Artist Spotlight on… Jackie Case

The Elephant In The Room

The Elephant In The Room

As the Melbourne Art Fair (13 – 17 August) gets in to full swing, thought I would share an interview with the witty, intelligent and incredibly talented Jackie Case, who is exhibiting at the Art Fair.  I sat down with Jackie a few weeks ago, and came away with so much more than I had bargained for.  Jackie Case is a Melbourne-based artist who specialises in intricately detailed fine drawings. I first saw Jackie’s work at the Canterbury Art Show a few years back and again this year.  I was so taken by her quirky detailed drawings I purchased one for my daughters room and plucked up the courage to ask Jackie for an interview.  It never ceases to amaze me how us women can just cut through all the crap.  There’s so much that can be gained from meeting people like Jackie. I’ve been thinking a lot about what Jackie and I discussed that day.   Jackie made me think, perhaps a little deeper than often I am required to, or was it that we discussed issues and topics I wouldn’t normally discuss?  Jackie is so open and refreshingly frank.  She’s intelligent, well travelled, passionate about so many things and is just so truly grateful to be in the position that she is in.  I just don’t often hear people say how truly grateful they are.  We all should, more often, but mostly we don’t.  We get caught up in life.  Perhaps the hours that Jackie spends concentrating on the incredibly fine details in her pencil drawings allows her mind to just be in that moment, whilst the rest of the world whirls around her.  This I found really interesting, as it’s this ‘stopping in your tracks’ effect that Jackie’s drawings have on you.  They are so detailed and intriguing, often in a quirky way that they just draw you in.  You can’t help but lean a little closer, linger a little longer and whilst you do – you are still. You are thinking of nothing else but those fine lines of the cheeky robin with his red cape.  The wrinkled skin on the elephants knees. Do elephants really have skin like that on their knees?, apparently they do.  The big doe eyes of the innocent girl staring back at you.  Truly beautiful, thought provoking and humorous. Jackie puts these emotions together so succinctly in her response to my final question, “I learnt how important it is to find something that makes you stop, and smile, and forget”.  

 Connect with Jackie Case via Facebook or visit her website

Jackie Case’s works are currently exhibited at the Melbourne Art Fair, Rebecca Hossack Gallery – London and New York and later in the year at Art for All (12-14 September, 2014) and Splash (Oct 17-19, 2014).

Coloured Trees

Fox with Glasses












Tell us about yourself/background.

I come from a large Melbourne family. My mother is very creative and artistic – she could make an uber cool Easter bonnet using a plastic bag and some crepe paper. My father was a dentist and had very fine motor skills. I think I inherited a bit of both.

Did you always want to be an artist?

Yes, and no. I really liked the idea of being an artist. As early as primary school, I had romantic ideas of living in Paris in a creative community of like minded souls. But I didn’t like the idea of being a ‘starving artist’. I love my food! I was deeply concerned how difficult it was to make any sort of ‘self supportive’ life in the arts. It wasn’t until year ten at high school that I discovered graphic design. It changed my thinking instantly. Here was my answer – I could get paid to be creative.

What path did you take after finishing school?

As wonderful as the theory component at my high school was, and an amazing building block for future study. My high school, at the time, didn’t offer graphics as a V.C.E subject.

Undeterred, I took what folio I had, and interviewed at every reputable T.A.F.E in Melbourne. I was very fortunate to be offered a place at a fantastic T.A.F.E. There, I literally worked my ‘arse off’. I was determined to get a Graphic Design Degree. Fortunately, all that effort did pay off, as I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Graphic Design from R.M.I.T.

What led you to where you are today?

However, by the time I finished university I felt a bit burnt by the whole experience. I just felt it all got too political and formulaic to a particular style of design. So I did what every young Australian does and went to Europe. For two years I lived as a ‘starving backpacker’ and had a wonderful time. I didn’t draw, but I did go to as many galleries as I could. I think I went to the Louvre four times – which was a huge expense at the time.

On my return I did end up working full time as a Graphic designer, specialising in web design and interactive technology. However, my computer screen was always covered in finger marks and I longed for something more tactile.

Then I picked up a pencil…

Arnold Schwarzenegger – of all people, stated in ‘Pumping Iron’ (hey – I have four brothers). Do something every day towards your goal. This is so true. If you want to be an artist, simply start drawing. Use what you have. Look at Jean Michel Basquiat. He drew on the walls, on doors, where ever he could. Make a point to work a little bit every day, step by step, towards this. Read, watch, go to exhibitions and learn. Once you ‘get over yourself’ and start to show your work, it does get a lot easier. And who knows what may happen.

