Kirsten Jackson studio tour
Forget painting the town red, Kirsten Jackson wants to coat the world multicolour. The Australian mixed medium artist combines acrylic paints, oil pastels, inks, and water colours to create brilliant abstract works that are texturally rich and bursting with colour.
Kirsten Jackson's distinctive process
Working from her beautiful studio in Melbourne’s Sandringham, Jackson—a life-long lover of painting and a Visual Arts graduate at RMIT—builds layer upon layer of texture while exploring colour, light, and space in her expressionist style work.
Pouring inks and paints straight onto the canvas to create brilliant blocks of colour, Jackson works best when in a flow state, totally immersed in the act of making. When it comes to paint palettes, there are no rules except one—the brighter the better. Neon pinks and electric blues pop from the canvas, joining lilac and sage in a patchwork of paint.
Jackson’s process is anything but conventional. Using the back ends of paint tubes, the bottom of ink jars, paint scrapers, and pieces of cloth—essentially, anything other than a paintbrush—layers of materials bring a rich vibrancy and texture to her work. For one series of work, “Blue Tango”, Jackson even danced across the artworks in a pair of boots. Nothing is off limits here!
When it comes to her studio, Jackson is big on the energy of the space. With a show room at the front and her painting studio in the back, her light-filled space opened in 2017 and is the perfect place to both create and exhibit. Mimicking the playfulness of her paintings, her studio space is frenetic and fun, with spots and splatters of colour from wall to floor. Her drop sheets are artworks in themselves, a brilliant mess of multicolour that reads like a treasure map of texture.
In the showroom, a gorgeous gold art-deco inspired brass palm chandelier hangs from the ceiling, setting a laidback luxe mood. Large scale works hang from the white walls, while smaller framed canvases line the room. Here, art lovers and potential buyers can see Jackson’s work in a beautiful home setting (don’t mind the paint scuffs on the hardwood floors!). But it’s out the back, in her painting studio, where the real magic happens.
A large neon lit sign that reads “Kirsten Jackson Studio” sets the scene on the wall, while paint supplies spill from drawers and jars. Tubes of paint outnumber everything else in the space 20:1, though a paintbrush proves hard to come across. Pieces of cloth are bountiful, though, with Jackson favouring them as her preferred application tool. As she rubs and dabs acrylic and ink across the canvas, Jackson literally turns rags to riches.
Here, upbeat music plays from the speakers and phones are a no-go. The studio is a place to have fun and create, leaving the outside noise behind. For Jackson, the most important thing is to simply have fun—because “when you’re having fun, you produce your best work.” Large scale canvases lay flat on the floor, with Jackson at times working on multiple pieces at once, going back and forth with drips and dabs until convinced each work has reached its full potential.
Watching her in action, you might think that Jackson’s process is spontaneous and impulsive, but most works take weeks to complete. Moving near finished works from her studio into her own home, Jackson often spends several weeks ‘communing’ with a piece until content that it’s finally finished. If not, it’s back to the studio for another round of colour.
Painting brings Jackson immense happiness, and you can see it in her work. Passing that happiness on to others through her work is a driving force, spreading her infectious love of colour to collectors from Europe, Hong Kong, the US, and of course, Australia. Sell out shows in London and Singapore are testament to her universal appeal, but it’s here in Sandringham where her work shines brightest.