Perth-based artist, Anya Brock, is responsible for the gorgeous protea artwork featured in Ronnie and Georgia’s hallway. We find out about she got her big break...
How long have you been exhibiting your work through The Block Shop?
For a few years. I am friends with Megan Weston (whose art featured in Julia & Sasha’s Dining Room last year and has been popular on The Block Shop since Brad & Dale first used her resin artworks in 2014 on Fans V Faves), and I used to talk to her about it, and she was like, ‘Get yourself on the shop.’ The stuff I was doing before was really bright animals, and girls faces - that’s basically what I had been doing for around five years. But I’m just starting to move into these really subdued and brutal flowers, which I’m loving.
They’re quite different from your other works...
Yeah - it’s really nice. I have just had a baby, so it’s almost like this new chapter of work. It’s great that the protea painting was the piece featured on the TV show, because it showcases what I’m doing now.
What made you want to start painting Australian flowers?
Well, funnily enough, I was remember thinking, ‘I’m going to start doing a bunch of Australian natives - I’ll start with the protea flower’ - and it’s actually the national flower of South Africa! It’s not an Australian native at all!
I know! I was posting about it, saying, ‘I’m doing Australian natives,’ and all of the comments on my Instagram page where, ‘Actually, that is not an Australian native.’ But nobody knows that. It always gets sold in bunches of Australian natives! And then, when I watched the show, the judges were like, ‘There is a real theme of Australian natives running through the show.’ And I laughed - because everyone obviously thinks that too! So that was a bit of face-palm moment for me on social media…
That’s very funny. Do you have plans to branch out with your flower paintings?
I will eventually do all different kinds of flowers. Lately I’ve been doing more subdued tones, but every now and again I’m like, ‘I just need to paint something bright!’ But I like the brutality of the protea. There’s something nice and hardy about that plant. I’m going to do some banksias and slowly move through.
You have a baby at home - how do you find time to paint?
Yes, I have a son - little Harry. He’s nine months. But I have a home studio now. And my husband is amazing - he takes him the whole weekend, so I can get a bunch done, and my Mum comes in one day a week. I actually painted a whole bunch of protea paintings when he was three months old - I think it was the adrenalin...
Oh my goodness!
Yes, but then that wore off, and I crashed. But I try to pop in when he is asleep, or block out a day. He’s a pretty easy babe, so I’ve found it pretty manageable.
Have you always been a visual artist?
I’ve been painting full time since 2011/2012. I was in Perth, and then I moved to Sydney and opened a shop in Sydney on Oxford Street, in Paddington. I had a gallery there for a couple of years, and I also launched a gallery here in Fremantle [in WA], which is still open.
When did you move back to Perth?
About two and a half years ago. We bought a house, bought a pub up the road, and had a baby! Before all of that, I used to work in fashion. I studied fashion design and had a label for six years, and then I went to London for two years, and worked for [high-end designers] Christopher Kane and Richard Nichol, and made a lot of the garments for London Fashion Week.
What made you get out of fashion?
I realised I didn’t want to really be [there] anymore. I was painting to keep me sane in my tiny little apartment in London. I denounced everything fashion, came back to Australia and started painting for the fun of it. This was before Instagram, but when that started, I just started posting, and [my success] happened really organically. That was the best thing, because I really didn’t want ‘it’. I just wanted to paint. Which I think is really important. Because everybody now just wants the end result - they don’t really care about the process.
It sounds like you’ve been creative your whole life. How old are you now?
I’m 34, but I started my label when I was 19. I have always found it easier to generate my own income. And also, I’m a workaholic. While everybody in their twenties was out hanging out and getting drunk, I was at my sewing machine, going crazy!
Did you know Ronnie and Georgia before The Block? You’re all from Perth, right?
No. Georgia called me and was like, “We are from Perth and we have seen your work, and we have been following you for ages, and we would really love to put some of it on the show.’ It was really nice. We talked about different possibilities, and went through a few different options. And then I was like, ‘I do have this one…’I told her the size and she said, ‘That’s perfect.’
We love Georgia & Ronnie's taste in art... Seriously, so many beauotful choices...
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