Cushions by Rowena Martinich and Geoffrey Carran of Martinich&Carran (Geoffrey’s cockatoos on the front, Rowena’s abstract paintings on the back!).
Geoffrey Carran and Rowena Martinich of Martinich&Carran, exhibiting together at Design :Made : Trade last year. Photo – Sean Fennessy.
You may recall many moons ago we profiled amazing Melbourne artist Rowena Martinich, who makes large scale paintings and murals in the most brilliant vibrant colours, often in public spaces. Her work has been seen in lots of high profile locations and also retail shopfronts over the past few years – you might remember spotting it in the windows of Dagmar Rousset in Fitzroy, or more recently in Mecca Cosmetica, or perhaps in the windows of Myer Melbourne or Myer Sydney…? She’s one busy lady!
Last year Rowena also joined forces with her partner, fellow artist Geoffrey Carran to form a new collaborative project. The result is Martinich&Carran – a creative partnership which extends each artists’ work from the canvas to homewares, with a debut range of stunning printed cushions. The cushions feature Geoffrey’s incredible cockatoo paintings on one side, and Rowena’s distinctive abstract work on the other. The cushion designs are based on original artworks by each artist, and are printed in Melbourne with natural pigment dyes onto organic cotton.
Whilst I always love a great creative collaboration story, I’m also a sucker for a romantic ending…. which makes this particular collaboration all the more engaging! As it turns out, Rowena and Geoffrey’s work brought them together – they first met at a mural site, and started collaborating creatively at a show curated by Rowena at the NGV studio in Melbourne in 2011. After spending much of 2012 sharing a studio on Rowena’s family’s sheep property in the Western Wimmera, here they are with a debut homewares range which perfectly combines their two painting styles – awww man… you gotta love it.
We asked Rowena and Geoffrey how they met, and how their homewares collaboration came about -
Our relationship was formed over the idea of working together creatively. We had met at a mural site and instantly recognised the same creative impulse in each other. We had talked about the idea of working together on projects but it wasn’t until Rowena curated a show called Fluoresce at the NGV studio at Federation Square that we actually started painting collaboratively. The first work ‘Rose’ painting just meshed our two styles together so well, we both had complete confidence in each other, and were completely in love at the same time!
The cushions also spun out of that project, as another of the artists in Fluoresce, Michelle Francis from Frankie and Swiss took the ‘Rose’ painting and started reproducing it as fabric. That is where it all started! The current cushions are the result of a year working together.
The cockatoos and Rowena’s vibrant expressionist works were painted as we shared our studio on Rowena’s family sheep property in the Western Wimmera. The studio has been set up in the shearing shed, it converts into a perfect painting studio with plenty of light, space and ventilation. We just knocked up a few walls, strung up a hammock and resurrected an old Hifi unit – perfect! The result of this has been quite prolific output.
Of all the paintings that came out of that woolshed we felt that Geoffrey’s cockatoo paintings would be perfect to sit alongside Rowena’s paintings. There is so much movement and colour in both painting styles – they just worked perfectly together.
Rowena and Geoffrey recently had an ‘open studio’ event which was an incredible success, so they have another one coming up this weekend! It’s at 352 Malvern rd, Prahran, this Friday 8th to Sunday 10th Feb, from 10.00am – 7.00pm each day. You can also buy the cushions there – they’re priced at $180.
Cushions can also be purchased by contacting Rowena and Geoffrey direct through their website.