Meet The Artist: Carly Williams

“I believe that art can completely transform a space. It can absolutely show off the personality of the owner, it can create a mood, and enhance the overall look of a room. Art can be the starting point for an interior, or it can be the icing on the cake. Art is pivotal in a space, I can’t imagine a room without it.” – Carly Williams.

Could we possibly agree more? As Steph and I have graduated our own abodes from well put together ‘first homes’ (ahem, IKEA showrooms) into more considered, enduring spaces – art has become less about being the finishing touch and evolved to become the anchoring point from which we build each room.

And how lucky are we to have such a wealth of incredible artistic talent right here in Australia, including the divinely talented Carly Williams, who amongst many of Australia’s leading lights have been snapped up for representation by the interior lords of colour and joy – Fenton & Fenton.

It’s no secret that we’re bordering on obsession with Carly’s perfectly hued abstract pieces which have been spotted gracing the walls of a myriad of leading design projects (including my own home) thanks to their textural, earthy and completely unique aesthetic. We caught up with Carly to learn more about her inspiration, channeling her creativity and her own approach to interiors.

‘Before even thinking about the composition or design of a painting I always tease out a colour palette. Above all else, colour inspires me and once I have the foundation palette I move forward onto the layers.  Through the process I develop the composition, shapes and texture. My works contain multiple layers and are heavily textured and detailed. Due to the nature of my process sometimes the outcome evolves into something completely unexpected.’

Despite this organic approach to her work, the end result always delivers a look that is so distinctly Carly. Finding inspiration for her creative process is right at her fingertips, with the surrounds of her Daylesford hometown providing endless influence – with the defined seasons, kaleidoscopic landscapes and the heavily sky inspiring her evolving palette.

‘I find colour is my greatest inspiration - I try not to let interior trends influence my art. However, I do love some of the current interior palettes, but I’ll always twist it with a healthy chunky colour clash to give it an edge’

Once a set painter with an established career in the film industry, Carly’s passion for exploring her personal creativity was proving a constant distraction, which eventually led her down a destined path to immerse herself into the creative world as a full time artist.

“We were living in North Fitzroy at the time, and found ourselves drawn to the central highlands (Vic). We bought in Daylesford, it’s a beautiful creative community, and I haven’t looked back.”

With so much depth and beauty in her immediate surrounds, Carly turns to the mettle and structure of the city for pure escapism.

"There are two places I like to run away to fill up the creative tanks. I am drawn to the grit of the city, and linearity of city forms. The shapes and shadows of the CBD always blow me away. I also tend to spend a bit of time on the Surf Coast for some down time - to recharge the batteries, clear my mind and make plans for future works.’"

Both of these contrasting environments are so clearly evident in Carly’s work, with sharp geometric shapes sorted on the edges to create a kind of bespoke organic geometry, buoyed by palettes which conflict and contrast city like darkness against coastal lightness. 

You won’t have to look far to spot one of Carly’s pieces as she pops up near daily in our own Instagram feed, not to mention between the pages of Australia’s leading design mags every month. Given the enthusiasm for her art in the interiors world, it’s no surprise to discover that Carly’s own interior style channels into her art.

“I love to rearrange rooms and try new things within my space; different structures, textures, shapes and forms within my home create a boldness and confidence. This constant evolution of my style is really prevalent in my works, I just keep moving the shapes and colours around until it clicks. My home is the Carly Williams Gallery! I hang my works in my home all the time! It’s great to see how they work in a room before I send them out into the big wide world. So many photos on my Instagram are my paintings hung in different rooms in my house. I am a mad wall painter too, and I’ll repaint my interior walls in bold colours to see how my paintings work on different colours, and in different lighting.’ 

In the short time that we’ve been following Carly, we’ve already been witness to this constant shift and evolution and can’t wait to see what the future brings for one of Australia’s most talented young artists. 

Shop Carly's artworks at Fenton & Fenton or contact Carly directly to commission an artwork. 

Images by Amelie Stanwix / Dave Kulesz / Karen Bell / Fenton & Fenton