Art Collector’s Home: Bluethumb’s In-House Photographer
Most people think of art collectors as wealthy and established in their careers. Not so for our in-house photographer and social media coordinator, Megan George. Since her teenage years, she has been building a small and personal collection of artworks. “It started when I was about 16, and I wanted to create a gallery wall in my bedroom,” explains Megan. “Obviously I wasn’t earning too much at the time, since I was still in school, so the pieces were all small prints from local markets.”
From there, her collection grew slowly over the years, until she discovered the world of online art. Since joining Bluethumb, Megan has acquired pieces from popular artists Katherine Gailer, Haruyo Morita, Sally Browne and Marnie McKnight. She’s also been a big supporter of Bluethumb’s photographers. “I was really excited about Bluethumb Photography when it started. As a photographer, I’m drawn to beautiful imagery. So much so that I encouraged one of my favourite photographers to sell on Bluethumb and bought one of his prints.”
Megan’s small brick home in Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs makes use of its sunny position with a large bay window. The home has a constant stream of natural light, imparting a welcoming atmosphere from the moment you walk through the front gate. The federation styling of the building has a classic, homely feeling that brings a sense of nostalgia for traditional family homes of the 80s and 90s.
Walking through the front door of the photographer’s home, you’re greeted by a Holly Harper oil painting at eye level. The ornate gold frame isn’t a perfect fit, but creates a dramatic feature to draw the eye. “Most of my furniture has come from secondhand shops, such as Waverley Antiques Bazaar,” Megan happily explains. “Because it’s been bought in drips and drabs over the years, there’s a bit of a mismatch vibe. I’ve been hoping that when I restore all the antiques, I can tie the pieces together harmoniously.” However, it seems restoration is off the cards for Megan as she prepares to leave Australia for the UK in early December.
The blank wall to the left is home to a piece of Australiana by Sally Browne. The cheerful cockatoo print basks in the morning light that comes through the tall windows. The building itself has been carefully designed to maximise the morning light it receives, with multiple large windows on the front-facing wall.
Megan’s art collection is an ode to simplicity and the power of emotion. The artworks cover a variety of styles, from abstract art to portraiture. However, there is a guiding theme. “I find myself attracted to simplicity and minimalism. But I’m also looking for a depth and resonance of emotion in the work I buy. In my calm zones – the bedroom and dining area – I have soothing abstracts. In the living room, Katherine Gailer’s empowering portrait brings me energy and zest.”
In the living room, the overall furniture theme can only be described as eclectic. Antique sofas combine with South American textiles to give the feeling of a life lived well. Tucked away in the back corner of the bright space is a small old piano. Hanging above is the photograph that kicked off the collection. “The first artwork I bought was a small photograph by Peter Jarver. It was a proof image, which made it affordable for a teenager.”
“I was drawn to Peter’s photograph because of the moodiness it captures. The storm looming on the horizon, while ominous, conveys a sense of drama and power that I find mesmerising.”
The blues of the photograph carry through to the large Haruyo Morita that makes a statement in the dining area. The meditative piece has a striking balance of complementary yellows and blues, matching with the shibori-dyed table runner.
In the office, Megan’s other collections are on display. Her light timber bookshelf is home to collections of vintage cameras and beautifully bound hardback books. A set of Shakespeare’s histories, tragedies and comedies take pride of place. They’re beautifully illustrated inside and bound in green cloth with gold detailing. Sitting opposite these tomes is an original abstract by Marnie McKnight.
On the desk, Megan has perfected her #shelfie. Nestled amongst the knick knacks and greenery is a sailor print by Melbourne artist Tina Mose. “My office is where I let a little more personality shine through. Plants give me energy and the yellow of the sailor is such a happy colour that it creates a pleasant work environment.”
For someone who works from home often, having a positive workspace is essential. Long days of editing photos can be draining, so having a comfortable but uplifting space is essential. “I spent the first half of this year freelancing,” says Megan, “which meant that for every hour I was out shooting, there were another 2 hours at my desk. I quickly realised how much I needed to make the space pleasant to be in.”
In the guest bathroom, hides an intriguing portrait by Loribelle Spirovski. “This is the one piece I bought as an investment,” she confesses. “Loribelle is fast becoming collectable, and when I saw Freddy’s home, I just knew I had to have one of my own.”
When it comes to purchasing art, Megan is usually drawn to purchasing works she connects with rather than trying to match an interior trend or buying collectable works. “It’s all about the feeling I get from the artwork. I want something that invokes an emotion each time I look at it.”
While her collection has grown rapidly since working full-time at Bluethumb, Megan still has a long wish list. “I’ve had my eye on a few pieces by Fredrick Wales. I really love his dramatic monochrome paintings – he perfectly captures the crashing of the ocean. I’d also love one of Silvi Glattauer‘s photogravure prints. They’re simply breathtaking and so luxurious.” A “dream piece” would be one of Paul McKnight‘s ultra realistic teacups that take painstaking months to complete. However, she admits it’s not likely to be on the cards for a while. “I have a lot of travelling and furniture repair to get done first.”
Megan agrees with the advice of many of the Bluethumb team that it’s best to trust your heart and buy art you love. “Buying art is very personal,” she explains. “You can look for something to fit a specific space or an artist to invest in, but at the end of the day, what’s most important is that you get enjoyment from looking at the piece each day.”
Want to emulate our photographer’s home? Get the peaceful and tranquil look with this new curation by Megan.