time; painting is my mind food, it inspires me and keeps me calm. Every second of every day, I could be painting, I love it so much, it's a treat like chocolate cake.
Check out @mrs.m.rich to see more of Alisha's heavenly art works.
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