Casey Burrill would sometimes imagine herself creating artworks within the walls of her very own professional studio with the music turned up loud.
It was an enticing thought for the talented creative as she worked to bring her vivid acrylic paintings to life from a makeshift studio in the hallway of her home.
But now, as the unpredictable year that was 2020 comes to a close, the 33-year-old is poised to make her dream a reality with the opening of a working studio on Pearl Street in Torquay.
The space is due to open after Christmas, initially as a pop-up for six months, and will be home to a studio, gallery and workshop area.
It will be a welcome change of pace for the well-regarded artist and mum-of-three who this year combined her artistic pursuits with a part-time teaching role.
While she adores teaching art and music to primary school students, Casey feels the time is right to be fearless and direct her energy toward her love of creating art and bringing one-off commission pieces to life.
“It is where my passion is and where my energy lies,” the Grovedale artist says.
“I’ll be focussing on working with clients and building up commissions, as well as my online store and conducting workshops.
“I also want to get involved with local initiatives.
“It is my studio but I do want to have that community element to it and I look forward to partnering with people who are like-minded and have similar values.”
Casey will host everything from school holiday classes through to abstract workshops, with a focus on giving people the freedom to explore different mediums and materials to their heart’s content.
“I think that’s what people want when they first start because they often don’t know where to start,” she says.
“It’s about giving them the tools and having a table with all the materials laid out.
“Instead of buying them all, they can come in and just trial whatever they want and get a feel for what resonates with them.”
Creativity came naturally to Casey who is from a family of accomplished artists and musicians.
Her own children, Lexi, 10, Mika, 4, and Otis, 3, are all musical and artistic in their own ways.
Casey was singing before she could walk and her world was always filled with song, dance and colour.
“Music was my first love and there is a really strong parallel with music in my work,” she says.
“I’ll use someone else’s words here but my work has been described as being like a jazz piece with the movement it has.
“I want that really organic look – there is no structure to it, it’s very loose with lots of movement lines and lots of layers.”
Her sought after work is abstract, intuitive and energy driven.
A vivid use of colour and textural marking techniques are integral to her signature style, mixing paints on cardboard before scraping on the first layers.
Large brushes are used to add the finishing touches and subtle touches of gold leaf are sometimes applied.
Casey, whose art is sold through Fenton and Fenton in Melbourne and Kira & Kira on the Gold Coast, says her at-home studio is always filled with the sounds of her favourite jazz playlist and that won’t change with the move to Pearl Street.
“Although, I think I’ll have to rein in the mess because at home there are tarot cards scattered on the floor, cardboard, crystals and big oversized canvases I move between,” she laughs.
Casey says working with Fenton and Fenton was the realisation of a long-held ambition and she hopes to do more with them in 2021.
“They really gave me a foot in the door and I’ve had some awesome opportunities with them,” she says.
“It’s allowed me to connect with other artists who have the same drive and thought processes.
“I also love that it is women opening up doors for other women.”
She also collaborates with fellow artist Rebecca Kate on Paint Smoothie – a project bringing artists together to fundraise for charities through online auctions.
While Casey cites abstract impressionist artist Jackson Pollack as someone she admires, her earliest inspiration came from her Pa, the late Tasmanian watercolourist Ted Burrill.
She vividly remembers sitting beside him at the age of five, marvelling at his skill and soaking up the sights and smells of his studio.
“The fact that he was proudly an artist and had a studio under his house was amazing to me,” she recalls fondly.
“One day I remember saying to him ‘can you draw me a crystal and a cat?’ and I was just so impressed how he could draw on the spot.
“I didn’t realise at the time what an imprint that moment had on me.”
That early connection to someone who saw the world in a visual way continues to inspire Casey to this day.
“In a way the next year is like me coming back to who I am which is a really nice feeling,” she says, smiling at the thought.
“I’m looking forward to having time for commissions but also experimenting and branching out.
“Being in a new space hopefully brings new ideas.”
Casey Burrill Art will be open by appointment at 18 Pearl Street, Torquay. For inquiries email [email protected] and follow her journey on Instagram @caseyburrillart_ and @paint_smoothie