This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

Kayleigh Heydon's Paintings Will Light Up Your Life

Studio Visit

You probably recognise Kayleigh Heydon’s fluid, amorphous shapes. The multidisciplinary artist has been exhibiting around Melbourne since 2016, and her gentle patterns were part of a collaboration with local label Kuwaii, which launched just last week.

As a person and a painter, Kayleigh emanates a warm and sunny aura. She invites you in to share her spaces, both on the canvas and in her studio, and today we took her up on that offer!

2nd April, 2020

Artwork by Kayleigh Heydon.

The radiant Kayleigh Heydon. Photo – Sheridan Lee.

Artwork by Kayleigh Heydon.

‘I decided to store all of my tools in what can only be described as a carport crossed with a shed crossed with a sun room, and turns out it’s actually a perfect studio.’ Photo – Sheridan Lee.

‘My studio is ventilated, it has amazing light and I can make a mess, spread out, dance to music and eat pizza and not bother anyone.’ Photo – Sheridan Lee.

Artwork by Kayleigh Heydon.

Dressed in the collaboration print she launched with Kuwaii last week! Photo – Sheridan Lee.

Sasha Gattermayr
Thursday 2nd April 2020

Kayleigh Heydon lights up my Instagram grid. That doesn’t sound like much on a platform crowded with the most carefully curated parts of people’s lives; but as someone who spends a lot of time trawling the Internet I can tell you the sensation of something catching your eye is rarer than you think. Kayleigh’s paintings have that certain something. Maybe it’s the apricot and pink hues, or soft pillowy forms, but there’s something strangely hypnotising about these perfectly balanced compositions.

Originally from Manchester in the UK, she studied Interactive Arts at Manchester School of Art and Design. This broad course allowed gave her the scope to experiment with materials like glass and metal sculpture, meaning she didn’t really gravitate towards painting until moving to Melbourne in 2015. Even then, it was only a way to keep sane, but now she has found the perfect balance in practising both painting and sculpture.

Hey Kayleigh! You haven’t been a practising painter for long but your work is so distinct. Is this what you do full time?

I paint as often as I can, which is technically two full days a week, but life gets in the way, not to mention creative blocks, so I only really paint when I feel like I can push myself into it properly and positively.

I work a few days a week as a picture framer, which is another passion of mine. I’ve been doing it for about three years and I’ve learned a lot about composition from a whole different perspective, timber, and how to frame my own work, which is a huge thing for me. It means I can really create something from start to finish.

Can you tell us about the space in which you typically create?

I recently moved into a new house and found myself between studios. I decided to store all of my tools in what can only be described as a carport crossed with a shed, crossed with a sun room, and turns out it’s actually a perfect studio. It’s ventilated, it has amazing light and I can make a mess, spread out, dance to music and eat pizza and not bother anyone. The dream!

How has moving hemispheres affected your art?

The whole environment is different. The social and political landscape is different, and so too is the physical landscape and history of this country, all of those things really take time to sink in, and they still are sinking in. I spent a lot of time just listening to what was going on, visiting different places, absorbing my surroundings. I’m still learning. I think (though not outwardly or literally) Australia has impacted how I work and ultimately what that work then looks like.

You released a beautiful new collection with Kuwaii just last week – how did that come about, and what was the process like?

Kirsty from Kuwaii got in touch with me after a show I had in May of 2019 about doing a print for their Autumn/Winter 2020 collection. We chatted a lot about different paintings and what she liked, and we ended up using a painting that already existed, the biggest piece from my last show, which is what she turned into the print.

We talked about what elements we could take out and how we could change some of the shapes so they could work better as a repeat, I think it worked out really well. It kept everything that the painting was.

Have you found your work has been affected by the current state of the world?

Yes, I feel like my work has been affected. This whole thing has given me more time to paint and more time to push myself into relying on art for income. But that being mixed with an economy where people can’t really afford to buy things that aren’t essential has been very difficult. People want to support and do what they can, but they can only do so much because they need to take care of themselves.

