Art Edit was built on the idea of tying together art and interior design. In this issue we have commissioned interior stylist Alexandra Carter from Harlow + Willow to style a series of rooms directly inspired by an artist’s work. Art Edit (AE) talks to Alex (AC) about her design process, the story behind Harlow + Willow and her own art collection.
AE: Can you tell me a bit about yourself and how you ended up in interior styling and design?
AC: I am from New Zealand originally and moved to Perth from Melbourne a few years ago. I had an interesting road to interior styling and design. I worked full time in an accounts position for many years before following my passion for interiors. I completed a Diploma in Interior Design via correspondence while working full time, which made it even more special when I graduated. It has been an amazing experience and adventure. I wouldn’t say that it’s an easy industry to get into as a newbie, but through assisting other stylists I was able to get incredible experience and gain confidence in my skills. I have been able to work on some great projects for artists and, more recently, home photoshoots for magazines, which has always been a dream of mine!
AE: How did Harlow + Willow begin?
AC: The name Harlow + Willow actually came from a project that I completed during my diploma and it has stuck with me. I originally used it to create a blog sharing my projects and things I liked and then continued it as my business name for freelance styling.
AE: What is the design ethos of Harlow + Willow?
AC: It’s all about creating a fun and colourful interior that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s about playing with combinations of colour and pattern to create a unique space that reflects whatever the goal of that individual project may be. Although vibrant and playful, my projects always have an overall sense of calm, which is the space I most enjoy to play in. I’m not a fan of following trends and believe that if you surround yourself with things you love that make you happy, they will never go out of style.
AE: How important do you think art is in a home?
AC: I believe that art is the most important aspect to interior decoration. It sets the tone for the space and can be the base of all further styling. It shows your personality and has so much influence on the mood and energy of the space. There is nothing better than walking into a home where you can just feel the personality, and I believe art is a big part of that.
AE: What is your personal taste when it comes to art?
AC: I have a really varied taste in art. I love a mixture of abstract paintings, still life, photography and everything in between! I personally have a mix of everything in my home and it makes me so happy to be surrounded by work created by such talented artists everyday.
AE: Do you have a favourite project you’ve worked on recently?
AC: I would have to say a favourite is the campaign that I shot for Melbourne-based artist Kirsten Jackson. She is just a pleasure to work with and her art is so full of life and fun! We were able to create such different looks for the two projects I have since styled for her. It was a very cool and sentimental experience to work with her again.
AE: How important is viewing art in situ in a home rather than in a white wall gallery or online?
AC: I think it is absolutely crucial. Some people are able to visualise how things will look, but many need more to go off.
AE: What is one piece of advice you would give an art lover hanging work in their home?
AC: Consider the scale of the piece in comparison to the area it’s going in. I prefer artworks to be quite large and impactful. If you’re considering smaller pieces in a large area perhaps look at creating a gallery wall with multiple pieces.