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PechaKucha Talk

On the 19th of Oct 2022, I was invited to do a Pechakucha talk; here in Cairns. It was pretty exciting to talk about my creative history and how it has evolved. So here is the talk


I am a painter, milliner, potter, textile artist, and illustrator, all alongside being a fashion and uniform designer.

I must have a bit of Asperger’s, having no desire for drinking or parting. Instead, I want to create all night long.

Geraldton is my hometown, a small country town where the locals are known as “Gero Dero’s”, where there was no fashion, art, or culture.

As a kid, I passed the days pumping petrol with my roller skates on, re-potting plants in my dad's nursery and sewing clothes on my grandmother’s sewing machine.

The best thing for me was to leave and start a fashion design course.

Winning a trip to Hong Kong for fashion week was terrific, where there were 12 long lanes. Each lane was a fabric or haberdashery item. From a little town with no fabric or haberdashery to a city with millions of buttons was excellent.

The main image is three photo images photo-shopped together. I remember my photographer saying it couldn’t be done.

Photoshop was new, and no one did anything like this: cut three images and rearrange them into one photo. I eventually convinced him, and together, we made it work. The location is in Perth of an actual glass house in a wholesale garden centre. My dad and I used to visit to collect plants for the nursery in Gero.

A primary school teacher friend once dreamed I was Sleeping Beauty.

It’s not unusual for my fingers to be bleeding from hand sewing or for my hands to tolerate steam burns from a piping-hot industrial iron that would have my husband swearing out profanities when he was brave enough to iron with it.

My staff from my bridal days still talk about Allure Couture—the name of my bridal shop. One employee said.

I knew we were making unique gowns, but I had no idea how amazing they were.

One of the dreams I had for a very long time when designing bridal was...

Karl Lagerfeld was going to ring me up and said, in his broken English.

“Hi, Luisa. Come and design with me for the next Chanel collection”,

I would meet his cat, talk shop all day about design and get the following collection ready for Paris fashion week, all while making a couple million.

But Alas, he went and died on me!

And I never got the blooming call.

After seeing paintings painted 100s of years ago, I realised not much has changed for women; we will still paint our faces and pull our hair back with flowers. It’s interesting to see this old oil painting has more detail than a modern-day photo of me—a time when we looked at people and not at screens.

Myer on your front lawn emerging millinery designer awards.

Never made a piece of millinery before and thought I would give it a go.

I made it to the finals with tickets to go to Melbourne Cup for my model and me.

It's essential to be able to photograph your work well. So, I invested in a good camera. It helps work out what makes a good composition for a painting.

For my Sea Of Faces exhibition held at the Tanks, I went to the aquarium to study fish and take their colours into human portraiture. Painting fish is hard work; they are fast little buggers and often swim off before you can get much detail down.

Fish are not just fish. I quickly learnt they have personalities; you see them get bullied, make friends, and have routines.

Picking up work where you can is essential to being an artist. Working at the opening of the Cairns esplanade was a unique opportunity where I did quick ink portraits of people passing by.

While I haven’t sold a couture gown since arriving in Cairns 7 years ago.

The gowns I made for the Myer Melbourne Cup Emerging Designer Awards 2020 and 2021. have both been selected in the top 10 finalists. I use these gowns to help me gain publicity.

Finding employment as an artist requires a lot of creativity. This is where my illustrated Paper fashionistas (fashion Illustrations) were born for the spring racing carnivals; these take me all over the state, Laura, Charters Towers, Brisbane Racing, Cairns Amateurs, fingers crossed to Melbourne Cup one day.

I have followers that collect every year; they are lovely as a gift for someone with everything or a unique present. l love hand-delivering them to see the delight when they are seen for the first time.

My collectors and supporters are as diverse as I am.

Many started out buying small pieces of my art, and their collections grew once they got to know me.

This allows a little artist like me in Cairns to keep on painting.

During Covid, I had to get inventive, and Art Classes were born. Kids' Birthday parties are so much fun. The kids are so proud of their work. I encourage each person’s painting not to look like their neighbours, which helps create an individual style.

Photoshop is a new skill and essential for creating posters, greeting cards and limited-edition prints. It has opened new possibilities. One day I hope to see my work on a wine label or cosmetics brand.

While I didn't get a phone call from Karl, I got the next best thing: a call from Crystalbrook Bailey asking me if I would be interested in showcasing some dresses and art in the foyer.

Then The Benson Hotel reached out, and I will be doing the fashion Illustrations for their Melbourne Cup event in 2022.

Painting 2D portraits enable me to have a good understanding of facial proportions. Sewing is 2d into 3d, and combining the two is a beautiful marriage for pottery.

In 8 months, I have won three state and one national award.

I started out creating exquisite gowns, which have now evolved into organic free-form sculptures that are pretty ugly, but they have their beauty.

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