Bunny in Orange 2

Bunny In Orange – currently hiding under my bed, awaiting a certain little persons birthday.














Can you tell us about your recent/upcoming exhibitions. Where was/is it being held? Dates? How you felt it went.

This year has already been very busy with with several group shows including Canterbury Art and my first solo show in Sydney with The Sweets Workshop, both wonderful experiences. I have more shows coming up, including The Lounge in August and feature artist at ‘Art for all’  and first time at ‘Splash’. I enjoy the challenge of every exhibition, but the one I am looking forward to the most is The Melbourne Art Fair 2014. 

How would you describe your artwork?

Probably the best way to describe my work would be ‘delicate’. It requires two types of pencil sharpeners and then I still have to hand file my pencils to get the point I need. All this effort and all it takes is too much pressure – ‘snap’. It’s really hard to replicate the quality. Scans don’t look very good at all, no matter what the resolution. I’ve started doing ink and pencil which look better scanned, but it is my pencil work which I guess I’m more known for.

Do you have an idea of what you are going to draw from the outset? Or do some pieces unravel once you start the process of putting pencil to paper?

Both. Sometimes I know, yes, I’m going to draw a bird, but during the process I might be thinking about birds flying and “hey – what if I put a little cape on this bird?” Or I might come up with a title which really works with the image I’m drawing and takes it in a whole new direction. My ‘elephants in the room ‘ definitely came from this type of thinking.

I Can Fly

Caped bird 2

Caped Bird










What does a typical day involve for you?

After the morning rush, which is a sloths pace as I’m not a morning person. I try and get down to my studio by 10. I have a massive table that is 3m x 1.5m, and it’s usually absolutely covered in ‘stuff’. You’d be amazed how much mess a 9cm x 6cm drawing can make! I’m also very good at procrastinating. I love it when I’m settled and drawing, but I can really fluff around, looking on the internet, day dreaming… drinking coffee.

Having the structure of exhibitions really keeps me focused. I do draw all hours of the day or night, and I find it hard to switch off. I truly believe being an artist is a lifestyle not a job.

Top 5 resources for inspiration.

1.      Walking Melbourne’s graffiti splashed cobblestone lane ways.

2.      Family and friends and the funny things they are interested in or say.

3.      Readings or other good book stores.

4.      Libraries – just to look around and pick up random books.

5.      You tube – I love watching documentaries, arts programs, music videos… anything until you end up in the ‘weird section’ again…

Which other local artists, designers or creative people are you liking at moment.

I really admire the work of Leunig. Occasionally I see him walking around Clifton Hill, he probably thinks I’m a stalker. I also love Ghostpatrol and have been following his work for years. He does the most amazing street murals and his style is instantly recognisable. Beautiful.

What are you looking forward to?

I am especially excited about having my work in ‘Melbourne Art 2014’. To have my drawings on display with the very best art around, is an honour and a thrill. Rebecca Hossack Gallery, chooses her artists with a sense of fun. This is very important to me too, to have a space which entertains whilst engaging. This compliments some of the more cerebral and confronting work. Life is really a mixture of both.

Favourite place to shop in Melbourne for:

Home wares:  The Works in Hawthorn. Great place to find reasonably priced home wares, and you can also get a super cheap coffee at the upstairs light filled cafe.

Clothes: Savers. Eco-friendly recycling. I love to find unique pieces and give them a second life.

Restaurants/cafes: Best coffee would have to be found at Basecamp in the Kew Junction. Hidden behind the main shops, but well worth looking for!

 What are 5 things most people don’t know about Jackie Case?

Jackie Case 2

1. Failed art in high school (Year 9) for being lazy. I told mum it was an ‘E’ for excellent. I don’t think she believed me.

2. I constantly get asked for directions. I mean literally every few weeks. The irony is I usually have no idea where I am. I mean, I know, I might be roughly in the city but I couldn’t tell you what street it was called – even the main ones!

3. In my spare time I like to write screenplays. I never send them out to anyone as I think they are probably rubbish. They range from cheap local stories, to huge block busters. The last thing I wrote was purely for fun and totally unfilmable. I was playing around with the idea of how intense fame is, and if it was possible, would people buy clones of their favourite celebrities. More interestingly, what would happen to these clones once they lost their popularity…? A world full of homeless Harry Styles? I gave it to a writer friend and she loved it, though comedic she was really moved. Still completely unfilmable.

4. I have an amazing super supportive network. I couldn’t do the work I do with out them. They have seen me go through the highs and lows of a creative life and always stood firmly behind me. So lucky!

