While she has lived all over the world, and studied in Great Britain, it wasn’t until Ali McNabney-Stevens settled in Australia that her art career started to take off. She has always been focussed on an art practice though - from school days to art school when she completed an Honours Degree at Edinburgh College of Art and went on to St Martins for further study. However, it was after Ali met her Australian husband in London and moved to Melbourne, where she is now based, that she started to not only create a body of work, but found a way to cut through with enough sales to make a career out of her practice. This is in large part due to her collaboration with Julia Green of Greenhouse Interiors, a tour-de-force in commercialising artists’ works.
Which five words best describe you? I’m not really sure; I think I can be many things on different days - just ask my husband - but I’d like to think overall I am kind and easy going… And I do have a tendency to go off track a bit…. I think I’m a bit frank on occasion as well. Gosh, I am clearly not able to articulate myself in five words am I.
How did you get your career start and what path? I met Julia Green from Greenhouse Interiors as a fellow school mother. I saw what she was up to, and knew I needed to be a part of her world. She took an artist’s dream, and turned it into a commercial reality. Many artists don’t know how to do this part, so it was a match made in heaven. The fact that we have become good friends, love each other’s families, and understand what is important to each other, makes it a partnership that is very valuable. My work is now sold through Greenhouse Interiors and my own website.
What’s the best lesson you’ve learnt along the way? I haven’t learnt this - I’ve realised it: the best lesson is to do what you genuinely love and like to do, surround yourself with like-minded people, don’t procrastinate - start the art or whatever it may be - and go one step at a time and if you don’t know how to do one part of the equation, outsource it.
What’s your proudest career achievement? Selling my first painting. The notion that someone would pay for what I saw in my mind and felt in my heart is a surreal moment.
What’s been your best decision? To marry J.
Who inspires you? Anyone who is positive - I’m not always, who has a go, and overcomes obstacles to get where they want to be.
What are you passionate about? Getting it right as a parent, and painting the next painting - trying to get better and finding that elusive thing where it all works on the canvas.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? My English Literature teacher who lives in Northern Ireland. I haven’t seen him since I left school and I would love to say thanks for being my most inspiring teacher and giving me an enduring love for literature. He has written the most amazing short stories and poems that sit proudly on my shelf; they are the books I would never lend.
What dream do you still want to fulfill? To have a completely perfect Nigella Christmas with all of my friends from all over the world under my roof - all eating and having fun. The food would be amazing, the house covered with fairy lights and candles; it would be the Christmas party of all Christmas parties - and doing all of it without breaking into a sweat and stressing. I’m shooting for the stars - it’s never going to happen.
What are you reading? Stoner by John Williams, loaned to me by my friend Susan, and Eye Spy with my eight year old at bedtime.