Abbey Rich is a Naarm based public and exhibiting artist. They work predominantly in public space & community co-designed public art making. Their unique work is a burst of colour, pattern and warmth. We have been long time admirers of Abbeys work and are humbled to have them on the Journal. Read more about Abbey's work, inspiration and daily rituals below while being inspired by their vibrant home.
Images by Lara Cooper.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am a settler on stolen land and I’m a painter. I’ve been in the arts in Naarm since I was pretty young, starting with a little clothing label at the age of 20. 10 years on I’ve learnt a lot and I finally (almost) feel stable in a freelance career mostly just painting everyday. I’ve lived and had a studio within about a 500m radius in Brunswick for most of that time in different share-houses and now in a little apartment with my partner, Sam.
What is one of your essential daily rituals?
It changes depending on the project I’m on that day or week. When I’m on a mural I love the way I can jump out of bed at any hour somehow, not even the slightest bit tired. I’ll sneak into the living room so as not to wake my partner and sip my coffee while watching the sun start to fill the sky. I think painting is an essential daily ritual for me, I am calmest, happiest and most content when painting.
" At the moment I see a lot of what I read coming out in the work I’m making. It has always played a big part in my art making but I can see a more clear connection in it at the moment. There’s also nothing like a swim in the ocean to clarify where I’m going with work. "
Tell us about your practice.
I am a painter. Sometimes a sculptor and sometimes a designer. I like colour, I like collaboration and I love public space.
What is your favourite thing about where you live?
Proximity to small independent grocery stores, ability to ride everywhere and most importantly a central location that friends just drop in to and especially at the moment walking outside to see Palestinian flags waved outside car windows as they drive down Sydney Road.
Where do you look for inspiration?
A cliched answer, but, from everywhere. At the moment I see a lot of what I read coming out in the work I’m making. It has always played a big part in my art making but I can see a more clear connection in it at the moment. There’s also nothing like a swim in the ocean to clarify where I’m going with work.
Current favourite artist / maker?
Honestly this doesn’t change very frequently, I am still in love with the work of Joy Yamusangie, Olana Janfa and Raphaela Rosella.
What is your favourite thing to cook at the moment?
Cooking is one of my favourite things to do. Trying to recreate delicious dishes from Mexico is my go to. This year I’ve been trying to perfect a tortilla soup. But coming into summer I am excited for grilled peaches, big yum salads and cabbage charred on the barbecue.
What is your favourite VT item of clothing to wear & why?
I have had the crop sweater since they first came out and I live in it. It’s covered in paint and it’s the perfect thing to throw on, on chilly mornings when I’m painting a mural or in the studio. Lots of jumpers get in my way when painting and this one fits my body perfectly and lets me move with ease.
See more of Abbey's work here.