5. The last one is difficult to write. We don’t use the same term here in Australia, in fact it has no name, but I come from (as The Americans call it), a ‘gold star family’. Through tragedy, I learnt how important it is to find something that makes you stop, and smile, and forget. Even for just a moment. If someone responds like this to any of my drawings then (to me) that piece is a huge success. I also find it enormously comforting to know that my little drawings are now dotted all over the world simply being enjoyed…

…And maybe that’s why I keep drawing my ‘elephants in the room’.

Some little extras:

On Painting: 

Jackie has what she calls her R & D department, where she experiments with different styles.  But generally she finds that the fine art drawing suits her lifestyle.  Jackie can leave what she’s working on, and pick it up later on when it suits.  Painting doesn’t afford you that flexibility, Jackie says.  You can’t just leave it.

On eyesight:

I just can’t believe how Jackie can get that incredibly fine detail from the ‘human eye’.  Does she wear glasses?  Have super-human vision?  Well, she has 20/20 vision I’ll have you know.  But she does wear glasses when she’s drawing. That makes me feel a little better. 

On drawing landscapes, or ‘not’ drawing landscapes.

Jackie feels that landscapes are without a real heartbeat.  The closest she has come to drawing a ‘landscape’ is ‘Moonface’ below left..

Jackie Case_Moonface

Jackie Case_Girl











On ‘comfort zones’:

Jackie exhibited at the 2011 Affordable Art Show, she was out of her comfort zone.  She stuck with the exhibition, getting on with it and pushing through a barrier of very deep emotion.  Through that Art Show Jackie was invited to exhibit in London and New York.  Jackie is now represented at Rebecca Hossack Gallery in London, and in New York.

In the beginning, getting a ‘break’:

Jackie had some works at a gallery in Melbourne, but it wasn’t on display.  It was placed in ‘sleeves’ out the back with many other works, and as a result didn’t sell as well as she had hoped.

Jackie was at Dench Bakers one day (in Fitzroy) and admiring the work of artists on the walls.  She approached the staff/owner and soon enough had her work up on those walls.  After the second day of Jackie’s work being on display half the works had already been sold.  

On patience: 

There’s only so much ‘patience’ we are given.  When our share runs out, the tank is empty and we need to find a way to fill it up again.  That might be through cutting yourself a break from the kids.  Getting outside. Painting. Whatever enables you to get back on track.  If only you could ‘buy’ patience, says Jackie.  Ahmen to that I say.


Song Bird


Saturday Spotlight on…Artist Anna Mulcahy

So today being Saturday is a very appropriate day to introduce the first post in my ‘Saturday Spotlight on…’ series for my humble little blog.  I thought I would kick it off with the personality that I guess is the catalyst for the series – that would be one Anna Mulcahy.  The series being; regular Saturday posts on emerging and established design and artistic talent that has caught my eye, inspired me, made me laugh, made me cry and whom I believe in as a talent and as a story to tell and share to a wider audience.   I hope you enjoy reading, discovering, perhaps revisiting and by all means leave a comment and let me know you’ve stopped by.

I first met Anna Mulcahy a few years ago now, when she came in to Maple Homewares in Balwyn.  Anna had brought some of her gorgeous Collage Crosses in to Maple, hoping to get her pieces in to some of the local homewares stores.  Anna is such a genuine, humble, warm person, and you know straight up that there is no BS – so refreshing.  She is a terrible salesperson though (and she won’t mind me saying that, she’d say it herself), you know she lives to paint and the thought of people paying for her passion I think, initially may have been a little challenging for her to comprehend.  She’s getting better at it.

Anna is one hell of a talented lady, creating detailed hand-made paper and mixed media collages.  She also creates dreamy, exotic backdrops for her collages and gorgeous detailed drawings.  Over time I have seen the changes in Anna’s work as she gains more confidence in her own abilities, and belief in herself as a ‘fully fledged’ artist.  Needless to say Anna’s work is now represented in some of Melbourne’s most popular homewares stores; namely Maple Homewares in Balwyn, Fenton and Fenton in Prahran, Curious Grace in Yarraville, Montebello Emporium and Sissy in Mt Eliza (about an hours drive from Melbourne). Anna’s work is so bright and colourful, I find myself drawn to every one of her pieces.  Her pieces evoke images of faraway places, places we’d love to go to but for whatever reason can’t quite get there.  It’s no surprise then than Anna draws much of her inspiration from past travels across Egypt, Israel and Morocco. I’ve seen Anna’s pieces in homes (mine included) take centre stage, they are so rich in their exotic palette and imagery that they bring a space to life and can do justice to the family that lives there.  Anna’s passion seeps through her pieces and in to the homes fortunate enough to have invested in her talent. 


