Art and Design Collide in a Maverick Manner

Perth Weekly Magazine, June 2001, Ingrid Jacobson

Art and Design Collide in a Maverick Manner

LUXURIOUS faux fur throws are artfully draped over a custom-designed leather lounge, while jewel-coloured solk cushions in myriad shades shimmer and shine. On the wall, a tribal queen version of the Mona Lisa casts an enigmatic smile over an amazing gallery space which promises to redefine the way West Australians look at art, architecture and interior design.

Maverick, a New-York-style gallery-cum-studio, combines art with interior design against a canvas of collective creativity.

Its backdrop is an old Jolimont warehouse which has been converted and revamped using viivid colours, art and funky furniture in shabby chic style.

With five artists, an interior designer and a ceramist working from the premises, the gallery offers endless inspiration to those looking to put verve and expression in their home.

Which is what artist Jos Myers and interior designer Vicki Millar intended when they saw their long-term dream turn into a reality.

After years of talking about forging a venture together, Maverick was born after Jos, artist Julie Weekes and ceramist Susy Munro rented the old warehouse as a gallery.

At the time, Vicki was not ready to invest in the partnership but later decided to move her interior design business, Aboda Design for Living, into the space.

Jos and Vicki then formed a fledgling homewares label called Dugite-Mad as a Cut Snake.

The name Maverick-which, according to the dictionary, means unauthodox and unbranded-reflects the pair’s own dynamic, left of centre approach.

Jos, whose work hangs in homes both locally and averseas, had long yearned to set up a gallery where everybody could feel welcome to browse.

A self confessed commercial artist, whose latest project is the art for Sam Newman’s new Melbourne beachside restaurant, the Baths in Brighton, she believes art should be accessible to all.

“I have always found a lot of art galleries to be to stuffy.”

“I think many traditional galleries put off people who would otherwise love to buy and own original art, but may feel a bit intimidated by the atmosphere”.

“We wanted to create a really laid-back atmosphere where people could feel comfortable browsing, where there was a bit of fun”.

Vicki, known for her dramatic and imaginative design, has always envisaged a place where there was no clear line between art and design.

Swathes of fabric boasting cutting-edge labels such as Carlucci di Chivasso, Jay Smith, Metaphors and Mokum and colourful collections of laminates and swatches take on surreal appeal in the eclectic studio space.

Examples of Vicki’s work, including her own furniture design and photos of the beautiful houses she has helped bring to life, add further character.

“It makes so much sense to combine art with interiors and homewares,” she said. “Many of my clients want to include art in their homes and being able to have everything under one roof is a boon for them. And here they have the work of five, very different artists to choose from.”

Along with Jos, Julie and Susy, artists Karen Blanford, Shannon Hamilton and Michael O’Connell have set up working studios in the big warehouse space.

Susy’s colourful studio doubles as a shopfront.

Exhibiting artists so far include sculptor Ben Juniper and artists Gavin Pound and Helen Norton.

Jos is also keen to encourage younger artists to exhibit, having already welcomed Yr 12 Scotch College student John Doddemeade, whom she described as “highly talented”.

She stresses that while she has a decidedly commercial bent to marketing her own art, her approach dies not necessarily reflect her colleagues who each have their own individual philosophies.

Jos and Vicki are working together on their Dugite Label, which includes a range of Thai Silk Sari Bed linen and revamped retro furniture.

Jos and her fellow artists are also gearing up for an exhibition on November 31 to raise money for the North Cottesloe Surf Club.

In many ways, the words smudged on the vivid tribal queen painting, which is a Jos original, could be applied to this exciting new business: “Whatever you give, you will receive but whatever you take, you will never possess.”

Maverick is located at 2 Bishop Street, Jolimont, and is open Monday to Friday, 10am -3pm, Saturday and Sunday, noon-4pm.