Art Collector’s Home: Bestselling Figurative Artist Kate Rogers
Eclectic, quirky and humorous, Kate Rogers‘ home matches her personality and art practice. After rising the ranks of our bestseller list in 2021, Kate has been putting her artistic earnings to work and supporting other artists along the way. Her art collection has swelled to cover the walls in every corner of her house, with a mixture of works celebrating a passion for figurative pieces reflected in her own work, as well as stunning Indigenous works and landscapes. Cross the threshold of her house with us and discover the fantastic frenzy within.
Art has been a lifelong love for Kate – “I have a vivid memory from around the age of four – arranging and rearranging scraps of brightly coloured paper on the table at kindergarten and getting that ‘lost in time’ feeling. I think that’s what first interested in me art and still does. It is one of the few things in life where I feel truly in the moment.”
As we discovered in our interview with her last year, her journey with art has evolved through many milestones over the years. As Kate revealed then, it was the first Victorian lockdown (and her subsequent discovery of Bluethumb) that really led her practice and collection to flourish.
Kate’s art collecting habits kicked off with Bluethumb artist Geoff Lugg‘s Cow With Flies. “It is very special to me. I hadn’t lived in a place for longer than a year since I finished school and left home for uni. 20 years on I had my beautiful, ridiculous son, Angus (now three) and felt the time was right to stay in one place. So, after two decades of bluetacking posters and cut outs to walls, it also meant the time was perfect to start my art collection. Geoff’s Cow With Flies was the first piece I collected and it was also my present to Angus for his first birthday. It also ended up meaning much more. Geoff popped a gem of a note in with the painting which made me think about uploading my own art on Bluethumb – which I eventually did.”
Kate has now spent a solid 3 and a half years in her current home. This makes for a big change for her, after spending only a year in each place before this. She couldn’t have found a lovelier place to settle – nestled between Geelong and Torquay, she has both beach and bush within an arm’s reach. “What I love most about it is that it gives me the chance to be closer to trees, water and fresh air,” Kate explains. “It’s also physically close to my extended family, who I love dearly.”
It’s in this home that her family has expanded, and now their approach to life and love is evident in every nook and cranny. Young pup Daisy’s bed is a vibrant extension to the kitchen counter (and a very stylish one at that!), and 3 year old Angus has contributed many artworks to the walls. They lead a life that embraces reality and imperfection – just like Kate’s figurative paintings. Sustainable practices are important, with a strong dedication towards recycling and reusing things. “Our home is all about recycling, reusing, reducing and repurposing. For me, it’s a beautiful, creative thing to do in your home. I am far from perfect but I try my best. I’d say 80% of Angus and my clothes, books, kitchenware and toys are secondhand, preloved or hand-me-downs. I think Margaret [Walters] hits on it perfectly in her bio with her acknowledgement of material objects carrying their own history. I love this feeling for so many reasons (including environmental, philosophical and financial) plus, the money I save on other stuff means I can spend more on original, Australian art!”
“That said, I also know this is not the land my ancestors and I were born on, and that my sense of belonging has and will impact the land and its traditional custodians. This is a truth I am faced with every day when I see plastic bags down by the creek and think of the carbon foot print my townhouse and I leave on this land. This truth is ugly but very real for me and I feel like I should acknowledge it as part of my relationship with my home. So, ultimately, what I love most about my home here on Wadawurrung Country is the feeling of belonging it gives me… but like so many relationships, it’s complicated!”
In a similar vein, her art collection also explores this conversation around place and belonging. “When I look at my pieces by Rosabelle Namatjira, Tilau Nungala and Jane Mervin – these are the ones I see before I go to sleep- my sense of place, belonging, meaning and purpose becomes clearer. I sleep well. Words can’t capture it – that’s the thing about art – when it connects with you- it takes you where words can’t. For me, the more I learn from First Nations’ people and their stories about place, belonging and the symbiotic relationship we have with the rest of the natural world … the more meaningful and simple my life becomes. Artwork plays an important part of this for me.”
With so many artworks covering the walls from top to bottom, Kate Rogers clearly has a penchant for gallery style hangs. While it seems impossible to fit more art into her space, she still has nooks she can fill. Kate has long had her eye on Netta Loogatha from MIArt – Mirndiyan Gununa artists. “I still don’t have one of her pieces and I’m furious!” exclaims Kate. “A collector from NSW nabbed the one I had earmarked for my birthday. It’s the quick or the dead here on Bluethumb!”