Anna at Curious Grace Anna Mulcahy and ‘Azraq’ at Curious Grace in Yarraville

 Anna, tell us about yourself.  Did you always want to be an artist, and what led you to where you are today?

I was always good at Art but it wasn’t encouraged in a house full of professionals, therefore it was thought of by myself and my parents as more of a hobby.  20 years ago I painted my first piece and an interior decorator friend of mine saw it and sold it to her client for $500.00 unframed! So my art career began. Twenty years later I have managed to paint full time and as a single mum it has been a fantastic career as I could be at home for my babies.

Both your paper art and paintings are certainly gaining popularity. Is there a particular medium you prefer?

I love mixing it up. I paint abstract designs in acrylic paint and turn it into collages at the moment as they have been particularly popular.

How would you describe your artwork?

I would describe my art as global, colourful and very happy.  

Emerald City at Fenton and Fenton

 ‘Emerald City’ looking right at home amongst the eclectic mix of home wares at Fenton and Fenton in Prahran.  

Do you have an idea of what you are going to paint from the outset, or do some pieces unravel once you start putting brush to canvas.?

I have a pretty good idea before I start especially with collages as they have to be measured with precision although I often end up with a totally different piece than what was in my head to start with!


Aztec Blue at Curious GraceIMG_5251

‘Aztec Rose’, ‘Aztec Blue’, and below collage crosses – highlighting the precision in spatial arrangement and preparation that’s required.  

Collage Cross

Collage Cross 2











What does a typical day involve for you?

No such thing as a typical day! I paint when the creative urge hits which luckily is all the time. Sometimes 9 -5pm sometimes 9pm – 3am. I just go with it and have an Anna nap if I need too.


Anna at her studio in Glen Iris, painting the finishing touches to ‘Colonel Haiti’.

Top 5 resources for inspiration.

1. Travelling especially the Middle East

2. Everyday objects. A pretty outfit to a walk with the dog.

3. Interior and fashion trends

4. My mood

5. Doodling and playing with paints

Which other local artists, designers or creative people are you liking at moment.

So many fantastic artists out there. Two favourites are Jai Vasicek & Katie McKinnon  plus the Masters. Marc Chagall being a favourite

What are you looking forward to?

I look forward to more travel now the children are older. Morocco, Spain and Portugal are high on the wish list

Favourite place to shop and eat in Melbourne?

Homewares: Maple. Curious Grace. Fenton & Fenton and SISSY in Mt. Eliza

Clothes-  I buy it if I love it and it doesn’t matter where it’s from.

Restaurant – Amigos with the kids The Smith with friends Cafe Cucina or Stoke House for romantic dinner


Above – Anna’s ‘Persian Pink, ‘Emerald Medina’ and ‘Spanish Sunset’ and Jai Vasicek’s crosses (below) at one of Anna’s favourite stores (and mine),  Maple Homewares in Balwyn











What are 5 things most people don’t know about Anna Mulcahy?

There is nothing people don’t know about me. Pretty much an open book. I’m an optimist and passionate and I think very funny too, although my kids may disagree! I love my partner, kids and friends and am at my happiest painting.   A huge thank you Anna, for your time and for your ability to inject our homes with so much life and colour.   Lisa xx

FezCarbivale at Curious Grace

‘Fez’ at Fenton and Fenton, and ‘Carnivale’ at Curious Grace

Wasi DesertCollage

‘Wasi Desert’ and a gorgeous elephant collage – showcasing the extent of Anna’s creative talents.





What I’m Diggin’ Right Now

I’m back…let’s not go into how long it’s been, but a bit has happened, needless to say Live-Breathe-Style has had a bit of a freshen up and I have lots of awesome ideas, images and inspiration for you to enjoy. Let’s kick off with a roundup up of things that ‘I’m Diggin’ Right Now’.

light and rug I love everything about this space above. I came across this image on The Style Files and although I tend to go for a lot more colour, the textures, materials, height of the ceiling, scale of the furniture and lighting make it a truly captivating space. The Z1 Black pendant in particular caught my eye. I am a massive fan of Ay Illuminate design house based in the Netherlands. They work with beautiful natural materials to produce the most exquisite range of lighting, basket ware and ceramics. This pendant light is no exception.

The rug, another of my personal favourites, is a traditional Beni Ouarain carpet.  These are made by the Berber tribes of the North-Eastern Middle Atlas Mountains in Morocco. They were traditionally used as bedding to keep warm in the cold winter months.  These rugs, understandably fetch a fair price – upwards of $3000 for a decent sized Beni Ouarain.  Kinda out of our price range at this point in time, but I did notice that Freedom Furniture  have a very decent version of this rug, the Moroccan Boxes Floor Rug.  It is a combination of cotton and wool, but it actually looks pretty good.  Even better, it’s on special –  $379 for a 300cm x 200cm.  It might just get me by until I can fork out for the ‘real deal’. 

