Welcome to The Mess Makers Series, where we take an intimate look inside the lives of Aussie creators, inspirers and side hustlers.

Vol. 2 Marnie McKnight

Vol. 2 Marnie McKnight

Marnie is known for her abstract oil on canvas paintings which are primarily inspired by the Australian land and seascapes.
Marnie made the move to Australia from Ireland over 20 years ago, now her & her family call Sydney home.
Hi Marnie! This series is called The Mess Makers. What is it that you make?
I paint artworks, mainly on canvas with acrylics or oils and am best known for my abstract works featuring splashes of gold leaf.

You have created some incredible art over the years, what has been your favourite piece?
My personal favourites to work on are abstract portrait works which often are created at challenging moments in my life. “Looking For The Sun” was painted while living through an intense time of personal awareness and acknowledging the importance of sunlight and hope in my life.

How have you traversed 2020? What have you lost, gained and learned?
I feel like we have been moving to a more simplified life this year - living in close quarters, shopping local more often, spending time (either online or IRL) with the most important people in our lives.Although we have temporarily lost the ability to visit family overseas, I have gained the certainty that this is exactly where I am meant to be. One of my kids said that it has been the best year of her life because she got to spend much more time with us as a family unit, and that gives me so much pleasure - even if she drove me up the wall at times.
I know that you have chosen to cut down on social media, do you find it affects your creativity as well as your time?
I decided to pull back on social media as it was eating into my creative time, and also because I became aware that it was affecting my mood. I felt like it kept demanding more and more input which was exhausting me and in turn made me feel less like picking up my paintbrush. What started out as a three day break has now been a five week detox. I will need to return to Instagram because it does drive a lot of my business, but I am imposing strict rules on myself in regards to time and energy and keeping it simple.

You’ve said that you “followed the sun” here to Australia and also that the ocean influences your art. Have you always felt so connected to the environment and nature?
Growing up in Ireland, I always felt somewhat disconnected, like I belonged somewhere else. Luckily, I was able to move to Australia where the environment feels so dramatic - the massive skies, the dynamic ocean and the chaotic bush land make for endless inspiration and has ignited a deep awareness and respect of nature in me.
How does your home reflect your personality?
Our home is a work in progress, which is a perfect reflection for us as a family! We are renovating it ourselves bit by bit and are falling more in love with it as it becomes more and more an expression of ourselves. We have a variety of art on the walls, a lot of items picked up from our travels and heaps of cushions. Paradoxically, I am quite ruthless in regards to what we need and as each room is developing, I am simplifying it so hopefully it will become less of a jumble and allow the true personality of the room to shine. 

What are your favourite pieces in your home?
I love antique timber boxes, and the walnut chest in the TV room is a favourite - my parents bought it for me in the US. I also have a small timber box made of the most beautiful wood which was the first piece of furniture that I picked up in Australia. You just can’t buy things like that any more, and I found it at the side of the road the week we moved here! 

I hear you have branched out into prints and fabrics; will you keep exploring these avenues?
Part of my simplifying my life is to concentrate on what I really love - and for me, that is the process. I love the physicality of painting and the satisfaction of completing a new piece, and although creating prints and fabrics makes sense financially, it doesn’t satisfy me creatively so I will be sticking with only pursuing original art right now.

Can you share a favourite recipe/hot tip/local haunt?
Favourite local coffee shop: Revolution, Como.
Visit Marnie's website to view and purchase her pieces.
Take a look at Marnie's Instagram @marniemcknightart & give her a follow!

Stay tuned for our next Mess Maker!


Leave a comment

Don't forget to check out our other Mess Makers features: