NICO At Home with Elke Steen

How was the shoot for you? 

Being in lockdown in Sydney it was a welcome creative project. A few years ago I would have found shooting in underwear very daunting, but since starting pole dancing for exercise I have built up to being comfortable and confident in my body. I recommend it to anyone who will listen.  My husband Tommy took the photos, directed heavily by me which I'm sure was very annoying, but he was a good sport. Of course our dog Truman had to be involved as well.  

What does self care look like for you?

To me self care is creating a lifestyle where you prioritise things that make you feel good. Even when I am super busy with full time work and art projects, I love to do some form of exercise every day, cook a yummy and filling dinner that we sit down and eat together, and make time for creative projects just for me. And also to allow myself treats and to splurge and not feel bad about it!

Tell us a little bit about your art practice?

I have been drawing flowers and trees since I was young and have always been fascinated with natural forms. I love to paint in vivid and clashing colours, natural and unnatural. There is nothing better than playing with colour and I love to create pieces that brighten up a space. 

Where do you find inspiration?

I love to find inspiration in small things and am always taking photos of peoples gardens and collecting things I find out and about- shells, flowers, rocks, pods, sticks etc. I can't stop drying flowers which I find fascinating. Our house is full of this stuff which I try and squirrel away.  I also love to find inspiration looking at other Australian artist's work, 1970s interior design for the colour combinations, nature and travel photography and botanical drawings.

Do you find that your art informs your personal style, from your approach to colour to expressing yourself creatively when you dress?

I think style is very creative and fun and says a lot about a person. I am exclusively attracted to colour and when I'm getting dressed I'm looking for the most unusual and harmonious colour combinations, just like in my artworks. I like to have fun with getting dressed, and try different combinations (whilst avoiding a "malfunction" where you get stuck on what to wear). Sometimes you can revive something old by pairing it with something different, so I often do this when I feel like buying something.