Affectionately known as a scientist of colour, Bonnie Gray's work is like no other. Based on the Central Coast, Australia, her paintings are an explosion of abstract colours, symbols and words.
In this interview we chat to Bonnie about finding your originality, morning routines and always taking time to write, create, enjoy and laugh.
Hi Bonnie, welcome to the Woman Of Series! Can you tell us what it is you create?
Thanks for having me sweet ladies this is so lovely to be invited to this space of encouragement.
I would say there is a sweet combination I have collected on my humble journeys of life that has created this large pink cream cake of colours, I would use the term a recipe, I feel quite confident in cooking. It’s taken me a few years to get each layer and nail a clear direction and originality.
So with a touch of song writing, a sprinkle of processing life through poems and sketching, watching the beauty of love expressed and fought for in relationships, creative journeys to Paris and the south of France, a collection of photography, capturing colour palettes from landscapes, seas, people and the French language. All of these combined has created this tall cream strawberry cheese cake.
I would say my art is a dusty pink French kissed sunrise palette, all but a poetic love song like a window on a wall to simply sing and remind couples the love they choose everyday for themselves, each other and their family.
Q2: How did you break into the industry? And how do you continue to create a point of difference?
Wow it has been such a sweet space this journey. I have felt pretty blessed with the doors that have opened in my life in this sphere of art I get to call work. When Instagram was just for personal sharings it was untapped from the use of business and artists so I was encouraged by a family member to create a gram for art and share in excellence through imagery and styling etc my work as if it was a exhibit people walk through.
From there I have had some incredible opportunities through this one space. It has been a portal of miraculous wonder. I am forever thankful for this little app that has been a bridge way to many wonderful people, clients, jobs and opportunities.
Q3: Can you give us a snapshot of your creative process?
The creative process starts with a morning coffee in hand, a social catch up in my local cafe of love, ocean wonders sitting in my car ’’what a view’’. I’m quite a spiritual human. Peeps would say the term Christian haha but I love a good chat with creator and this aligns everything for me creatively and as a woman learning in life always. I get a lot of inspiration in all these morning rituals.
I head back into the studio, play Billie Holiday, sit with a client's love story and the details they send through. I sketch out symbols and a language I have created over time that represents their story. The colour palette is the next step, I layer my canvases, like I said before like a cake, there are so many layers, it makes it look intriguingly mountainous like the south of France. I layer with my dance and grooves, symbols and stories. The light hits the paintings and each time of day the paintings no joke change colour like a sunset or sunrise.
After the painting has felt right to finish I sit with the piece and write a poem. Something a little extra special I like to hide in an envelope at the back of each clients artwork I create. Each client gets the sketches as well of my process and what the symbols mean. It’s a journey for sure and takes a lot of time but I know it's worth the time and love for a sweet love reminder. Faith, hope and love, and the greatest of them all is love.
Q4: We’re noticing more and more individuals and businesses creating intentionally. Do you believe it is important to have a message behind what you do, and if so, what is this to you?
Yes yes yes so much capital YES in that for sure. It’s so easy to just follow a fad or a cool idea. People are really wanting something authentic, wholesome and pure. It’s the nature of our hearts to look for something real, true and beautiful.
That’s why we plan holidays to see beauty to be reminded of purpose and hope. I think as designers we capture things and share to the world our findings and if we lose our message and copy and follow others we simply have become beige. We lose our own personality for the sake of money, fame and just to do something out of insecurity.
Finding your personal originality takes time, patience and care. You can't rush a field of flowers to grow. You get to chose what you plant and what you let flourish. You have to be intentional with what perfume and colour you feel true to be your most honest self in your business. You have one life to live don’t waste it on copying someone else or doing something you deep down hate and don’t like but for the crowds.
Q5: What has been the biggest lesson in your journey so far?
The biggest lesson has been really taking ownership of how much work I work and how much play and community I dive my personal life into. When your work grows and people love the originality of your design and the growth gradually grows, your time gets taken ahaha so I have become so aware of the balance of knowing when my body needs boundaries to let my heart be a young woman and enjoy the beauty of friends, travel, family times, being more present in conversations then day dreaming ideas all the time and being in art world.
I am quite a dreamer and always blessed with heavenly ideas thanks to my morning banters in the spiritual sense of God. I lean always on wanting to be apart of creating and pioneering new spaces and ideas ‘’not copying people’’, to share messages of encouragement that the world needs currently is exciting to be apart of creatively.
I'm a big believer to always be lead by passion, joy, peace and excitement and yes there are days I don’t feel any of this but I simply remind the why behind what I do. This always takes me back to the humble moment and reminder that my art is bigger than me, it's not about me but a bridge way to hearts and people that need love and encouragement.
This has been a big one that sets me ablaze again and helps me flow back into momentous momentum creatively.
Q6: With this in mind, what is your big hope and dream for your work?
Wow big question. I think creating exhibits and new works around cities in Australia and overseas throughout Europe would be the ultimate. Art does wonderful things and it truly gathers people together and the people I have met because of it is simply golden.
Creating hope songs and melodies through colours is the dream I would love people to eat from and leave encouraged. The dream is to see this in person and maybe just maybe have a rental one day holding my works. But what city? That the exciting part.
Q8: What are your top 3 superpowers?
Ohhh sisters mmmmmmm let me have a think ahaha.
I’d say creativity, playing around with all things creative without fear, brave and go getter.
People person hahaha i meet anyone and everyone and love it.
Ummm this is hard not gonna lie... song writing and playing music.
Q9: We’re all about women inspiring women. Who inspires you?
I love this lady, Carrie Lloyd. She’s this English lass that has a podcast and she’s just jam-packed full of wisdom.
I love Kirsten Dunst and Lilly Collins... stunning actresses. A song writer named Brooke Fraser has always tickled my heart ears.
My big sister Tess. She is a poetic queen and she is just quality and we have the best banters in life. I love her dearly.
Taylr Anne is my favourite instagramer she is dreamy all her photos are inspiring.
Q10: What advice would you impart on the next generation of women, and women in in business?
Ladies, hello there I’m new to this world too. How wild is this landscape of emotions and sights, people, smells delights and fearful bites. Be gracious to your dear self and be ok with escaping and writing and knowing your truths.
Your deep desires for life, your personal stance on things and be ok in seasons that are hard. Let it not take you out but learn and grow always from them. Take it as a palette that improves who you are.
Don’t copy peoples designs, sit and know your loves and hates, your squirms that are simply telling you something of importance. Know your colours, what you fight for that keeps true to you.
You are unique. Soooo unique and your vesseled self holds either flowers, a jug of water. Just know what you carry and go out and share, and be open and confident with all that you are.
You are a stunner and add something no one else can give.
You're new to the world so be gracious you haven’t done this before and everyone is literally in the same boat. Keep your heart humble, don’t allow pride trap your mountain top views of the purity of being a childlike heart always experiencing new and wonderful things with awe in the centre. If you're going beige and losing your colours, know what brings you colours and what snuffs those colours out. The more you know you the more you will be good at directing confidently your sights and steps.
The present moments will be enjoyed instead of being insecure and fearful for you will trust yourself because know what makes you sparkle and what’s worth your time, energy and love.
Go skinny dipping more, eat without feeling bad about it, assess your friendships every six months and see what you're doing there and what colours they add into your life. Awareness is a super power. Don’t self indulge too much but know the balance. And be good at humble dancing, it's the best lane to be in. You meet the most authentic people and you attract blessings and pure friendly connections here.
Girl you're amazing, be kind and gracious but also have sooooo much fun. Life is beautiful, you are beautiful and take time to write, create, enjoy and laugh...