Fiona Kain, NSW

What do you get when you mix art and cars? Artomobile. A quirky, unique mix of hand-painted pieces inspired by Sydney artist, Fiona Kain’s love of vintage cars. Bowerbird caught up with Fiona to find out more.

For those who don’t know, how would you describe your work?

Artomobile is described as hand painted cars on fine art paper, but there is quite a process involved… my paintings almost look like technical drawings, with the precise lines, white paper and monochromatic colours. My simple graphic representation gives it the signature look and I love incorporating traditional painting with digital techniques. All my paintings are initially conceived on my Mac, using Adobe Illustrator. I then print the outline onto beautiful fine art paper and the rest is hand-painted, using acrylic paints. The only major headache with this approach is that ANY spilt paint can mean starting ALL OVER AGAIN! And this has happened on more than one occasion…

How did the artomobile journey begin, what is your story? Who or what inspired you to begin in your field?

I love what I do and have enjoyed the colourful journey it has taken me on. Growing up in Melbourne, I went to art school, followed by another change which saw me move to Sydney and complete a Masters in Design.
Artomobile was first conceived in Hong Kong in my studio in downtown Sai Ying Pun, amongst the chaos of the dried fish markets, and matured into a business a few years later in Singapore where it was first launched at a design fair.
Artomobile grew out of a love for the design of vintage and classic cars; I have always loved the look and aesthetic of the classic car. It all stems from being driven around as a child in several of the classics that still exist today. While my father died when I was 12, some of the fantastic cars we were driven in (’63 EJ Holden, ’62 Valiant S Series, ’61 EK Holden) provide fond family memories. Cars draw memories of people, places and childhood. Cars represent a time and place and evoke memories of journeys past

What’s a typical day like for you?

Up early and off to the gym – have to get that out the way, before I find excuses not to! If only I didn’t love chocolate so much… I live in an awesome warehouse, so my studio is at home, so no need to get angry in Sydney traffic before my work day begins.
The beauty about drawing cars is there is always another one on my list to draw. Depending on the week, I normally have a painting week or a drawing week.
Drawing is the most time-consuming…but if it’s painting week, that’s the fun week! I normally paint anywhere from 6 -10 paintings at a time.
The work day pauses at around 6.30pm, where I start cooking dinner for the troops! But drawing cars can be absorbing and last well into the evening…

Which other designers are you looking forward to seeing at Bowerbird?

As this is my first time at Bowerbird, I’m really excited to meet my fellow stallholders. I’m a sucker for a great story behind the product or creative process, such as Winestains, with their recycled wine barrels or Wood Duck Press and their bespoke letterpress. I’m also looking forward to seeing the illustrations of The Nonsense Maker. It’s hard to control my own spending at these events when surrounded by such beautiful products…

What’s your favourite piece of your own work that will be available at Bowerbird?

I normally paint something special for each market. For Bowerbird, I have been working on a piece which is near and dear to Australian motoring history – The Chamberlain 8.
I will also have some fun cars I have been drawing, like the 1966 and 1989 Batmobile and The DeLorean, plus plenty of Aussie classics including the Type 2 Kombi. But my most favourite piece is always the one which is yet to be discovered through conversations with clients on gems hidden in garages or memories….

What advice would you give other aspiring artists and designers?

Love what you do; it’s a gift!

Perseverance, perseverance, perseverance… And did I mention, perseverance…? Stick to your guns and be true to your creative process. Listen to others and take on board what feels right. If you feel it’s not right, then it probably isn’t – trust your gut!

Inspiration can be found in the most unlikely places and from the most unlikely people…





Posted on October 5, 2017 in Design, illustration/artworks, Stallholders

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