Growing up among the green rolling hills below the Illawarra escarpment on the NSW South Coast, mixed media artist, Katrina O’Brien, was inspired from an early age to write and draw stories of her life. As a teenager she began to create semi-surreal works by combining text and abstract markmaking in her practice.
She truly found her visual language while completing an Advanced Diploma in Fine Arts at the West Wollongong TAFE Art School in the early 2000s. There she was able to hone her skills in drawing and painting and found she loved to experiment with the two mediums. “My art practice usually takes the form of drawing, painting or collage. I especially enjoy using ink on paper and I love with the way ink soaks in yet can also be washed back, allowing me to create many layers. Ink and paper are such a beautiful match,” explains Katrina.
Katrina sees her works as the landscapes of her inner monologue. “What interests me is the unseen, what is underneath the surface. Human behaviour, what is truly real about a person and what makes a person tick are the things we can’t touch or hold,” says Katrina. “My works are an expression of a thought, an emotion, darkness and light, finding the beauty in chaos.
“My works are always escaping the edges. Like a seed, they grow. They flow into other works; they sail away in search of peace… or chaos. They run and hide; they stand tall and speak loudly where I cannot. They whisper my secrets, they echo my thoughts, they speak my life. Drawing, for me, is a dance with the paper.”
Katrina O’Brien works from her studio in Wollongong, NSW, Australia.