artist monique lovering

After living in Europe - flitting between Italy and the UK - artist and art director Monique Lovering is now based in Sydney's Bondi. She's almost back to her roots - as she was educated in Australia after being born in England. When she returned to the country of her birth, she spent many years working in magazines and for design companies. While Monique continues to work as an art director she also dedicates much of her time to her art, such as these collage works. Interestingly, she showcases her work on Saatchi Online, a place to "Discover Art. Get Discovered".

Which five words best describe you? Passionate, creative, curious, dreamer and traveller.

How did you get your career start and what path have you taken since? I began my career as a graphic designer working for a small film company in Brisbane. After working for the company for 2 years I booked a ticket and went to London to work. In London I worked for a small design studio, I learnt so much about typography and being ordered in my work practise. I was so untidy when I arrived, when I left every pencil was sharpened, no scraps of paper were left under my desk. My dream was to work on magazines, I loved photography and type. In time an opportunity came up to work on a fashion magazine and from there I went on to work for Australian Vogue, British Vogue, Elle Decoration UK and World of Interiors. I worked in London freelancing for lots of magazines and also small design studios. I enjoyed directing photo shoots and designing concepts for brochures, catalogues and magazines. Travelled to Italy as much as I could as it was so inspiring to be there. I took photos, sketched and painted. Often bringing material back to London to work on larger canvases. When possible I would be in my studio in Clapham working away, in this environment the pencils became blunt and paper filled the floors...

In time I moved to Palermo, Sicily and set myself up there, spending months painting and then flying back to London to do a contract for a few months. I moved to Australia almost 15 months ago and have been freelancing here as an art director. My art making has changed a little as I now use collage in my paintings and I have created some illustration work for more commercial projects. This practise of cutting up magazine images or book pages has been something I have actually done all of my career. So it seems natural that it has come back to me. Only now with more focus and I feel it has a voice in my paintings. Currently I am building a body of work and will have a pop up show asap.

What is the best lesson you have learnt along the way? To follow your heart. I feel it is important to do what you love. Even if you are only able to dip into your passion from time to time it is worth the experience. For many years I resisted painting/fine art, I had always been curious about making marks on canvas. It wasn't until I had a chance meeting with a New Zealand artist Louise Henderson almost 15 years ago now, that something within me wanted to start painting. I recall her saying to us all - painting gets into you blood and it eats you. My time in Italy taught me to appreciate the simple things in everyday life. To take time out to share food and celebrate being together. Sicily taught me patience, just when you think something will happen... oh, domani signora.... allora! Somehow it always worked out.

What is your proudest career achievement? Letting go of expectations! Being able to see the bigger picture when dealing with very challenging individuals.

What has been your best decision? To travel - I am so grateful for the opportunities I have had to travel personally and with work. I treasure those special meetings when you meet strangers and you share stories. I was in Rome in via Margutta having a coffee in a small bar, in walked Fellini's costume designer who dressed Anita Ekberg in La Dolce Vita, he told me all these stories about Fellini and of course that famous scene at the fountain. Minutes later I met an artist with his dog and I was invited for super at his house... I still wish to continue travelling although it is time for me to have a home here, and maybe another elsewhere for pleasure.

Who inspires you? My friends and family; their support has been amazing. I am so lucky to have such beautiful people in my life.

What are you passionate about? 1. Art - I adore making it and also visiting galleries to see exhibitions. 2. Food - I love fresh food and cooking for friends. My neighbours in Palermo always had an open door and a place at their table for me. Eating was a ritual and so pleasurable... I know that there is a place at the table for me and it is wonderful to know we will share food and many stories on my return. 3. Music/concerts/opera - I love the ceremony and the joy to the senses. 4. Laughter.

Which person living or dead, would you most like to meet? Gandhi

What dream do you still want to fill? Two homes, one in Sydney and the other in Italy. To exhibit nationally and internationally and set up a charity.

What are you reading? Street fight in Naples by Peter Robb.

images courtesy of monique lovering