I was being more bountiful before COVID-19 started – I was trying new mediums, shapes, and layering, not really caring about whether people liked it or not. And then this time hit and I’ve kind of had to go back into safe things that I’ve done before, things I know could sell, rather than something that’s just for me and my exploration – it’s a bit riskier. So I have found I’ve been kind of bound by it, unfortunately.

Who inspires you?

Some artists that endlessly inspires me include Anna Van Der Ploeg, Kirsty Budge, Julia Trybala, Charlotte Alldis and Anthony Cudahy.

You can buy Kayleigh’s beautiful Kuwaii collaboration collection here, and get in touch with her for commissions via her website or Instagram

This Week

On The Market

A Chic Family Home In The Heart Of Fitzroy Is For Sale!

A unique renovated home with crazy paving, double height ceilings and a north-facing backyard in the most tightly held pocket of Fitzroy.

News

The Ultimate Tap For A Minimalist Kitchen

New additions to Phoenix’s award-winning Axia line expand the modern minimalist collection to sleek new heights!
Sponsored
1.34

One Room Wonders

A Classic, Colourful Kids Room Transformation

We transform a simple baby's bedroom, with Surround by Laminex wall panelling, and a playful injection of colour, pattern and texture!

Designers At Home

At Home With Architect Shin Kil + Visual Merchandiser Jessie Choi

The minimalist Fitzroy apartment of architect Shin Kil and visual merchandiser Jessie Choi, featuring the sleek Samsung The Serif TV.

Shopping

11 Curated, Independent Homewares Stores We're Obsessed With!

The gifting season is upon us, but these local stores have an impeccable selection of items all year round!
Sasha Gattermayr
  15 hours ago

Podcast

Cormach Evans On Creating Space For Aboriginal Excellence, On TDF Talks

In our podcast season finale, Yorta Yorta man Cormach Evans talks to host Lucy Feagins about the two organisations he founded and directs: S...

Homes

A Perfectly Personalised Art Deco Rental

The colourful, art deco South Yarra apartment of Skinny Wolf owner and florist Leila Sanderson, and sound engineer Tony Espie.

Architecture

A Flood-Proof Transformation Of A 1960s Brisbane Home

Lineburg Wang saved a 1960s Paddington, Brisbane home from future flood damage, and added an inspired indoor-outdoor extension.

News

These Hand Painted Ceramics Celebrate The Soft Power Of Women

Femme Fantasy is the new 22-piece collaborative collection of painted, ceramic vessels from artist Marisa Mu and ceramicist Alicia McVilly.

On The Market

Victorian Charm Meets Dramatic Modern Luxury In This Princes Hill Home For Sale

Featuring so many modern, custom made elements, every room in this house has its own distinct personality!
Sally Tabart
  7 hours ago

Modernist Australia

A Pristine Mid-Century Family Home Buried In Greenery

A North Balwyn home designed by architect Alan Nance and built in 1957 is on the market, and it's amazing!
Trish Callan

Architecture

A Breathtaking Coastal Home On The Tasmanian Shoreline

This serene holiday home by Tanner Architects makes the most of its rugged Tasmanian outlook.

Interiors

Summer 2022 Colour Trend Predictions + WIN Dulux Paint & A Rachel Castle Artwork!

Get inspired by these vibrant and joyous Dulux paint colours set to take over home interiors this summer. Plus, your chance to win 20 litres...

Shopping

Greenhouse Interiors Have Transformed This Heritage Warehouse Into A Fully Shoppable Interiors Mega Space!

Julia Green’s latest venture is her most ambitious yet - a completely shoppable interior project spanning 600 square metres and two floors...

Shopping

Shop Local At This Fabulous Pop-Up, By Four Of Our Favourite Creatives

Hattie Molloy, Sunday Salon, Curio Practice and Nicole Lawrence Studio come together for a month-long retail residency in Fitzroy. Retail is...

View Comments

Similar Stories

Studio Visit

Charlotte Alldis Is Making Art To Strengthen A Sense Of Belonging

Unexpected colour combos and kooky characters crowd the canvas of this Melbourne-based painter!
Sasha Gattermayr

Studio Visit

Julia Trybala's Paintings Are About The Politics Of Taking Up Space

The Melbourne-based artist creates paintings of the female form, with an intimacy and energy that is hard to look away from.
Sasha Gattermayr

Art

Yaritji Tingila Young Is Leading The Way For The Next Generation Of Indigenous Artists

A mother, an artist and a leader, we explore the profound work of Yaritji Tingila Young, on the APY Lands in remote South Australia.

