Inspired by vintage textiles and patterns, artist Laurie McKern creates engaging figurative paintings with a retro flair. See more of her portfolio by visiting her website.
I always knew I wanted to be an artist. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t drawing. My favourite toy was my set of 64 Crayola Colours. I could sit for hours using them in my colouring books.
I was born and raised in the 70’s in Toronto, Canada where the homes were usually wallpapered. My mother’s choices in patterns were crazy and bold with giant birds, flowers and plants in rich colours. In my grandmother’s house was extravagant wallpaper flocked in Florence, Broadhurst style designs. My grandmother even wallpapered her cupboards and drawers!
I have been greatly influenced by my grandmother who was a dressmaker with a studio full of fabrics, haberdashery, vintage dresses and bathing suits from the 20’s to the 60’s. These beautiful things from my childhood have sparked my continued love of pattern, textiles and vintage design and influence my current work.
I studied illustration at Sheridan College in Ontario. Subsquently, I went on to be a graphic artist and illustrator for many years in Toronto and then Sydney, Australia. I’m now settled in Sydney with my husband and daughter. After the birth of my daughter, I decided to pursue my dream of being a full-time fine artist.
Since the early 2000’s I have been a practising artist and art teacher. I owned an art school Gallery Cats Studios with fellow artist Petra Pinn in Sydney for 10 years. In 2019, I was awarded a 30-day artist’s residency in Ireland and a year’s artist residency in the Northern Beaches of Sydney. With a grand plan to travel the world doing artist’s residencies, Petra and I decided to close down our art school right before the pandemic.
Currently I enjoy teaching a few painting classes a week and painting the other days in my studio, a renovated train/shipping container. I paint everything from landscapes to still life and figurative works.
I am especially drawn to the human form. The figure is always fluid, moving and changing. It gives me a new perspective to learn with each movement.
No matter the subject matter, my intention is to evoke an atmosphere. The aim is to tell a story and convey a feeling: nostalgia, introspection, or fun and joy.
The artist’s path is not always easy, but I am so grateful for my creative life and wouldn’t want it any other way. Thank you for taking the time to read my story and discover my work.