Coco and Milo


How gorgeous are these cushions? They are from a small homeware company called Coco and Milo.  They have a quirky, eclectic mix of cushions that feature on the  Made It online market. In particular I love the Handprinted Scandi Aztec cushion, that also comes in black with the gold fringe. 

pineapple lamp

Next on the list is this gorgeous bone china Pineapple Lamp from Have You Met Miss Jones. It featured in last weekends Sunday Age, ‘Home Style’ lift out.  It would be the most adorable, quirky addition to a child’s bedroom.  The lifestyle company Have You Met Miss Jones, continue to produce exquisitely crafted, interesting and unique products. They started out specialising in white bone china products, but have now expanded to include clay pottery, porcelain, wood, resin, recycled glass and lacquer.  Jump on their website and see all the quirky goodness for yourself.

teatowels gallery


One of my favourite Australian artists, Rachel Castle, has released a range of screen printed Tea Towels. There are 4 in the range and they are designed with the intention to frame and hang.  They are a limited edition (just 100 of each design), and a fantastic way to have a little piece of Rachel Castle in your home .  Rachel’s whimsical paintings, embroidery, screen prints and range of bedlinen is exquisite and she has a huge following in Australia and Internationally (deservedly so). Lucy Feagins from The Design Files posted a fantastic interview with Rachel, back in 2010, well worth a jump over. 

castle bedding

rachel 2

rachel 1


To finish off my little (big) list of things I’m lovin’, here’s a little fashion.  I’m still struggling with the fact it will be Winter in just over a month so I still managed to slip a few ‘Spring’ like pieces in there. Although considering I am one to wear thongs in the thick of winter (with a scarf, beanie and coat mind you) it’s probably not all that unexpected.

leopard loafers

Leopard print (or Ocelot if you are that way inclined) is still EVERYWHERE….scarves, bags, shoes, pants, jackets, coats, hats.  But for damn good reason.  It looks great with just about anything.  You can clash prints, or keep the rest of the outfit simple…it adds interest, colour and seriously for $50 (try Shopbop) these super cute Soludos look super comfy, and again – could be trotted out any season – gotta get me some of these.  With distressed denim, white T-shirt, you’re good to go. 

Milano and Arizona Birkenstock

Ahhh yes the old Birkenstock has made a comeback (did it ever go?).  The last pair I had traipsed all around Europe and were with me for quite some time thereafter. The ‘it’ sandal for Spring/Summer (and look Winter with a pair of woollen socks? Yes?) is the Birkenstock.  Yes it’s on trend, but sooooo comfy, so might just be jumping on that bandwagon once more.  The latest style being touted around town is the Arizona (in black or white….let’s go black for Autumn/Winter shall we?) .  

asos leather jacket

This brown leather jacket by Mango, a Spanish clothing company (available via Asos) looks amazing.  It’s REAL leather, and ON SALE (from $344 down to $223) BARGAIN. Autumn, Winter, Spring…..done.  I know the black leather bikers jacket is getting it’s fair share of publicity, but for me, brown leather fits the bill. Not as harsh, and perhaps a little more ‘versatile’ for my lifestyle (as a Mumma). 

free people jacket‘The Light Shining On Me Jacket’ jacket by Free People  is the perfect little jacket to throw on over boyfriend jeans or some ‘skinnies’ with a white T underneath.  Stunning during the day or night, this little jacket is on my list for spring.  It has crochet accents and a layered trim that gives it that edge. I love pieces like this, because as you look at it more closely you can see more and more detail.  An interesting piece that will get heaps of use. Tick.

Right o, I’ve broken the drought.  Looking forward to getting stuck into all things design, decoration, fashion and food….

Thanks for stopping by.

Art to brighten your Tuesday

What is it about a good pool or beach scene?  Is it the bright pops of colour adding an element of fun to a space? Or the memories of good times, or perhaps the promise of long lazy days spent not doing much at all.  Artwork effects an interior on so many levels – and having a positive effect on the individual that lives in that space is just one of them.  Here are some of my favourites below, and I hope they make your day just that little bit brighter.

Praia Piquinia by Christian Chaize

North Shore_1 by Shane Bowden

Pool Shot by Erin Curtis

Eden Roc Pool by Slim Aarons

A Massimo Vitali photograph hangs on the wall in Courtney Cox's Malibu retreat, image courtesy of Elle Decor

Refresh by Samantha French