(art.inspiration) fiona kennedy-altoft

I just find these paintings by Fiona Kennedy-Altoft irresistible. Love the colour. They make me smile and I just think, "How can you not feel happy when you look at them." It seems that I'm not the only person who feels that way. Her work was featured in one of the houses that we showcased for our "next month" ad in the current Real Living and her phone has been running hot.

Which five words best describe you? Creative, assertive, ambitious, passionate, loving.
What was your first job and what path have you taken since then? Learn to swim coach, then while studying art at uni I worked for two weeks at an abattoir in my hometown of Roma to buy my first car, it was the hardest work I have ever done to date labour-wise. I then was the art cocoordinator at a high school and now I work 5 days a fortnight as I love teaching and do my own art (and raise two beautiful children) the rest of the time. My own painting is my passion and I paint everyday.
What's your proudest achievement? To be able to be proud of who I am, how I have grown up. Personally we have a great lifestyle. By choice and sacrifices!! My two children are amazing. Professionally - this year I have hit my straps - after winning a national art prize in Melbourne, I have just finished a solo show in Brisbane and was selected for the Melbourne Art Fair this month and because of these, another gallery at 19 Karen on the Gold Coast has invited me to exhibit in a solo exhibition in June. So much to be proud of.
What's been your best decision? To travel for a year before we had children. We could never go back to or stay in some of the places we explored with our kids. We felt ready and loved travelling around the world.
What was the starting point for your most recent exhibition? My children, one of the privileges of being a parent gives us the opportunity to play again and have fun. Which we often forget to do when we are very responsible adults. My latest series is a mix of hybrid dogs and people playing. The expression on the dogs faces show the determination often seen on my sons face.
Who inspires you? Everything I do influences my work: my children; my lifestyle and my relationships; my upbringing in Roma South West Queensland and my role as an art teacher. My subject matter is usually a reflection of my observations of human behaviours. The artists that have influenced me or who I admire are Basquiat for his freedom of objects and compositions, Olsen for his variation in mark making and vivid colour palette, Ben Quilty for his manipulation of media and techniques, Mike Chavez’s sense of humour and I admire the success and style of fellow Gold Coaster Abbey McCulloch. My husband inspires me too, gets me through all the day to day jobs I don't want to do or waste my time doing. That gives me more time, which is precious as a working mother.
What are you passionate about? My family, my parents, my students and of course my artwork.
What's the best lesson you've learnt? Not to let anxiety rule your life. Yes it is scary and sometimes things make us feel overwhelmed but you will miss out on things if you are too scared to do them. I am usually a scaredy cat. So it is mind over matter.
Which person, living or dead, would you most like to meet? Cate Blanchett. She is so talented, diverse in her fields and seems to be a down to earth and hard working woman.
What dream do you still want to fulfil? So many, I want to do some artist in residencies here or overseas and of course love to work in New York, but not struggle there be able to live comfortably and enjoy the scene.
What are you reading? Pwwahh, my husband says that he wonders if I can read. When most people read, I paint. However at the moment I am reading Yr 11 art assignments. It is end of Term!!

Images courtesy of fiona kennedy-altoft