Sydney-based multi-disciplinary artist and RUSSH magazine contributing editor, Kitty Callaghan, showcases her edits for the spring season, discusses creating during the city’s extended lockdown, as well as her inspirations and what she's looking forward to as Sydney starts to open up.
Photographs by Kitty Callaghan & Ellen Virgona
Interview by Elyse Aparo
If anyone knows a thing or two about creative self-expression, it’s Kitty Callaghan. Usually splitting her time between Sydney and Paris, the talented multi-hyphenate started experimenting with collage at a young age.
“It started in my bedroom as a kid” she told us, “my walls were always covered in images from magazines and drawings, blu-tac was my go-to tool to collate all the things I cherished. It was always just a hobby until I worked for fashion label Ellery in my early 20’s and my boss Kym commissioned me to make prints for one of her collections.”
Since then, Kitty’s work has graced the pages of Vogue Italy, Elle Australia, Harper’s Bazaar and Australia’s RUSSH Magazine where she is a contributing editor, but she is most widely known for her collages.
Her vibrant work seamlessly fuses the worlds of contemporary art and fashion, exploring abstraction, surrealism, and often the female form.
We caught up with Kitty to see how she’s kept inspired during Sydney’s extended lockdown, what she’s looking forward to as the city prepares to open up, her vintage-infused style, and her upcoming collaboration with Neuw.
“I find inspiration every day in books, music, and obscure and random found imagery.
I’ve really enjoyed getting into a bunch of new podcasts that are interesting, inspiring or funny for a laugh. My new favourites are arts-based podcast, Magic Hour out of New York, The Midnight Miracle by Dave Chapelle, Talib Kweli and Yasiin Bey. It’s a good way to laugh, feel inspired or learn something new from contemporary artists across many disciplines. If I have been flunked for inspiration I would (pre-lockdown) visit a favourite bookstore and browse the art section. My favourite bookshop in Sydney is Cross Books.
"During lockdown, things have looked a little different for me. I’ve been starting most mornings with a long walk and a swim at Bronte ocean pool, it’s a beautiful start to the day that I am so grateful for!"
"I’ll then head home to work on either personal collage or photography work, editing photos or pieces for RUSSH Magazine where I’m a contributing editor. I’ve been watching films in the evening and trying to keep in touch with friends and family in lockdown. If it’s the weekend, I will try to work on personal works and reading or take some time away from work, social media, and the news, entirely to enjoy the beautiful weather we’ve been having here in Sydney lately."
I hope to see as much art and music as possible after lockdown – things that we usually have on offer in our city that, maybe, in the past I took for granted.
There have been so many amazing shows postponed or cancelled in both art and music; either that or they opened right before the lockdown and have (been) hanging in an empty room for the duration of the exhibition! For example, the incredible works of Hilma Af Klint at the Art Gallery of NSW, the show was in planning for many years. It’s crazy that all the work that went into it was not able to be seen for much of the time it was slated to be open, works flown across the world, some of which have never been seen before.
"My style has changed a lot since the Pandemic, so I’m looking forward to wearing all the pieces that have been hiding in the cupboard over the past year."
"I love wearing a mix of vintage and new pieces, probably leaning more into the vintage side, whether it’s from a second hand designer consignment store or Vinnies and I’ll add new pieces into the mix, too."
"I absolutely love wearing the Nico Straight in the Total Blackout wash."
What I love most about it is the vintage feel to the wash.
"My style is a mix of masculine and feminine and I love to wear colour, as well as black and denim."
I’ll style it with a vintage shirt and coat or jacket, or maybe a silk blouse in summer with a chunky sandal. Denim is always a staple for me, and I love wearing trousers and pants, and have too many suiting blazers to count.
The most exciting thing on the horizon is the collaboration I’m working on with Neuw Denim!
I’m also focusing on learning medium format photography so I am very excited to get better at that as it’s a very exciting way to shoot and has its challenges which will allow me to build my technical skill set. I had a show at China Heights the week before lockdown, I hope to do another show next year.
In a professional sense, I think it has been to make art for myself and no one else.
It sounds corny; to stay true to myself and to be gentle on myself, especially in the past year when faced with uncertainty.
My work might not be for everyone, and that’s ok. Another piece of advice I am still yet to master, now more than ever, is that success is only one part creativity and hard work more than anything else.