It seems only natural that amongst such an extensive collection, some artworks resonate more strongly than others. However Kate couldn’t name a single favourite amongst the works, and instead narrowed it down to four key pieces:
1. Cow With Flies by Geoff Lugg: the first piece in Kate’s art collection already described above.
2. Glenda (sculpture made from recycled, repurposed materials) by Margaret Walters: “Everything about Margaret’s art and ethos feels (and looks) beautiful to me. I have four of her pieces, but Glenda is my favourite (don’t tell the others!). She sits on the window sill in our living room and watches us with intense curiosity and, frankly, a mixture in equal parts of bemusement and amusement. I feel like Margaret’s Bluethumb bio best explains my connection to Glenda: ‘my purpose in making my sculptures is to give people a touch of life’s absurdity… they are absurd little creatures, bringing with them the history of whatever they were part of in an earlier life… I lay out the pieces and they just seem to assemble themselves.’ Margaret also explains that ‘although we have experienced fires and floods, we love our rural home, shared with many birds, reptiles and mammals. The natural world surrounds us and that is our joy.’ I can’t tell you how much all of Margaret’s words resonate with me in relation to my art, life philosophy and sense of place. Would I have bought Glenda without knowing Margaret’s philosophy? Yes – it was love at first sight. But knowing Glenda carries this spirit makes her even more special and beautiful to me. I really enjoy reading the bios on Bluethumb – as the certificate of authenticity states, ‘This original artwork is an assemblage of the artist’s beliefs, experience, passion and unique talent.’ For me, it’s a nice feeling knowing the pieces I invest in come from artists whose practice and philosophy I feel connected to. I feel this with Margaret and her pieces (particularly Glenda) very strongly.”
3. Central Australia (represented by Iltja Ntjarra Many Hands Art Centre) by Freda Campbell: “There are so many times each day I run up and down my stairs – and the piece at the top of the stairs, looking at me so wisely is Freda’s painting. This
piece says ‘relax’. It depicts a bird overlooking plains, mountains, rocks, water, trees, the world. It sees all. It reminds me I’m just a teeny tiny dot that is interconnected with something much, much bigger. So it makes me feel calm, connected and like the world makes sense. And I love the palette and patterns too. I think it’s beautiful. By the way, this was one of the first canvas pieces I bought that wasn’t ready to hang – I needed to get it stretched at a framers. Previously, I had put off purchasing beautiful unstretched canvas pieces because I had no idea what it should cost. I was pleasantly surprised at how reasonable the price was once I found a straight-shooting local framer – don’t be afraid to call around for quotes.”
4. Shnappy crab by Angus: “This is my favourite piece Angus has made at daycare. It’s a collage piece on canvas and the dominant hue is super crazy lurid red – which I love. However, what I love most about the piece is that I know he made it with Latoya, his daycare professional, and his best friend, Riley. Latoya is an inspirational woman who brings so much wisdom, joy, intelligence and beauty into Angus’s life… and Riley is a sassy, smart and caring three year old queen (with fabulous frocks). Both these women are helping Angus learn about friendship, fairness and fun… all very important things, I think! I can’t believe how lucky Angus and I are to have these two wonderful women in our lives, along with many other inspirational women in our family, friendship circle and neighbourhood. That’s what this piece makes me think about when I look at it… along with Angus’s incredible ‘shnappy’ crab dance, of course! This piece sits pride of place above our dinner table, and in between pieces by Pip Phelps and Ben Tankard. So obviously Shnappy Crab and what she represents is kind of a big deal to me.”
Keep scrolling for more photos of Kate Rogers’ fantastic art collection and for a ‘shnappy’ video tour from our TikTok channel.
Take the tour yourself with our fast paced TikTok:
@bluethumbart An artist and art collector! Step into the home of the creative and joyful Kate Rogers. #bluethumbart #homedecor #artcollector #artist #arttok #homeinspo #realhomes #style #interiordesign #australianartist #diy #tiktokart #homeimprovement #moreisbetter #moreismore ♬ BARELY BREATHING – Grant Averill
Feeling inspired by the eclectic interior style of Kate Rogers? Shop her artist picks curation here.