Rowena Martinich is a BOSS in the art sphere. She has been sought after by major commercial fashion and beauty clients, like Nike and Mecca Cosmetica, to transform their spaces with her signature use of colour.
She Does This caught up with Rowena to talk about her latest venture, her solo exhibition, Colourboss.
SDT: You’ve go such a strong presence as an artist now, but let’s talk about where it all began for you as a painter…
ROWENA: I've always been a painter, but my career really began after art school. I studied painting, then did a Masters in Public Art. This is really where the direction that I wanted to take my career was defined. I always felt that there was a lot of potential for my work to function in a broader context outside of the traditional gallery environment, so I started doing this through mural painting and large scale painting installations onto glass in public environments. I think this where a lot of awareness around my work grew.
SDT: Growing up, what artists inspired you?
ROWENA: As a young painter I was obsessed with Henri Matisse & Brett Whitely.
Through art school I loved Howard Hodgkins, Robert Rauschenberg, Dale Chihuly, Helen Frankenthaler and Sigmar Polke. Some other faves are Katharina Grosse, Olafur Eliasson, Joost an Santen, Alex Brewer, Jen Stark, Yago Hortal and calligraphic art.
SDT: You’ve got such a distinct style! From where do you draw inspiration?
Inspiration comes from all over the place – as an artist you are constantly soaking up what's around you. But mostly, inspiration for me comes from the act of painting and process – from experimentation and learning and ideas that come when you just start doing.
Aside from that, I'm often drawing inspiration from the location I am creating a work for and being mindful of how it will function beyond its existence simply as a painting.
SDT: You’ve worked with some incredible architects and brands like Nike and Mecca. What have been some of the highlights for you over your journey as an emerging artist?
ROWENA: I've been fortunate to secure some pretty exciting projects, but some of the
highlights include exhibiting in Lyon, flying to London to paint at a Bombay Sapphire event, painting a 50 meter sea wall just out of Istanbul, collaborating with amazing brands and pushing my art practice into different contexts – the latest being with Melbourne company ‘Eleven Australia.’ Having my artwork permanently integrated into beautiful architectural buildings such as Arthouse in Brisbane, or C3 in Brunswick.
Generally – making a positive impact on spaces that people experience on a daily basis.
SDT: What advice would you give young women wanting to break into the industry?
ROWENA: Jump in and back yourself. Try not to be swayed by other’s ideas of what you should be doing. Decipher what it is that you really want to be or do, and follow your passion.
Work hard and be an originator.
SDT: Can you tell us a bit about your current solo exhibition, Colourboss?
ROWENA: Colourboss is all about coming back to what drives me as an artist – working at large scale, embracing vibrant colour palettes, and showcasing the context of where my artwork functions really strongly – activating public spaces and bring grey urban environments to life.
In the making of the Colourboss series I've committed months to concentrated studio time to really explore where my painting can go – refining techniques, going wrong, having breakthroughs.
Literally immersing myself in the process of art making, and developing paintings that I have literally walked across to create; painting giant sweeping gestures with large scale brushes and brooms interlaced with spray paint, splatters and energy.
These works are an extension of my bodily movement and psyche, and I hope that whilst people are at the exhibition, they can take time just to immerse themselves in the experience of colour saturation.