This Week

Architecture

A Breathtaking Coastal Home On The Tasmanian Shoreline

This serene holiday home by Tanner Architects makes the most of its rugged Tasmanian outlook.

Homes

A Perfectly Personalised Art Deco Rental

The colourful, art deco South Yarra apartment of Skinny Wolf owner and florist Leila Sanderson, and sound engineer Tony Espie.

News

These Hand Painted Ceramics Celebrate The Soft Power Of Women

Femme Fantasy is the new 22-piece collaborative collection of painted, ceramic vessels from artist Marisa Mu and ceramicist Alicia McVilly.

On The Market

A Chic Family Home In The Heart Of Fitzroy Is For Sale!

A unique renovated home with crazy paving, double height ceilings and a north-facing backyard in the most tightly held pocket of Fitzroy.

Designers At Home

At Home With Architect Shin Kil + Visual Merchandiser Jessie Choi

The minimalist Fitzroy apartment of architect Shin Kil and visual merchandiser Jessie Choi, featuring the sleek Samsung The Serif TV.

Shopping

11 Curated, Independent Homewares Stores We're Obsessed With!

The gifting season is upon us, but these local stores have an impeccable selection of items all year round!
Sasha Gattermayr
  15 hours ago

Interiors

Summer 2022 Colour Trend Predictions + WIN Dulux Paint & A Rachel Castle Artwork!

Get inspired by these vibrant and joyous Dulux paint colours set to take over home interiors this summer. Plus, your chance to win 20 litres...
1.34

One Room Wonders

A Classic, Colourful Kids Room Transformation

We transform a simple baby's bedroom, with Surround by Laminex wall panelling, and a playful injection of colour, pattern and texture!

Shopping

Shop Local At This Fabulous Pop-Up, By Four Of Our Favourite Creatives

Hattie Molloy, Sunday Salon, Curio Practice and Nicole Lawrence Studio come together for a month-long retail residency in Fitzroy. Retail is...

Architecture

A Flood-Proof Transformation Of A 1960s Brisbane Home

Lineburg Wang saved a 1960s Paddington, Brisbane home from future flood damage, and added an inspired indoor-outdoor extension.

On The Market

Victorian Charm Meets Dramatic Modern Luxury In This Princes Hill Home For Sale

Featuring so many modern, custom made elements, every room in this house has its own distinct personality!
Sally Tabart
  7 hours ago

Shopping

Greenhouse Interiors Have Transformed This Heritage Warehouse Into A Fully Shoppable Interiors Mega Space!

Julia Green’s latest venture is her most ambitious yet - a completely shoppable interior project spanning 600 square metres and two floors...

Podcast

Cormach Evans On Creating Space For Aboriginal Excellence, On TDF Talks

In our podcast season finale, Yorta Yorta man Cormach Evans talks to host Lucy Feagins about the two organisations he founded and directs: S...

Modernist Australia

A Pristine Mid-Century Family Home Buried In Greenery

A North Balwyn home designed by architect Alan Nance and built in 1957 is on the market, and it's amazing!
Trish Callan

News

The Ultimate Tap For A Minimalist Kitchen

New additions to Phoenix’s award-winning Axia line expand the modern minimalist collection to sleek new heights!
Sponsored

Similar Stories

Studio Visit

Charlotte Alldis Is Making Art To Strengthen A Sense Of Belonging

Unexpected colour combos and kooky characters crowd the canvas of this Melbourne-based painter!
Sasha Gattermayr

Studio Visit

Julia Trybala's Paintings Are About The Politics Of Taking Up Space

The Melbourne-based artist creates paintings of the female form, with an intimacy that is hard to look away from.
Sasha Gattermayr

Art

Yaritji Tingila Young Is Leading The Way For The Next Generation Of Indigenous Artists

A mother, an artist and a leader, we explore the profound work of Yaritji Tingila Young, on the APY Lands in remote South Australia.

The Design Files acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.